TASO Rules Interpreter
Interpretations 2005 & 2006

Q: F1 hits ball which bounces off top of fence in fair territory and then beyond. Award four bases (home run) or two bases (ground-rule double)?
A: If the ball hits the top of the fence on the fly, it is a home run.

Q: Situation: Runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Batter strikes out and is called out. Runner then runs toward 1st base, catcher throws ball into dead ball area. Can the batter be called for interference? Or are base runners given 2 bases?
A: If the umpire has indicated that the batter-runner is out ("The batter is out."), it becomes the defense's responsibility to know what is going on.  If the catcher throws the ball and it goes into dead ball territory, the runner at second is awarded home and the runner at first, third.  This is an approved ruling by the Federation.

Q: The first baseman drops his knee to the ground in front of 1st base, basically blocking the entire base on a pickoff attempt at 1st.
A: In high school it is legal to block a base if a play is imminent, the pitcher throwing the ball to first.  The first baseman can block the base with his leg if the pitcher is making a move, not before a move is made. Note: In the 2005 NFHS Case Book, on page 65, 8.3.2 Situation G reads as follows: F3, in taking a throw from F1 on a pickoff attempt, places his foot (or feet) in front of the bag as he is attempting to catch the throw, which prevents R1 from getting back to the base. RULING:  F3 is considered to be in legal position if the play from the pitcher is imminent.  R1 is out.

Q: With the emphasis on safety being stressed in all the rules, why is it players are allowed to wear steel cleats in baseball?
A: About 10 years ago the Federation banned metal cleats.  Texas did not observe the rule through an exemption. The Federation rule was deleted after about 3 years.

Q:  Can a School District vote in a Baseball District Rule that supersedes the 2005 National Federation Rule Book?  Example: Can a District vote to play a full seven (7) inning each district baseball game if the 10 Run Rule does not come into effect?
A: If the game has reached regulation status under Federation rules and if a winner can be determined, the game is over. The DEC does not have the authority to over ride.  If you have other questions or need additional information, please contact Mark Cousins, Athletic Coordinator - University Interscholastic League

2005 National Federation Rule Book States:  Page 34, Rule 4.2.Art. 3.....if weather or darkness interferes with play so that the game is called (ended) by the umpire, it is a regulation game:
    a. If five full innings have been played, or if the home team has scored an equal or greater number of runs in four or four and a fraction turns at bat than the visiting team has scored in five turns at bat; or
    b. If play has gone beyond five full innings.
If the game is called when the teams have not had a equal number of completed turns at bat, the score shall the same as it was at the end of the last completed inning; except that is the home team in its half of the uncompleted inning, scores a run (or runs) which equals or exceeds the opponent's score, the final score shall be recorded when the game is called.No, DEC's do not have the authority to over ride Federation rules. Unless a game is tied, there is no provision to complete a game as described below.

Q: Substitution for F1. Coach crosses foul-line back toward dugout, then returns to give new F1 more advice before new F1 completes 8 warm-up throws. Charged conference to new F1?
A: Once the coach has crossed the foul line the conference has ended.  When he goes back to talk to his sub for F1 he is charged a conference.

Q: Is it a BALK for the pitcher to take signs from the while not on the rubber?
A: Without a runner/s on it is an illegal pitch resulting in a ball.  With runner/s on it is a balk.

Q: What kills the D.H.?
A: The DH playing on defense or the player being DH'ed for playing on offense.

Q: Runners on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd one out ball hit deep to right field ball caught for the 2nd out. Runners at 2nd and 3rd tag up properly, but the runner on 1st leaves early. After live ball appeal is made runner leaving 1st early is the 3rd out. Does the run count?
A: Yes, this is a Timing play.

Q: Interpretation, Situation #5 mentions the pitcher swinging his pitching hand in front of his body. What if his hand is held in front of his body, not swinging? What if he does not have a ball in his hand? Is it still a balk?
A: Federation rules have always had this provision.  The pitcher's throwing hand when in the set position should be at his side or behind his back, with or without the ball.  If he does not do this, it is a balk. The emphasis is to get that hand where the runner at first can see for sure when the pitcher comes set.  This mainly affects right-handed pitchers, but it is the rule regardless.My suggestion this year is to keep warning the pitchers, not necessarily call a balk.  Let's get them back in the correct habit.  If a balk is called, it is by rule.

Q: Catcher is pinch hit for. New batter hits a clean double. Catcher re-enters game for pinch hitter at second base. Can a courtesy runner be used for the catcher now?
A: Yes!  This is a change this year.  In the past the catcher or pitcher had to earn their way onto base.  That is no longer the case.

Q: Batter foul tips the ball for the second strike and the ball is caught by the catcher. At the same time the base runner on first is stealing second. Does the runner return to first base?
A: Foul tip is a live ball.  The runner stays at 2nd if he makes it.  If the catcher drops the ball for a foul ball, the runner has to return.

Q: Runner in rundown between 3d and home ends up turning on edge of infield grass returning to 3B and is contacted by a fielder without the ball. Is this obstruction or out of baseline?
A: As long as in the umpire's judgment the runner was not trying to make contact with the fielder without the ball on purpose, you can have obstruction.  The runner is only out of the baseline if he is trying to avoid a tag.  If he goes after the fielder intentionally to try and get an obstruction call, you can rule no obstruction.

Q: What constitutes a pitcher?
A: In high school a pitcher can be removed and return as the pitcher once per inning.  When the pitcher is removed it does not count as a charged conference.  The pitcher that enters the game must meet the pitching requirements that he pitch to at least one batter or the third out is made (i.e. a runner is picked off before he has pitched to the first batter he has faced).  If the pitcher coming into the game exceeds the 8 warm-up pitches, the pitcher removed loses the right to return as a pitcher.

Q: Runner on 1st, fly ball to right field that is caught, runner does not tag up and has rounded 2nd going towards 3rd when the throw is made to 3rd and the throw goes into the dugout. Where do you put the runner?
A: You kill the ball and tell the runner he gets home.  It is his responsibility to know that he failed to tag up properly.  He can return to first and tag up, retouching second as he returns, and then proceed to second, third, and home.  If the defense properly appeals, the runner is out.  Even though he has retouched and touched all the bases in the proper order he lost his right to tag up when he touched the succeeding base, second.  If the defense appeals while the runner is in the process of returning to tag up, the umpire can rule on the play due to his having lost the right to tag up. (8-2-5)