The ABUA is the largest membership association for amateur baseball umpires in the U.S.

The ABUA's purpose is to improve the overall quality of umpiring in youth league, high school and college baseball through innovative teaching and educational programs, and superior educational resources.The ABUA protects its members with the most comprehensive insurance package in the industry
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The ABUA provides a national organization and network where individual umpires and local associations can promote professionalism, integrity and a love of the game.

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In The News

Two Runners on One Base

Two Runners on One Base

Umpiring two runners on the same base requires knowledge of the rule as well as good communication skills and mechanics.  Let’s look at two situations that occurred this past season in which the mechanics of one umpire can be compared to that of another.   The Chicago White Sox hosted the Seattle Mariners on April 23, 2018, when the M’s got caught with two runners on the same base and experienced the ultimate embarrassing nightmare of both being called out.   The Mariners had Daniel Vogelbach on second and Mike Zunino on first with Ben Gamel batting when relief pitcher Chris Beck bounced a pitch to the backstop. However, as the Mariners' runners prepared to advance, the pitch caromed directly back to Sox catcher Welington Castillo. The Sox backstop threw to first baseman Jose Abreu, who...
The Significant Changes

The Significant Changes

Last month we looked at the USA Softball and NFHS rules changes for 2019. Although there are a few changes to each code the far and away most significant change for this year is in the NFHS rules. With the change in the illegal pitch penalty and the elimination of advancing the runner(s) as part of this penalty it’s not surprising that this item has hit the radar for a POE as well. Often the Points of Emphasis can be more important to both umpires and the game than the actual rules changes but in this case we have an item that is significant enough to hit both lists. As we flip the calendar to 2019 let’s take look at all the new POEs – both this change and those which are to existing rules that the rules makers have identified as needing attention. For those who have to take an annual NFHS...
NCAA Rule Changes for 2019

NCAA Rule Changes for 2019

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee made a variety of changes and editorial revisions for the 2019-20 seasons. The changes emphasize pace of play and include several rules recently adopted by MLB. Here are the revisions in the approximate order of significance.   Time between innings. The time between innings increases from 90 seconds for untelevised games and 108 seconds for televised games to 120 seconds for all games. The 120-second clock will begin when all defensive players have started to leave their position after the last out is made. The clock stops when the umpire calls “play” for the first pitch of the first batter of the next half-inning.   Although the length of time between innings Appears to be increased, the change in when the clock starts is more restrictive — specifically,...
Coach Speak

Coach Speak

“Kids Say the Darndest Things” was a comedy featurein Art Linkletter's radio show “House Party” and the television series, “Art Linkletter's House Party,” which together aired mostly five days a week from 1945 to 1969. Coaches are also known to say the darndest things. Here are some of them with an analysis. “If they steal our signs, we can throw at them.” The pitch barely nicked the batter who reacted as if hit batsmen are part of the game and nothing untoward appeared to the man behind the plate. As the hitter dropped his bat though, the catcher uttered “That’ll teach you.” The umpire immediately interpreted that as a confession. “What was that about?” Before the player could respond, his coach was out of the dugout asking what was going on. The umpire explained the apparent conspiracy between...
NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2019

NFHS and USA Softball Rules Changes for 2019

Each year at this time we look at the rules changes for the upcoming season. As we approach the holidays it’s a fact that the 2019 is almost upon us and it’s time to look at the rules changes adopted by both the National Federation and ASA/USA Softball. While there are again only a few rules changes this year only one of the new NFHS items will have a major impact on the game as most of the items are not in the “extremely significant” category. All indications are that the rules makers of both organizations believe that their games are in good shape with USA Softball being especially reluctant to make significant changes. Let’s first look at the NFHS changes.  Clearly, the major change here is a revision in the penalty for an illegal pitch.  Throughout Rule 6 we see changes in the penalty...
Batter-Runner Interference

Batter-Runner Interference

I think most baseball fans, players, coaches and perhaps some young umpires, take for granted the 45-foot, 3-foot wide RUNNER’S LANE the last 45-feet between home and first base without knowing its purpose. A little history. In the early days of baseball, the foul lines intersected the bases. Because of that, there were many collisions between the batter-runner and the fielder taking the throw at first base, usually the first baseman. To eliminate these collisions, in 1881 the bases were moved more toward the infield side of the line with the foul line running through the outer portion of the bases where it is today. The RUNNER’s LANE was added to the foul line between home and first.  The objective was to keep the batter-runner away from the fielder who is “taking” the throw, usually from...
Observations From This Season

Observations From This Season

As we reach the end of another softball season it seems like an ideal time to take a look at notes that have accumulated while watching games this year. It seems like so many of the issues that come up, especially in the area of mechanics, are seen repeatedly not only throughout the year but even season after season. Let’s a look at twelve things umpires can work on for 2019 and yes, so much of it is an easy fix! 1. Calling Time – This is an example of any easy one. How hard is it to raise two hands instead of one? Time is called with both hands in the air – holding up the pitcher is done with one hand only and using the hand away from the batter. Switch over to the left hand to hold play for a left handed batter – that keeps the pitcher from being unable to see your signal because the batter...
Mid-Play Runners

Mid-Play Runners

Although umpires have the ability to call “time” at any point in the game, they must be careful to not do so while a play is in progress. The rules outline situations when play should be suspended and those include granting a request for “time” from a player or coach (NFHS 5-2-1; NCAA 6-5, pro 5.12). Once an umpire calls “time,” no player can be put out (except a dead-ball appeal in NFHS), but a runner can correct a base running infraction or proceed to advance to awarded bases. NFHS and NCAA rules specifically state that “time’ should not be called after a base on balls is awarded until the batter-runner has advanced and touched first base. The rationale for that is the batter-runner has a right to attempt to steal second immediately after reaching first. A pro interpretation supports...