ASK THE UMP
Throughout the season, in almost every set of bleachers at Little League fields everywhere, there will be discussions about certain rules and regulations that parents and other spectators have questions about. Here are some of the most common questions and answers to help provide clarity.
If you have a question not listed here, please feel free to email us at [email protected]
Must a runner slide into home plate?
No. Little League does not have a “Must Slide” rule for a runner sliding into home or any other base. However, any runner is out when the runner does not slide or attempt to get around a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make the tag.
How many batters does a pitcher need to hit in an inning to be removed?
There is no rule in Little League Baseball that specifies the number of batters a pitcher hits before they are removed. Also, there is no specific rule that mandates a warning be given.
What is the rule when a player runs out of the baseline to avoid a tag?
Any runner is called out when running more than three feet away from the baseline to avoid being tagged, unless such action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base to which he or she is attempting to reach. It is important to note that in order to enforce this rule, the defense must attempt to tag the runner.
Who “owns” first base – the runner or the Little Leaguer playing first?
Neither. The defense has the right to attempt a put-out and the runner has the right to attempt to possess the base.
Are hands part of the bat?
No. The hands are part of the batter’s body. Should a ball come in contact with the batter’s hands, an umpire must judge if the ball hit the bat or the batter first; determine if the pitch was in the strike zone, and make the appropriate ruling.
Can pitchers wear long sleeve shirts and/or sleeves under the uniform?
Any part of the pitcher’s undershirt or T-shirt exposed to view must be of a solid color. The pitcher’s undershirt sleeves, if exposed, cannot be white or gray. Neoprene sleeves, if worn by a pitcher, must be covered by an undershirt. Pitchers may not wear sweat bands or wrist/play-calling bands.
What is the rule when a player is attempting to switch from the pitcher position to the catcher position and vice versa?
In baseball, any player who has played the position of catcher in four (4) or more innings is not eligible to pitch on that calendar day. A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
Does the batter need to avoid being hit by a pitch?
A player must make some type of attempt to avoid being hit by a pitched ball. Determining if an attempt was made is determined by the umpire.
When must a coach make an appeal?
Any appeal of a possible playing rule violation must be made before the next pitch, play, or attempted play. An appeal is not considered a play. If there is the potential of a “Batting Out Of Turn” infraction, it must be appealed before a pitch is delivered to the next batter of either team or a play or attempted play.
If a batted ball hits the plate first is it a foul ball?
Home plate, first, second, and third base are all completely within fair territory. The foul lines are also within fair territory. In order to rule the ball foul, it must have come to rest in foul territory or be touched in foul territory.
How many visits to the mound are allowed by the manager before the pitcher must be removed?
According to Rule 8.06, a manager or coach may come out once (Minor Division: twice) in one inning to visit with the pitcher, but the second time (Minor Division: third time) out, the player must be removed as a pitcher. A manager or coach may come out twice (Minor Division: three times) in one game to visit with the pitcher, but the third time (Minor Division: fourth time) out, the player must be removed as a pitcher.
IMPORTANT - Rule 8.06 (d) outlines that a manager or coach who is granted a time out to talk to any defensive player will be charged with a visit to the pitcher.
What happens if a player arrived late to the game or had to leave during the middle of the game?
When a player is injured, ill, or must leave the game site after the start of the game, the team will skip over him/her when his/her time at bat comes up without penalty. If the injured, ill or absent player returns, he/she is merely inserted into their original spot in the batting order and the game continues.
If a player arrives late to the game, the Manager adds them to the end of the current lineup.