Making the Calls
In the game of baseball, many things happen, and the umpire has to interpret all of the events. This section discusses some of the most common events and the call the umpire makes to deal with them.
When the pitcher is pitching to the batter, there are many different courses of action that can take place. This list assumes some basic knowledge of the game, such as what a strike is, and what a ball is. If you don't know these terms, please review the baseball dictionary.
The strike zone is illustrated below. It is the area in the picture that is inside the red box. Formally, the strike zone is the area that's over the plate with the top being the middle of the batter's shoulders and the top of the batter's pants, and the bottom being right below the batter's kneecaps. Thus, the strike zone changes with the batter's stance.
Once the ball has been put into play by being hit, it can go one of two ways, foul (meaning that it is out of play except to be caught for an out) or fair (meaning the ball is in play and has to be handled by the defense)
According to the rules of Major League Baseball, a ball is in fair territory
when it is in that part of the playing field within, and including the first
base and third base lines, from home base to the bottom of the playing field
fence and perpendicularly upwards. Fair territory is shown in yellow below.
If a ball lands on a foul line, it is still in fair territory.
The rules of Major League Baseball have a lengthy description of a foul ball
as a batted ball that settles on foul territory between home and first base, or
between home and third base, or that bounds past first or third base on or over
foul territory, or that first falls on foul territory beyond first or third base,
or that, while on or over foul territory, touches the person of an umpire or player,
or any object foreign to the natural ground.
A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and
the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the infielder is
on foul or fair territory at the time he touches the ball.
A batted ball not touched by a fielder, which hits the
and rebounds into foul territory, between home and first,
or between home and third base, is a foul ball.
A special kind of foul is a foul tip. This is when a ball is hit, or just nicked, but barely moves off its path and is caught by the catcher. It is treated as a strike and is the same as swinging and missing. If the catcher drops the ball it becomes the same as a foul ball.