• “Hey Blue, the runner busted his butt running to first base, the least you could do is move 10 ft. to make a call!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike, Blue!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, did they stop printing the rulebook in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Lenscrafter called and said your new glasses will be ready in 30 minutes!”~~~

  • “You're killing me, Blue!”~~~

  • “Blue, that was a strike in any bowling alley!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate Blue! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Blue, just 'cause it's a night game, doesn't mean you should be asleep!”~~~

  • “Blue, if that pitch were any further outside it would be in the West Desert!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy is impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “Blue, now I know why there’s only one eye (I) in umpire”~~~

  • “You can go home Blue. We'll take it from here.”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, it’s a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Blue, kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Blue, if the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask him to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on?”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “I’m gonna break your cane and shoot your dog!”~~~

  • “If I had a dollar, Blue, for every good call you’ve made, I’d be broke!”~~~

  • "Is that your final answer?”~~~

  • “The magic 8 ball says……”~~~

  • “When your dog barks twice, it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Mix in some consistency once in awhile!”~~~

  • “Take off that welding mask”~~~

  • “Lenscrafter called... They'll be ready in 30 min.”~~~

  • “Open your good eye!”~~~

  • “Can I pet your seeing eye dog after the game?”~~~

  • “Looked pretty good from up here Blue!”~~~

  • “Do your sleeping at home Blue!”~~~

  • “You must be losing them in the lights!”~~~

  • “Why do you keep looking in your hand...do you have a map of the strike zone in it?”~~~

  • “I'll take three pencils!”~~~

  • “For a guy that only works 2 hours a day, you're doing a pretty bad job!”~~~

  • “Hey blue, if you had one more eye you'd be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “RING..RING....Wake up call Blue!”~~~

  • “I've seen better blue in a toilet bowl!”~~~

  • “What's a matter you gotta broken arm?”~~~

  • “Look through the mask, not at it!”~~~

  • “It really is hot today - that strike zone is melting!”~~~

  • “Wrong!”~~~

  • “Here's a quarter, go buy a strike zone!”~~~

  • “How's work experience going Blue?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue…if you had one more eye, you’d be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “Keep that up and we’ll shoot your dog and break your cane!”~~~

  • “"Easy Flinchy" – After a slight flinch behind the plate.”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “You're blinking way to long!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, that pitch was so far outside it had a hat and coat on!”~~~

  • “You couldn't see the plate if your dinner was on it!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy's impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “You're like a bat without sonar!”~~~

  • “I didn't know we were golfing today, I would have brought my clubs!”~~~

  • “Did you star in "Weekend at Bernie's"?”~~~

  • “Hey blue, that call was a get outta here quick call!”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “That was higher than a t-shirt at Mardi Gras!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, it's against the law to make prank calls!”~~~

  • “(Hold up cell phone) Is this your cell phone? Because it has three missed calls!”~~~

  • “That pitch was like your last date, you didn't want to see her or call her.”~~~

  • “To batter as he steps into the box: "You better be swinging. You're standing in the strike zone."”~~~

  • “After the ump has dusted off home plate: "You're gonna make someone a great wife someday!”~~~

  • “You're not gonna sleep a minute tonight because you've slept all game!”~~~

  • “Did you make the call on WMD in Iraq as well?”~~~

  • “Is your rule book written in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on!”~~~

  • “Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Flip over the plate and read the directions!”~~~

  • “How about some Windex for that glass eye!”~~~

  • “The French judge says it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, diarrhea has more consistency than your strike zone!”~~~

  • “You need to go to confession after that call!”~~~

  • “I've seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “Don't bother brushing off the corners, you're not calling them anyway!”~~~

  • “We know you're blind, we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “They're putting your strike zone on the back of milk cartons!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, that's not a 9 iron he's hitting with!”~~~

  • “How do you sleep at night?”~~~

  • “I was confused the first time I saw a game too!”~~~

  • “I've gotten better calls from my ex-wife!”~~~

  • “Good thing there are not three choices!”~~~

  • “Somebody get the ump his prescription mask!”~~~

  • “You flipping coins?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue is that a dinner plate? Apparently it has no corners!”~~~

  • “Admit it.... You lied!”~~~

  • “Why don't you get your Seeing Eye dog to call it for you?”~~~

  • “I forgot the Milk-Bone for your seeing-eye dog!”~~~

  • “Have you lost your strike zone in the lights?”~~~

  • “Now I know why there's only one eye (I) in umpire!”~~~

  • “You couldn't get a pitchout right!”~~~

  • “You're making more bad calls than a telemarketer!”~~~

  • “Kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Be careful when you back up, so you don't fall over your dog!”~~~

  • “Did you haul in your strike zone on a tractor trailer bed?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, if you had another eye it would be lonely!”~~~

  • “You couldn't call hogs!”~~~

  • “Keep calling them like that and you'll be bagging groceries in no time!”~~~

  • “Get a hammer and some nails, the plate is movin' around again!”~~~

  • “You call more strikes than a union delegate!”~~~

  • “Did your glass eye fog up?”~~~

  • “You couldn't call a cab!”~~~

  • “The circus is in town and the clowns are wearing blue!”~~~

  • “It's a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “You really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, turn that mask around and get a GOOD look!”~~~

  • “You can go home blue, we'll take it from here!”~~~

  • “How'd you become an umpire? Flunk out of tollbooth school?”~~~

  • “How about asking the crowd?”~~~

  • “Do you want to use another lifeline?”~~~

  • “3 Blind Mice, 3 Blind Mice,”~~~

  • “What were you, a lookout for the Titanic?”~~~

  • “How many fingers am I holding up?”~~~

  • “(For an umpire is slow getting in position) C'mon blue, put the Snicker Bar down!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Move around, you're tilting' the infield!”~~~

  • “Move around Blue, you're killing' the grass!”~~~

  • “It sure sounded like a strike!”~~~

  • “How'd you get a square head in that round mask?”~~~

  • “Have they stopped printing the rulebooks in Braille?”~~~

  • “Don't donate your eyes to science, they don't want 'em'”~~~

  • “Does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Pull the good eye out of your pocket!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike!”~~~

  • “Sure you don't want to phone a friend?”~~~

  • “You can open your eyes now!”~~~

  • “Do you get any better or is this it?”~~~

  • “You're blinking too long!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make the right call if you had a phone book!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make a call in a phone booth!”~~~

  • “Do you take Visa or American Express?”~~~

  • “Leave the gift giving to Santa!”~~~

  • “Take out your glass eye and wash it!”~~~

  • “Guess again, the last call was wrong!”~~~

  • “Blue, do you feel guilty?”~~~

  • “If the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask them to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Your strike zone is a moving target!”~~~

  • “You're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Punch a hole in that mask, you're missing a good game!”~~~

  • “Hey, Sleeping Beauty, wake up!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Magnum P.I. called and he can't find your strike zone!”~~~

  • “I've seen potatoes with better eyes!”~~~

  • “Next time buy a ticket if you're going to watch!”~~~

  • “Can I buy you another beer?”~~~

  • “We know your blind we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better blues in a crayon box!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls at a square dance!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls between two tin cans and a piece of string!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, were you looking for the curve?”~~~

  • “Hey Blues, which one of you is the designated driver?”~~~

  • “Move a little Blue, you're growing' roots!~~~

  • '

Come On Blue!

The bang-bang blogging thoughts of an experienced umpire.

"Fielder's Balk"... Is there such a violation?

"Fielder's Balk"... Is there such a violation?

Badge Michael-A-160SCENARIO: Runner on first and the first baseman is holding him on with his foot in foul territory before and throughout the pitch. The coach wants a balk called because the defensive player was in foul territory. Is there such a thing as a "Fielder's Balk"?

RULING: In Major League Baseball, there is no such thing as a "Fielder's Balk". Umpires, please see below for what should be done when a coach wants a "Fielder's Balk" called.

CONFUSION: The confusion stems from the wording of 4.03 in the Official Rules of Major League Baseball. This particular coach isn't the first to read it and think the rule book refers to a fielder's balk, and he surely won't be the last. Instead of sharing just the text, here is a photo of the way it shows up in my MLB rule book. The layout is confusing at best...


 Casual reading of this section clearly shows that the penalty is to be a balk. End of story, right? Nope. Understanding more about the way the MLB rule book is laid out, you will see that the penalty only applies to 4.03a which deals specifically with a "Catcher's Balk" and not with 4.03b, 4.03c, or the initial 4.03 intro paragraph.

This can be very confusing because one would logically think that there is a penalty specified for every infraction of the rule book. But this is just one more of many MLB rules where it states, "Thou shalt not..." and then fails to provide the punishment.

MLBUM2012In researching the issue further, I went to my rulings and commentary books and I located the clarification in the Major League Baseball Umpire's Manual (MLBUM) where it states...

Official Baseball Rule 4.03 provides that when the ball is put in play at the start of or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory. In particular, when holding a runner on first base, the first baseman shall position himself with both feet in fair territory. There is no penalty specified for violation other than the first baseman shall be instructed to keep both feet in fair territory if brought to the attention of the umpire, or-if blatant or recurring violation upon immediate direction of the umpire. If a player, after so directed by the umpire, blatantly refuses to comply, the player is subject to ejection.


In surveying a few friends and spectators at the OYB ball fields last night this common sentiment was conveyed...

MICHAEL LEAVITT - "In super league do they say anything when the first baseman sets up with his foot in foul territory?"

PLAYER - "Yeah, Rocky Mountain doesn't let us do that. They tell us to get in bounds."

MICHAEL LEAVITT - "Do they ever call a balk for doing it?"

PLAYER - "Nope. They just tell us to get in fair territory."


We always have coaches and players that want to strain at a gnat and gain the greatest possible advantage, and I am fine with that. But where is the line drawn?

  • 1) Can one foot be in fair territory and the other in foul territory?
  • 2) Can one foot be in fair territory and the other on the line with part of the foot toughing the line and the rest in foul territory?
  • 3) Or do both feet have to be clearly in fair territory?

The answer to this may surprise you, but the rules are completely different between Major League Baseball rules and NFHS high school rules.

MLB - Using MLB rules, both feet must be in fair territory, meaning just that. The line is in fair territory, so if any part of the first baseman's foot crosses the line into foul territory, then he is in violation.

NFHS - High School rules have a different allowance and penalty. Here is the text...


This means that a player can have 1 foot, but not two in foul territory at the time of the pitch. If any part of his second foot is also across the line and is in foul territory, then he is in violation. It should also be noted that using high school rules that there is a clear penalty of an "Illegal pitch." An illegal pitch with runners on results in a "Balk" call.

BEFUDDLED: So there you have it, the situation was confusing at best, but we managed to find the answers. The confusion is justified since we have people hanging around the Orem Youth Baseball fields as well as the local high school fields. Both leagues are called a bit differently, but neither are as clear cut as the normal fan, player, or coach would initially think.


MLB RULES: When the ball is in play and the pitcher is getting set to pitch, the defensive team (minus the catcher) should have both their feet in fair territory. If not, then they should be told to do so. If they continue to repeatedly have their foot out of bounds, or blatantly refuse, then the player should be ejected.

HIGH SCHOOL RULES: All defensive players (minus the catcher) should have at least one foot in fair territory when the pitcher is preparing to pitch. If they do not at the time of the pitch, then it is an illegal pitch subject to a balk with men on base.


The same ruling shared above from the MLBUM is also shared in the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. Umpire Manual 2014 in section 3-18...


So there you have it. On the Orem Youth Baseball fields it is not a balk for the first baseman to have his foot in foul territory when holding a runner on first base. Instead, it is a warning to the first baseman to get into fair territory.

AND FINALLY - 2 MAN UMPIRE CREW: Please also understand that with a two man umpiring crew, this situation is a very low priority to the umpire. Coaches should be much more interested in the field umpire watching closely for the pitcher to actually balk than they are looking over constantly to see if the first baseman is in fair territory. After all, there is only so much the umpires can keep their eyes on when there are only 4 eyes to cover the entire field at any time during the game. If, however, a coach sees the offense and is concerned, then they should bring it to the attention of the umpire so that the first baseman can be reminded of the rule.

Enjoy the game! Michael Leavitt


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