Managers, coaches, and fans are frequently confused by the enforcement of Rule 6.08(b) as it deals with the award of a base to a batter as a result of being hit by a pitch. The confusion arises from the instances of when a base is awarded and when it is not. Coaches are tasked with knowing the different applications of the rule; and umpires need to be prepared to explain why the different situations and associated enforcement.
Batter takes his/her position in the batter’s box with their arms extending into the strike zone. Batter is hit on the arm by the pitch while not swinging. RULING: Dead ball (TIME), strike on the batter NO AWARD [Rule 6.08(b)(1) and Rule 2.00 Definition of a strike paragraph (f).
Batter swings and misses the pitch and the pitch touches the batter. RULING: Dead ball (TIME), strike on the batter, NO AWARD [RULE 2.00 Definition of a strike paragraph (e).
Batter takes a proper position in the batter’s box, pitch is inside and the batter makes NO ATTEMPT to avoid being touched by the pitch. RULING: Dead ball (TIME), a ball is added to the batter’s count, NO AWARD [RULE 6.08(b)(2).
With a runner on first base, the pitcher throws wildly, the ball bounces in front of the plate, then hits the batter in the ankle and gets past the catcher. The runner on first base advances to third base on the play. RULING: Dead ball (TIME), batter is awarded first base [RULE 6.08(b)] and the runner that reached third base is returned to second base [RULE 6.08(b) APPROVED RULING]. The ball became dead upon touching the batter and no runners may advance unless forced by the batter’s award.
When the batter is hit by a pitch; a plate umpire must quickly process the following information:
- Was the pitch in the strike zone when it struck the batter?
- Did the batter make an attempt to avoid being hit by the pitch?
- Did the batter attempt to swing at the pitch?
Your answers to these questions will help you explain your ruling to the manager if you need to.
Remember, your first call will always be TIME! in these situations. Use those few seconds to replay exactly what happened and rule accordingly.