Official Rules: 2.00 Definition of Terms
is a judgment decision by the umpire.
An APPEAL is the act of a fielder in claiming violation of the rules by the offensive team.
A BALKis an illegal act by the pitcher with a runner or runners on base, entitling all runners to advance one base.
A BALL is a pitch which does not enter the strike zone in flight and is
not struck at by the batter.
Rule 2.00 (Ball) Comment: If the pitch touches the ground and bounces through the strike zone it is a ball. If such a pitch touches the batter, he shall be awarded first base. If the batter swings at such a pitch after two strikes, the ball cannot be caught, for the purposes of Rule 6.05(c) and 6.09(b). If the batter hits such a pitch, the ensuing action shall be the same as if he hit the ball in flight.
A BASEis one of four points which must be touched by a runner in order to score a run; more usually applied to the canvas bags and the rubber plate which mark the base points.
A BASE COACH is a team member in uniform who is stationed in the coach's box at first or third base to direct the batter and the runners.
A BASE ON BALLS is an award of first base granted to a batter who, during his time at bat, receives four pitches outside the strike zone.
A BATTERis an offensive player who takes his position in the batter's box.
BATTER RUNNER is a term that identifies the offensive player who has just finished his time at bat until he is put out or until the play on which he became a runner ends.
The BATTER'S BOX is the area within which the batter shall stand during his time at bat.
The BATTERY is the pitcher and catcher.
BENCH OR DUGOUT is the seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes and other team members in uniform when they are not actively engaged on the playing field.
A BUNT is a batted ball not swung at, but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly within the infield.
A CALLED GAME is one in which, for any reason, the umpire in chief terminates play.
A CATCH is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand
or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use
his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession.
It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.
It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act
of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and
that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.
Rule 2.00 (Catch) Comment: A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any
fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground.
Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball. A fielder
may reach over a fence, railing, rope or other line of demarcation to make a
catch. He may jump on top of a railing, or canvas that may be in foul ground. No
interference should be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or
into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk.
If a fielder, attempting a catch at the edge of the dugout, is held up and kept
from an apparent fall by a player or players of either team and the catch is made,
it shall be allowed.
The CATCHER is the fielder who takes his position back of the home base.
The CATCHER'S BOX is that area within which the catcher shall stand until the pitcher delivers the ball.
The CLUB is a person or group of persons responsible for assembling the team personnel, providing the playing field and required facilities, and representing the team in relations with the league.
A COACH is a team member in uniform appointed by the manager to perform such duties as the manager may designate, such as but not limited to acting as base coach.
A DEAD BALL is a ball out of play because of a legally created temporary suspension of play.
The DEFENSE (or DEFENSIVE) is the team, or any player of the team, in the field.
A DOUBLE HEADER is two regularly scheduled or rescheduled games, played in immediate succession.
A DOUBLE PLAY is a play by the defense in which two offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action, providing there is no error between putouts.
(a) A force double play is one in which both putouts are force plays.
(b) A reverse force double play is one in which the first out is a force play and the second out is made on a runner for whom the force is removed by reason of the first out. Examples of reverse force plays: runner on first, one out; batter grounds to first baseman, who steps on first base (one out) and throws to second baseman or shortstop for the second out (a tag play). Another example: bases loaded, none out; batter grounds to third baseman, who steps on third base (one out); then throws to catcher for the second out (tag play).
DUGOUT (See definition of BENCH)
A FAIR BALL is a batted ball that settles on fair ground between home
and first base, or between home and third base, or that is on or over fair
territory when bounding to the outfield past first or third base, or that
touches first, second or third base, or that first falls on fair territory on or
beyond first base or third base, or that, while on or over fair territory
touches the person of an umpire or player, or that, while over fair territory,
passes out of the playing field in flight.
A fair fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and
the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on
fair or foul territory at the time he touches the ball.
Rule 2.00 (Fair Ball) Comment: If a fly ball lands in the infield between home
and first base, or home and third base, and then bounces to foul territory without
touching a player or umpire and before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball;
or if the ball settles on foul territory or is touched by a player on foul territory, it is
a foul ball. If a fly ball lands on or beyond first or third base and then bounces to
foul territory, it is a fair hit.
Clubs, increasingly, are erecting tall foul poles at the fence line with a wire netting
extending along the side of the pole on fair territory above the fence to enable
the umpires more accurately to judge fair and foul balls.
FAIR TERRITORY is that part of the playing field within, and including
the first base and third base lines, from home base to the bottom of the
playing field fence and perpendicularly upwards. All foul lines are in fair
A FIELDER is any defensive player.
FIELDER'S CHOICE is the act of a fielder who handles a fair grounder and, instead of throwing to first base to put out the batter-runner, throws to another base in an attempt to put out a preceding runner. The term is also used by scorers (a) to account for the advance of the batter-runner who takes one or more extra bases when the fielder who handles his safe
hit attempts to put out a preceding runner; (b) to account for the advance of a runner (other than by stolen base or error) while a fielder is attempting to put out another runner; and (c) to account for the advance of a runner made solely because of the defensive teams indifference (undefended steal).
A FLY BALL is a batted ball that goes high in the air in flight.
A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses his right to
occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner.
Rule 2.00 (Force Play) Comment: Confusion regarding this play is removed by
remembering that frequently the force situation is removed during the play.
Example: Man on first, one out, ball hit sharply to first baseman who touches the
bag and batter-runner is out. The force is removed at that moment and runner
advancing to second must be tagged. If there had been a runner on third or second,
and either of these runners scored before the tag-out at second, the run counts.
Had the first baseman thrown to second and the ball then had been returned to
first, the play at second was a force out, making two outs, and the return throw to
first ahead of the runner would have made three outs. In that case, no run would
Example: Not a force out. One out. Runner on first and third. Batter flies out.
Two out. Runner on third tags up and scores. Runner on first tries to retouch
before throw from fielder reaches first baseman, but does not get back in time and
is out. Three outs. If, in umpires judgment, the runner from third touched home
before the ball was held at first base, the run counts.
A FORFEITED GAME is a game declared ended by the umpire in chief in favor of the offended team by the score of 9 to 0, for violation of the rules.
A FOUL BALL is a batted ball that settles on foul territory between
home and first base, or between home and third base, or that bounds past
first or third base on or over foul territory, or that first falls on foul territory
beyond first or third base, or that, while on or over foul territory, touches
the person of an umpire or player, or any object foreign to the natural
A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and
the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the infielder is
on foul or fair territory at the time he touches the ball.
Rule 2.00 (Foul Ball) Comment: A batted ball not touched by a fielder, which
hits the pitchers rubber and rebounds into foul territory, between home and first,
or between home and third base is a foul ball.
FOUL TERRITORY is that part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards.
A FOUL TIP is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catchers hands and is legally caught. It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play. It is not a
catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catchers glove
A GROUND BALL is a batted ball that rolls or bounces close to the ground.
The HOME TEAM is the team on whose grounds the game is played, or if the game is played on neutral grounds, the home team shall be designated by mutual agreement.
ILLEGAL (or ILLEGALLY)is contrary to these rules.
An ILLEGAL PITCH is (1) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate; (2) a quick return pitch. An illegal pitch when runners are on base is a balk.
An INFIELDER is a fielder who occupies a position in the infield.
An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an
attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort,
when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before
two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in
the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the
umpire shall immediately declare Infield Fly for the benefit of the runners.
If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare Infield Fly,
The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being
caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on
any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.
If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and
bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared
Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces
fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.
Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly) Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule
whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infieldernot by some
arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also
that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpires judgment,
the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. The infield fly is
in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpires judgment must govern,
and the decision should be made immediately.
When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on
an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball remains in
play despite the provisions of Rule 6.05 (L). The infield fly rule takes precedence.
IN FLIGHT describes a batted, thrown, or pitched ball which has not yet touched the ground or some object other than a fielder.
IN JEOPARDYis a term indicating that the ball is in play and an offensive player may be put out.
An INNINGis that portion of a game within which the teams alternate on offense and defense and in which there are three putouts for each team. Each team's time at bat is a half inning.
(a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes
with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder
attempting to make a play. If the umpire declares the batter, batter-
runner, or a runner out for interference, all other runners
shall return to the last base that was in the judgment of the
umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless
otherwise provided by these rules.
Rule 2.00 (Interference) Comment: In the event the batter-runner has not
reached first base, all runners shall return to the base last occupied at the time of
(b) Defensive interference is an act by a fielder which hinders or prevents
a batter from hitting a pitch.
(c) Umpires interference occurs (1) When an umpire hinders,
impedes or prevents a catchers throw attempting to prevent a
stolen base, or (2) When a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory
before passing a fielder.
(d) Spectator interference occurs when a spectator reaches out of the
stands, or goes on the playing field, and touches a live ball.
On any interference the ball is dead.
THE LEAGUE is a group of clubs whose teams play each other in a prearranged
schedule under these rules for the league championship.
THE LEAGUE PRESIDENT is the league official charged with enforcing
these Rules, fining or suspending any player, manager, coach or
umpire for violation of these Rules, resolving any disputes involving these
Rules or determining any protested games.
Rule 2.00 (League President) Comment: With respect to the Major Leagues, the
functions of the League President pursuant to these Rules shall be carried out by
the designees of the Commissioner of Baseball. The Commissioner may designate
different officials to carry out different functions of a League President pursuant
to these Rules.
LEGAL (or LEGALLY) is in accordance with these rules.
A LIVE BALL is a ball which is in play.
A LINE DRIVE is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to a fielder without touching the ground.
THE MANAGER is a person appointed by the club to be responsible for
the teams actions on the field, and to represent the team in communications
with the umpire and the opposing team. A player may be appointed
(a) The club shall designate the manager to the league president or the umpire-in-chief not less than thirty minutes before the scheduled starting time of the game.
(b) The manager may advise the umpire that he has delegated specific duties prescribed by the rules to a player or coach, and any action of such designated representative shall be official. The manager shall always be responsible for his teams conduct, observance of the official rules, and deference to the umpires.
(c) If a manager leaves the field, he shall designate a player or coach as his substitute, and such substitute manager shall have the duties, rights and responsibilities of the manager. If the manager fails or refuses to designate his substitute before leaving, the umpire-in-chief shall designate a team member as substitute manager.
OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.
Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered in the act of fielding
a ball. It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the act of fielding the ball. For example: If an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.
OFFENSE is the team, or any player of the team, at bat.
OFFICIAL SCORER. See Rule 10.00.
ORDINARY EFFORT is the effort that a fielder of average skill at a position in that league or classification of leagues should exhibit on a play, with due consideration given to the condition of the field and weather conditions.
Rule 2.00 (Ordinary Effort) Comment: This standard, called for several times in the Official Scoring Rules (e.g., Rules 10.05(a)(3), 10.05(a)(4), 10.05(a)(6), 10.05(b)(3) (Base Hits); 10.08(b) (Sacrifices); 10.12(a)(1) Comment, 10.12(d)(2) (Errors); and 10.13(a), 10.13(b) (Wild Pitches and Passed Balls)) and in the Official Baseball Rules (e.g., Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly)), is an objective standard in regard to any particular fielder. In other words, even if a fielder makes his best effort, if that effort falls short of what an average fielder at that position in that league would have made in a situation, the official scorer should charge that fielder with an error.
An OUT is one of the three required retirements of an offensive team during its time at bat.
An OUTFIELDER is a fielder who occupies a position in the outfield, which is the area of the playing field most distant from home base.
OVERSLIDE (or OVERSLIDING)
is the act of an offensive player when his slide to a base, other than when advancing from home to first base, is with such momentum that he loses contact with the base.
A PENALTY is the application of these rules following an illegal act.
The PERSON of a player or an umpire is any part of his body, his clothing or his equipment.
A PITCH is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher.
Rule 2.00 (Pitch) Comment: All other deliveries of the ball by one player to another are thrown balls.
A PITCHER is the fielder designated to deliver the pitch to the batter.
The pitcher's PIVOT FOOT is that foot which is in contact with the pitcher's plate as he delivers the pitch.
"PLAY" is the umpire's order to start the game or to resume action following any dead ball.
A QUICK RETURN pitch is one made with obvious intent to catch a batter off balance. It is an illegal pitch.
REGULATION GAME. See Rules 4.10 and 4.11.
A RETOUCH is the act of a runner in returning to a base as legally required.
A RUN (or SCORE) is the score made by an offensive player who advances from batter to runner and touches first, second, third and home bases in that order.
A RUN-DOWN is the act of the defense in an attempt to put out a runner between bases.
A RUNNER is an offensive player who is advancing toward, or touching, or returning to any base.
"SAFE" is a declaration by the umpire that a runner is entitled to the base for which he was trying.
SET POSITION is one of the two legal pitching positions.
SQUEEZE PLAY is a term to designate a play when a team, with a runner on third base, attempts to score that runner by means of a bunt.
A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which --
(a) Is struck at by the batter and is missed;
(b) Is not struck at, if any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone;
(c) Is fouled by the batter when he has less than two strikes;
(d) Is bunted foul;
(e) Touches the batter as he strikes at it;
(f) Touches the batter in flight in the strike zone; or
(g) Becomes a foul tip.
The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the knee cap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter's stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.
A SUSPENDED GAME is a called game which is to be completed at a later date.
A TAG is the action of a fielder in touching a base with his body while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove; or touching a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove holding the ball, while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove.
A THROW is the act of propelling the ball with the hand and arm to a given objective and is to be distinguished, always, from the pitch.
A TIE GAME is a regulation game which is called when each team has the same number of runs.
"TIME"is the announcement by an umpire of a legal interruption of play, during which the ball is dead.
TOUCH. To touch a player or umpire is to touch any part of his body, his clothing or his equipment.
A TRIPLE PLAY is a play by the defense in which three offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action, providing there is no error between putouts.
A WILD PITCH is one so high, so low, or so wide of the plate that it cannot be handled with ordinary effort by the catcher.
WIND UP POSITION is one of the two legal pitching positions.
Any reference in these Official Baseball Rules to he, him or his shall be deemed to be a reference to she, her or hers, as the case may be, when the person is female.