Chapter 3: Definition of Terms

UpdatedMonday May 20, 2019 byBoys Baseball of Aurora BBA.







301.1 List of Terms.  The following list of terms will be used as the operating definition of select words in the rulebook.


ADJUDGED –      A judgment by an umpire.

APPEAL – The act of a fielder in claiming violation of the rules by the offensive team.  An appeal must be made verbally.


BALL – A pitch which does not enter the strike zone in flight and is not struck at by the batter.  If a pitch touches the ground and bounces through the strike zone it is a ball, if the batter is hit by this pitch he shall be awarded first base, if the batter hit such a pitch the ensuing action will be the same as if he hit the ball in flight.

BALK – An illegal motion by a pitcher.  Only applicable at the Pony Level.

BASE – One of four points, usually denoted by canvas or rubber bags and a rubber plate, which must be touched by a runner in order to score a run.

BASE COACH – A team member in uniform with a helmet on, an adult coach, or manager who is stationed in the first or third base coach’s box.

BASE ON BALLS – An award of first base granted to batters who, during their time at bat, receive four pitches outside the strike zone.

BATTER – An offensive player who takes a position in the batter’s box.

BATTER-RUNNER – Identifies the offensive player who has just finished a time at bat until that player is put out or until the play on which that player becomes a runner end.

BATTER’S BOX – The area within which the batter must stand during a time at bat.

BATTERY – The combination of the pitcher and the catcher as one entity.

BATTING ORDER – The list of current players in the order in which they are to bat.

BENCH – The seating facilities reserved for players, substitutes, manager and coaches when they are not actively engaged on the playing field.  Also referred to as the DUGOUT.

BUNT – A batted ball not swung at, but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly.


CALLED GAME – A game in which, for any reason, the umpire-in-chief terminates play.

CATCH – The act of a fielder in getting secure possession in the hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it before it touches the ground providing such fielder does not use cap, protector, pocket or any other part of the uniform in getting possession.  It is NOT a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following contact with the ball, the fielder collides with a player, or with a wall, or if that fielder falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball.  It is NOT a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by a defensive player.  If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught.  In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove complete control of the ball and that release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.  A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground.  When tagging up runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball.

CATCHER’S BOX – The area within which the catcher shall stand until the pitcher delivers the ball.

COACH – An adult appointed to perform such duties as the manager may designate.


DEAD BALL – A ball out of play because of a legally created temporary suspension of play.

DEFENSE (or DEFENSIVE) – The team, or any player of the team, in the field.

DOUBLE PLAY – A play by the defense in which two (2) offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action, pro-viding there is no error between putouts. (a) A force double play is one in which both putouts are force plays.  (b) A reverse force double play is one in which the first out is made at any base and the second out is made by tagging a runner, who originally was forced, before the runner touches the base to which that runner was forced.



FAIR BALL – A batted ball that settles on fair ground between home and first base, or between home and third base, or that is on or over fair territory when bounding to the outfield past first or third base, or that touches first, second or third base, or that first falls on fair territory on or beyond first base or third base or that, while on or over fair territory touches the person of an umpire or player, or that while over fair territory, passes out of the playing field in flight.  A fair fly ball shall be adjudged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on fair or foul territory at the time such fielder touches the ball.

FAIR TERRITORY – The 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.  Home plate, first base and third base and all foul lines and foul poles are in fair territory.

FIELDER – Any defensive player.

FIELDER’S CHOICE – The act of a fielder who handles a fair grounder and, instead of throwing it to first base to put the batter-runner out, throws to another base in an attempt to put out a preceding runner.  The term is also used by scorers (a) to account for the advance of the batter-runner who takes one or more extra bases when the fielder who handles the safe hit attempts to put out a preceding runner; (b) to account for the advance of a runner (other than by stolen base or error) while a fielder is attempting to put out another runner; and (c) to account for the advance of a runner made solely because of the defensive team’s indifference.

FLY BALL – A batted ball that goes high in the air in flight.

FORCE PLAY – A play in which a runner legally loses the right to occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner. (Note: Confusion regarding this play is removed by remembering that frequently the “force’ situation is removed during the play.  Example: Runner on first, one out, ground ball hit sharply to first baseman, who touches the bag and the batter-runner is out.  The force is removed at that moment and the runner advancing to second must be tagged.  If there had been a runner at second or third, and either of these runners scored before the tag-out at second, the run(s) would count.  Had the first baseman thrown to second and the ball had been returned to first, the play at second base would have been a force-out, making two outs, and the return throw to first would have made the third out.  In that case, no run would score.

FORFEIT – A game declared ended by the umpire in favor of the offended team by the score of 6 to 0, for violation of the rules.

FOUL BALL – 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 fielder is on foul or fair territory at the time that fielder touches the ball.  A batted ball not touched by a fielder, which hits the pitcher’s rubber and rebounds into foul territory, between home and first or between home and third base is a foul.

FOUL TERRITORY – The part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards.

FOUL TIP – A batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught.  It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play.  It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand.


GROUND BALL – A batted ball that rolls or bounces close to the ground.


HOME TEAM – The team that takes the field first at the start of the game.  Adopted schedules will determine which team is home.


ILLEGAL or ILLEGALLY – Contrary to the rules.

ILLEGAL PITCH – A pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have the pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate.  A pitch delivered with a foreign substance applied to the ball, though rosin can be applied to the hand.  A quick return pitch.  If any violation of the type listed in this section of the rules occurs, umpires must first be convinced that such a violation is intentional.  If so convinced, the umpire shall advise the manager of the violation.  If, after this warning, the pitcher continues to intentionally violate the rules, the umpire shall call a ball.

ILLEGALLY BATTED BALL – A ball hit by the batter with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter’s box.

INFIELDER – A fielder who occupies a position in the INFIELD.

INFIELD FLY – A fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) that can be caught by an infield with ordinary effort, when 1st and 2nd, or 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases are occupied before two are out.  The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder stationed in the infield shall be considered infielders for this 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.  If the ball is near the baseline, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly if Fair.”  The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball.  If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.  If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground and bounces foul and remains foul before passing 1st or 3rd base, it is a foul ball.  If declared an Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground, outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing 1st or 3rd base, it is an Infield Fly.  On the Infield Fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder, not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines.  The umpire must also rule that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder.  The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play.  The umpire’s judgment must govern and the decision should be made immediately.

IN FLIGHT – A batted, thrown, or pitched ball that has not yet touched the ground or some object other than a fielder.

IN JEOPARDY – A term indicating that the ball is in play and an offensive player may be put out.

INNING – The portion of a game within which the teams alternate on offense and defense and in which there are three putouts for each team.  Each team’s time at bat is a half-inning.  It will be held that an inning starts the moment the third out is made completing the preceding inning.

INTENTIONAL WALK – A pitcher must need not throw all four balls to intentionally walk a player.  A manager may indicate to the umpire the desire to walk a batter and said batter will be given first base,  All defensive players with the exception of the catcher must be in fair territory during the intentional walk.  A player may be intentionally walked once during a game.  Teams playing with fewer than nine (9) players and thus subject to the automatic out, cannot have the game end with an intentional walk.

INTERFERENCE – (a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat that interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.  If the umpire declares the batter, batter-runner or a runner out for interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise provided by these rules.  (b) Defensive interference is an act by a fielder that hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch.  (c) Umpire’s interference occurs when an umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base, or when a fair ball touches an umpire on fair territory before passing a fielder.  (d) Spectator interference occurs when a spectator reaches out of the stands or goes on the playing field, or reaches over a fence, and touches a live ball.  (e) On any interference the ball is dead.


LINE DRIVE – A batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to a fielder without touching the ground.

LIVE BALL – A ball that is in play.


MANAGER – A person appointed by the Board of Directors to be responsible for the team’s actions on the field, and to represent the team in communications with the umpire and the opposing team.  (a) The manager shall always be responsible for the team’s conduct, observance of the official rules and deference to the umpire.  (b) If a manager leaves the field, that manager shall designate the coach as substitute and such substitute manager shall have the duties, rights and responsibilities of the manager.


OBSTRUCTION – The act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball or not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.  If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the field so he must occupy his positon to receive the ball he may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.”  It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball.  After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed it, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball.

OFFENSE – The team, or any player of the team, at bat.

OFFICIAL RULES – The rules contained in this book.

OFFICIAL SCORER – The person whose scorebook governs the results of the game including but not limited to inning, outs, baserunners, and score.

OUT – One of the three required retirements of an offensive team during its time at bat.

OUTFIELDER – A fielder who occupies a position in the outfield, which is the area of the playing field most distant from home base.

OVERSLIDE (OVERSLIDING) – The act of an offensive player when the slide to a base, other than when advancing from home base to first base, is with such momentum that the player loses contact with the base.


PENALTY – The application of these rules following an illegal act.

PERSON – Any part of a player, umpire or coach’s body, clothing or equipment.

PITCH – A ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher.

PITCHER – The fielder designated to deliver the pitch to the batter.

PLAY – The umpire’s order to start the game or to resume action following any dead ball.


QUICK RETURN – A pitch made with obvious intent to catch a batter off balance.


REGULATION GAME – A game completed in accordance with the rules specified in Section 501.9.

RETOUCH – The act of a runner returning to a base as legally required.

RUN or SCORE – The score made by an offensive player who advances from batter to runner and touches 1st, 2nd, 3rd and home bases in that order.

RUNDOWN – The act of the defense in an attempt to put out a runner between bases.

RUNNER – An offensive player who is advancing toward, or touching, or returning to any base.


SAFE – A declaration by the umpire that a runner is entitled to the base for which that runner was trying.

STRIKE – A legal pitch that meets any of these conditions: (a) is struck at by the batter and missed, (b) is not struck at, if any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone, (c) is fouled by the batter when there is less than two strikes, (d) is bunted foul (batter is out and ball is dead, if batter bunts foul on third strike), (e) touches the batter’s person as the batter strikes at it (dead ball), (f) touches the batter in flight in the strike zone, or (g) becomes a foul tip (ball is live and in play).

STRIKE ZONE – That space over home plate that is between the batter’s armpits and the top of the knees when the batter assumes a natural stance.  The umpire shall determine the strike zone according to the batter’s usual stance when that batter swings at a pitch.

SUSPENDED GAME – A called game which is to be completed at a later date.


TAG – The action of a fielder in touching a base with the body while holding the ball securely and firmly in the hand or glove; or touching a runner with the ball or with the hand or glove securely and firmly in the hand or glove.

THROW – The act of propelling the ball with the hand and arm to a given objective and is to be distinguished always from the pitch.

TIE GAME – A regulation game that is called when each team has the same number of runs.

TIME – The announcement by the umpire of a legal interruption of play, during which the ball is dead.

TOUCH – The act of coming in contact with a player, umpire or coach’s body, clothing or equipment.

TRIPLE PLAY – A play by the defense in which three offensive players are put out as a result of continuous action, providing there is no error between putouts.


WILD PITCH – One so high, or low, or wide of the plate that it cannot be handled with ordinary effort by the catcher.