5.01 At the time set for beginningthe game the umpire shall call "Play."
5.02 After the umpire calls "Play"the ball is alive and in play and remains alive and in play until for legal cause,or at the umpire's call of "Time" suspending play, the ball becomes dead.While the ball is dead no player may be put out, no bases may be run and no runsmay be scored, except that runners may advance one or more bases as the result ofacts which occurred while the ball was alive (such as, but not limited to a balk,an overthrow, interference, or a home run or other fair ball hit out of the playingfield). Should a ball come partially apart in a game, it is in play until the playis completed.
5.03 The pitcher shall deliverthe pitch to the batter who may elect to strike the ball, or who may not offer atit, as he chooses.
5.04 The offensive team's objectiveis to have its batter become a runner, and its runners advance.
5.05 The defensive team's objectiveis to prevent offensive players from becoming runners, and to prevent their advancearound the bases.
5.06 When a batter becomes a runnerand touches all bases legally he shall score one run for his team. A run legallyscored cannot be nullified by subsequent action of the runner, such as but not limitedto an effort to return to third base in the belief that he had left the base beforea caught fly ball.
5.07 When three offensive playersare legally put out, that team takes the field and the opposing team becomes theoffensive team.
5.08 If a thrown ball accidentlytouches a base coach, or a pitched or thrown ball touches an umpire, the ball isalive and in play. However, if the coach interferes with a thrown ball, the runneris out.
5.09 The ball becomes dead andrunners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out,when_
(a) A pitched ball touches a batter, or hisclothing, while in his legal batting position; runners, if forced, advance;
(b) The plate umpire interferes with the catcher'sthrow; runners may not advance. NOTE: The interference shall be disregarded if thecatcher's throw retires the runner.
(c) A balk is committed; runners advance; (SeePenalty 8.05).
(d) A ball is illegally batted; runners return;
(e) A foul ball is not caught; runners return.The umpire shall not put the ball in play until all runners have retouched theirbases;
(f) A fair ball touches a runner or an umpireon fair territory before it touches an infielder including the pitcher, or touchesan umpire before it has passed an infielder other than the pitcher; If a fair balltouches an umpire working in the infield after it has bounded past, or over, thepitcher, it is a dead ball. If a batted ball is deflected by a fielder in fair territoryand hits a runner or an umpire while still in flight and then caught by an infielderit shall not be a catch, but the ball shall remain in play. If a fair ball goes through,or by, an infielder, and touches a runner immediately back of him, or touches a runnerafter being deflected by an infielder, the ball is in play and the umpire shall notdeclare the runner out. In making such decision the umpire must be convinced thatthe ball passed through, or by, the infielder and that no other infielder had thechance to make a play on the ball; runners advance if forced;
(g) A pitched ball lodges in the umpire's orcatcher's mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, runners advance one base;If a foul tip hits the umpire and is caught by a fielder on the rebound, the ballis "dead" and the batsman cannot be called out. The same shall apply wheresuch foul tip lodges in the umpire's mask or other paraphernalia. If a third strike(not a foul tip) passes the catcher and hits an umpire, the ball is in play. If suchball rebounds and is caught by a fielder before it touches the ground, the batsmanis not out on such a catch, but the ball remains in play and the batsman may be retiredat first base, or touched with the ball for the out. If a pitched ball lodges inthe umpire's or catcher's mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of play, on thethird strike or fourth ball, then the batter is entitled to first base and all runnersadvance one base. If the count on the batter is less than three balls, runners advanceone base.
(h) Any legal pitch touches a runner tryingto score; runners advance.
5.10 The ball becomes dead whenan umpire calls "Time." The umpire in chief shall call "Time"_
(a) When in his judgment weather, darkness orsimilar conditions make immediate further play impossible;
(b) When light failure makes it difficult orimpossible for the umpires to follow the play; NOTE: A league may adopt its own regulationsgoverning games interrupted by light failure.
(c) When an accident incapacitates a playeror an umpire;
(1) If anaccident to a runner is such as to prevent him from proceeding to a base to whichhe is entitled, as on a home run hit out of the playing field, or an award of oneor more bases, a substitute runner shall be permitted to complete the play.
(d) When a manager requests "Time"for a substitution, or for a conference with one of his players.
(e) When the umpire wishes to examine the ball,to consult with either manager, or for any similar cause.
(f) When a fielder, after catching a fly ball,falls into a bench or stand, or falls across ropes into a crowd when spectators areon the field. As pertains to runners, the provisions of 7.04 (c) shall prevail. Ifa fielder after making a catch steps into a bench, but does not fall, the ball isin play and runners may advance at their own peril.
(g) When an umpire orders a player or any otherperson removed from the playing field.
(h) Except in the cases stated in paragraphs(b) and (c) (1) of this rule, no umpire shall call "Time" while a playis in progress.
5.11 After the ball is dead, playshall be resumed when the pitcher takes his place on the pitcher's plate with a newball or the same ball in his possession and the plate umpire calls "Play."The plate umpire shall call "Play" as soon as the pitcher takes his placeon his plate with the ball in his possession.
Return to Baseball'sOfficial Rules