SCENARIO: With a 1-1 count the Orem Youth Baseball AA batter swung at a pitch in the strike zone. The ball hit him in the hands and popped up to third base. The pop-up was dropped and the batter-runner ran to first base gripping his hands in pain and he made it there before the throw. Standing on first he had to call time-out until the pain subsided. The plate umpire allowed the play leaving the runner safe at first base. Did he make the right call?
BASEBALL MYTH: The hand is part of the bat.
TRUTH: The hands are part of a person's body.
ERROR: The umpire’s erred in allowing the batter to be safe at first base.
CORRECT RULING: The moment the batter was hit by a pitch the play should be dead and “Time” loudly called. Because the batter was hit on the hands in the strike zone while swinging at the pitch a strike should have been assessed and the batter allowed to take the rest of his at bat. NOTE: If the count had been at 2 strikes, then the play would have been called dead and the third strike assessed for an immediate out.
KEEP IT SIMPLE: If a pitch hits the batter's hands the ball is dead; if he swung at the pitch, a strike is called and NOT a foul. If the batter was not swinging and was avoiding the pitch, he is awarded first base. For rule citations see: Official Rules of Major League Baseball - Rules: 2.00 PERSON, TOUCH, STRIKE (e), 5.09, and 6.05(f)
MLB RULES - The Official Rules of Major League Baseball has several references to being hit by a pitch. Let’s put them all together and see what the the correct ruling should be for this scenario. Section 5 deals with putting the ball in play...
5.09 The ball becomes dead and runners advance one base, or return to their bases, without liability to be put out when --
(a) A pitched ball touches a batter, or his clothing, while in his legal batting position; runners, if forced to advance, advance.
The batter was in his legal position. With this rule alone the batter would be granted first base for being touched by the pitch. But you cannot rely upon section 5.09 alone. Skip over to Section 6 where the ORMLB talk about the batter...
6.05 A batter is out when--
(f) He attempts to hit a third strike, and the ball touches him;
6.08 The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when--
(b) he is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or(2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;
If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.
The PERSON of a player or an umpire is any part of his body, his clothing or his equipment.
A STRIKE is a legal pitch when so called by the umpire, which--
(a) Is struck at by the batter and 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;
(g) becomes a foul tip.
TOUCH. To touch a player or umpire is to touch any part of his body, his clothing or his equipment.
ERROR - COME ON BLUE: The play was not called right by the umpires on the field that day, but you can be sure that it will be called right by them in the future.