This collection of frequently asked questions is specific to Little League Rule 1.00 – Objective of the Game. If you have a question to add to these FAQs, please email Tom Rawlings, Little League International Director of Umpire Development, at: trawlings@LittleLeague.org.
Umpires should familiarize themselves with the dimensions of the batter’s box so they can enforce the related rules [Rules 6.03 & 6.06(a)] as if the lines were present.
No. The catcher may leave the catcher’s box at any time to catch a pitch or make a play, except when the batter is being given an intentional (pitched) base on balls the catcher must stand with both feet within the box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. In baseball, the penalty for a violation is an illegal pitch (a balk at higher divisions of baseball with runners on base). In softball, it is “no pitch.”
There is no rule that specifies on which side of the field the first batter of each half inning warms up. However, for safety reasons, it is recommended to keep the first batter in front of their team’s dugout to warm up. The offensive team’s manager and coaches are in that dugout (cannot leave until the pitcher completes their preparatory pitches) and hence close by to help monitor that player. The first batter should be facing the field as he/she warms up to be aware of an errant throw by the defensive team.
A runner who reaches base safely and causes the base to be dislodged is protected against being put out at that base, provided they don’t attempt to advance or retreat. If a base is dislodged during play, any following runner on that same play may touch either the dislodged base or the original location of the base.
It is recommended that umpires should inspect equipment together. This is done so that advice from their partner may be provided if there is uncertainty about the legality of equipment. If umpires are working together to check equipment, in most situations there will not be a third umpire for a manager to seek out to get another opinion. A manager is not entitled to another opinion from a different umpire. If asked, that umpire should first determine what their partner ruled on that piece of equipment.
Some bats may have small imperfections that do not make the bat unsafe for play. If a bat with dents or flat spots passes through the approved Little League bat ring, whether the bat will be permitted to be used in the game is determined by the umpire. If the umpire adjudges that the bat is not smooth and round, or is a safety risk, the bat must be removed from play.
No, the bat is not illegal and the penalty for use of an illegal bat [Rule 6.06(d)] does not apply. All action that resulted from the use of the bat is legal. Once the bat is determined to be damaged, it must be removed from play.
The illegal glove is removed from play. All action that results from the use of the illegal glove is legal. This would be an example of an incident that should be reported to the local league President after the game, in accordance with rule 9.05(a).
Helmets are subject to inspection requirements. Most helmet manufacturers will permit small, pressure sensitive decals to be applied, in accordance with specific instructions from that manufacturer. If there are stickers on helmets there must be a letter of certification from the manufacturer affirming that those stickers are permitted. Managers should have those letters (hard copy or electronic) for umpires to see. If not, those helmets would have to be excluded from play.
No. The helmet manufacturer’s notification of compliance is required if a cheek guard was attached to the helmet after purchase. This can be determined when inspecting the helmet. If the helmet has been purchased from the manufacturer or authorized dealer with the cheek guard already attached, it is not necessary to see the manufacturer’s letter.
Only a properly equipped player may receive warm-up throws from a pitcher. In baseball, that player is required to wear a catcher’s helmet with dangling throat guard and a catcher’s mitt. In softball the player must have a catcher’s helmet with dangling throat guard, and she can wear a catcher’s mitt, first base-fielder’s mitt, or fielder’s glove to receive the warm-up throws. If the player is squatting to receive those pitches, males must wear a groin protection apparatus (i.e. – a cup). If the player is standing to receive those pitches, males must wear an athletic supporter. No manager, coach, or other adult volunteer may warm up a pitcher.