Contact: Brandon Smith 509-823-6457
Competent leadership on and off the playing field is essential to the full benefit and enjoyment of both the youngster who plays Little League Baseball, and the many fans who come to watch and support their teams. Requisite to good leadership is knowledge of, and ability to perform a specific job. The umpires who perform services in Little League are looked upon to provide leadership in much the same fashion as is the manager and coach. Each must know his job and develop the respect of players and adults alike.
Umpiring is as important to the successful conduct of a local league program as is managing and coaching. Traditionally, Little League has maintained a high standard in this area of the game. While the people who perform this service have, in the past, done so as volunteers, SNLL has taken the opportunity to increase their understanding and knowledge of the game and the responsibilities associated with officiating baseball by devolping a crew of paid officials. This program is open to anyone 14 years old and up with a desire to learn the time-honored profession of baseball umpire, and gives SNLL the opportunity to provide required “rules and mechanics clinics” where both returning and rookie umpires can gain knowledge and skills in the areas of rules, interpretations, mechanics, communcation and game flow. SNLL encourages anyone who would like to “ump” to contact the league’s Umpire-in-Chief for more information.
Temperament, technical skill, physical capability and judgement must be considered in selecting umpire candidates. SNLL umpires must have full appreciation of the aims and principles of the program. They must understand youngsters of Little League ages; their comparable skills, limitations and imperfections. SNLL umpire candidates MUST be able to officiate the rules of Little League. Therefore, they must be able and willing to study them. Contrary to what most people have heard, a tie does NOT go to the runner. This is an example of what most people think is a rule of baseball but in fact has never been so.
At Selah National Little League, the umpire’s primary role is to officiate the rules of Little League Baseball as furnished by National, as well as any local rules provided by the league in a totally neutral manner. Our most important priority is for the safety and well-being of the players, coaching staffs, spectators and umpires.
Appearance is a solid attribute to good umpiring, and is a reflection of the league. The well-groomed official creates an atmosphere of respect and dignity. SNLL has spent a significant amount of time and dollars to support the league’s umpire program. The appearance requirements are designed to bring respect and dignity to both the umpire and the league.
SNLL provides the following for each umpire:
An umpire’s jersey in the official MLB umpire colors, Official Umpire’s Cap and Ball Bag, Count Indicator, Plate Brush for plate umpires, Full Chest Protector, Shin Guards and Face Mask. Except for the Umpire’s Cap, these items remain the property of SNLL and must be returned to the Umpire’s room after each game.
Each umpire must provide:
Charcoal Gray Combo Umpire’s pant, solid Black Belt, solid black polishable shoes (may use “plate shoes” but this is not a requirement), solid black socks and, for males, a protective cup. At the begining of the season in Selah, it gets very cold at night. A non-hooded, solid black sweatshirt may be worn under the umpire’s jersey. The league will provide an official SNLL umpire’s jacket, which is the only jacket of any kind that can be worn over the umpire’s jersey.
Prior to the season begining, all umpire’s must attend the rules and mechanics clinics. These scheduled events are posted on the website under calendar/umpires.
- All umpires must call the Umpire-in-chief or his designee on Thursday evening to provide his availability to work for the following week. Anyone who does not call shall be deemed unavailable and not put on the schedule.
- All umpires are required to work their scheduled games. Any umpire who cannot work a scheduled game must find his own replacement. The replacement must be certified at his level or above.
- All umpires must be at the fields 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time and on the scheduled field of play 15 minutes prior to the start. It is the responsibility of the umpire crew to find a volunteer to run the score board and announce the players.
- No switching of assigned fields unless approved by the Umpire-in-Chief or his designee.
- No drinking or eating on fields with the exception of water in between innings.
- Cell phones are not allowed on the fields during games, period.
- All equipment must be returned to umpire’s room after each game. Pitch counts will be received from the home team and logged on the tracking sheets by the Plate umpire after each game.
- Any problems on the field with regards to rules, manager/coaches/players/fans behavior shall be brought to the Umpire-in-Chief’s attention immediately. SNLL umpire’s do not have the authority to eject anyone from the facilities without first contacting the Umpire-in-Chief.
- Study and KNOW the rules and mechanics. If you’re unsure of a certain situation don’t hesitate to ask the veteran umpires or the Umpire-in-Chief.
Most Common Rules Questioned by Managers, Coaches and Parents
Strike Zone: SNLL has two different strike zones-one for Majors and one for Minors. The Majors strike zone is that space directly over home plate, which is between the batter’s chest and the top of the knees when the batter assumes a natural stance. The Majors strike zone is extended by 1 inch on either side of the plate. (The umpire shall determine the strike zone according to the batter’s usual stance when that batter swings at a pitch). The Minors strike zone differs only in that it is extended upward to the bottom part of the armpits and is extended to 2 inches off each side of the plate.
Infield Fly: Is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by a typical 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 stationed in the infield at the time of the pitch shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule. 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.
Out by Contact: There is no “must-slide” rule in baseball. The rule is slide or attempt to avoid contact. A runner must attempt to avoid contact or slide at any base. A runner shall be called out if the runner does not slide or attempt to get around a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make a tag or play. For safety reasons, intentional headfirst slides are not allowed while advancing, the runner will be called out. (Diving back to the bases is allowed).
Interference/Obstruction: Interference-An out shall be called when any offensive player (including coaches) hinders, impedes or interferes with any defensive player who is attemplting to make a play or throw the ball. A delayed call of Obstruction shall be made when any fielder, while not in possesion of the ball or while not attempting to make a play, impedes or obstructs a runner from advancing in any way.
Balks: There are NO balks in Little League Majors, Minors or Tee-Ball. The pitch shall be called a ball.
Leading Off: There is no leading off in Little Leage. A runner cannot “leave” a base prior to the pitched ball arriving at the batter.
Tie goes to the Runner: This “rule” has never existed in Baseball. In the umpire’s judgement, the runner is either safe or out.
Catcher’s Gear: All catchers must wear protectors with neck collar, throat guard, shin guards and catcher’s helmet. All catchers must wear a mask, “dangling” type throat protector and catcher’s helmet during infield and outfield practice, pitcher warm-up and games. Skull caps are not permitted.
10-Run Rule (Also known as the “Mercy Rule”): The 10-run or mercy rule exists in both Majors and Minors. This simply states that a team, ahead in the score by 10 or more runs after 4 complete innings (3 1/2 innings if the home team is ahead in the score) shall be declared the winner and the game shall be declared complete.
“Open Inning”: This rule only applies in the Minors. Rule 5.07 states that a side is retired when, 1) 3 legal outs are recorded or, 2) when all players in the lineup have batter one time in the same half inning or, 3) when 5 runs have scored in the half inning. SNLL has adopted the option of an “open” inning. This means that at the top of the final inning, declared by the umpires, the 5-run portion of Rule 5.07 is suspended. All other aspects of Rule 5.07 remain in force. Therefore, a team who is behind in the score by more runs than players on their lineup cannot win the game because the “one time throught the order” portion of the rule remains in affect.
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