The myth at the beginning

There are plenty of myths about the rule book. I have already discussed some on this blog.

The sneakiest myth of all involves how a game starts. Ask anyone and they will tell you the game starts when the umpire yells “play ball”. Some folks even add this phrase to the end of the National Anthem.

Of course this is not in the book. What does the book say?

4.02 The players of the home team shall take their defensive positions, the first batter of
the visiting team shall take his position in the batter’s box, the umpire shall call “Play” and
the game shall start.

Umpires are supposed to say “Play”. In fact, we say that every time the ball is put back in play…not just at the beginning of the game.

Does this matter at all in the scheme of things – nope. But, it is fun to know what is in the book and what is not.

On a related note, the book never says “tie goes to the runner”. That is a post for another day.

Bouncing Balls

Hit by pitch should be the easiest rule to understand. Pitch hits batter; batter gets first base. Yet, there are a few instances where there is confusion.

At this point, folks are probably wondering why I linked to a video where a guy hits a double. It is not any ordinary double as the ball bounced before he hit the ball. It is a hit that Roger Federer would be proud of.

What does this have to do with a hit by pitch? Well, some people will argue with umpires that a pitch that bounces and hits the batter does not afford him first base. This is hogwash. If a batter can hit a bounced pitch, they can be hit by a bounced pitch.

Further, Rule 6.08(b) says nothing about being hit by an “in flight” ball. Also, the ball is not dead when the ball hits the ground. There are a few instances where a batter can be hit by a pitch and not receive first base. The pitch bouncing first is not one of them.

Hit by pitch is covered on page 41 of RuleGraphics.