Return to UmpireBible 2016 Official Baseball Rules

NOTE: Rule numbers in blue or black (like this: 3.06, or this: 7.02(a)) follow the new OBR rule and numbering scheme introduced in the 2015 Official Baseball Rules. The rule numbers in red type (like this: [3.04]) are corresponding rule numbers from the Official Rules prior to 2015. All of the content has been updated to the 2016 rule book.


Rule 7.00 - Ending the Game

7.01 [4.10]  Regulation Games

  (a) A regulation game consists of nine innings, unless extended because of a tie score, or shortened (1) because the home team needs none of its half of the ninth inning or only a fraction of it, or (2) because the umpire-in-chief calls the game.

EXCEPTION: National Association leagues may adopt a rule providing that one or both games of a doubleheader shall be seven innings in length. In such games, any of these rules applying to the ninth inning shall apply to the seventh inning.

  (b) If the score is tied after nine completed innings play shall continue until (1) the visiting team has scored more total runs than the home team at the end of a completed inning, or (2) the home team scores the winning run in an uncompleted inning.

  (c) If a game is called, it is a regulation game:

  (1) If five innings have been completed;

  (2) If the home team has scored more runs in four or four and a fraction half-innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed half-innings;

  (3) If the home team scores one or more runs in its half of the fifth inning to tie the score.

  (d) If a regulation game is called with the score tied, it shall become a suspended game. See Rule 7.02 (Rule 4.12).

  (e) If a game is postponed or otherwise called before it has become a regulation game, the umpire-in-chief shall declare it "No Game," unless the game is called pursuant to Rules 7.02(a)(3) or 7.02(a)(4) (Rules 4.12(a)(3) or 4.12(a)(4)), which shall be a suspended game at any time after it starts.

  (f) A League President may determine whether rain checks will be honored for any regulation or suspended game that has progressed to or beyond a point of play described in Rule 7.01(c) (Rule 4.10(c)).

Rule 7.01 [4.10]  Comment: The Major Leagues have determined that Rules 7.01(c) and 7.01(e) (Rules 4.10(c) and 4.10 (e)) do not apply to any Wild Card, Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series games or for any additional Major League championship season game played to break a tie.

  (g) [4.11] The score of a regulation game is the total number of runs scored by each team at the moment the game ends.

  (1) The game ends when the visiting team completes its half of the ninth inning if the home team is ahead.

  (2) The game ends when the ninth inning is completed, if the visiting team is ahead.

  (3) If the home team scores the winning run in its half of the ninth inning (or its half of an extra inning after a tie), the game ends immediately when the winning run is scored.

EXCEPTION: If the last batter in a game hits a home run out of the playing field, the batter-runner and all runners on base are permitted to score, in accordance with the base-running rules, and the game ends when the batter-runner touches home plate.

APPROVED RULING: The batter hits a home run out of the playing field to win the game in the last half of the ninth or an extra inning, but is called out for passing a preceding runner. The game ends immediately when the winning run is scored, unless there are two out and the winning run has not yet reached home plate when the runner passes another, in which case the inning is over and only those runs that scored before the runner passes another shall count.

  (4) A called game ends at the moment the umpire terminates play, unless it becomes a suspended game pursuant to (Rule 7.02(a) (Rule (4.12(a)).

7.02 [4.12]  Suspended, Postponed, and Tie Games

  (a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:

  (1) A curfew imposed by law;

  (2) A time limit permissible under league rules;

  (3) Light failure, malfunction of, or unintentional operator error in employing, a mechanical or field device or equipment under the control of the home club (e.g., a retractable roof, a tarpaulin, or other water removal equipment);

  (4) Darkness, when a law prevents the lights from being turned on;

  (5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead; or

  (6) It is a regulation game that is called with the score tied;

National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games. (If adopted by a National Association League, Rule 7.01(e) (Rule 4.10(e)) would not apply to their games.);

  (7) The game has not become a regulation game (4-1/2 innings with the home team ahead, or 5 innings with the visiting club ahead, or tied);

  (8) If a game is suspended before it becomes a regulation game, and is continued prior to another regularly scheduled game, the regularly scheduled game shall be seven innings in length. See the exception described in Rule 7.01(a) (Rule 4.10(a));

  (9) If a game is suspended after it is a regulation game, and is continued prior to another regularly scheduled game, the regularly scheduled game shall be a nine-inning game.

EXCEPTION: Optional Rules 7.02(a)(7), 7.02(a)(8) and 7.02(a)(9) (Rules 4.12(a)(7), 4.12(a)(8) and 4.12(a)(9)) for National Association Leagues shall not apply to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season. A National Association League may adopt any of Rules 7.02(a)(7), 7.02(a)(8) and 7.02(a)(9) Rules 4.12(a)(7), 4.12(a)(8) and 4.12(a)(9)) for its post-season games.

No game called because of a curfew Rule 7.02(a)(1) (Rule 4.12(a)(1)), weather Rule 7.02(a)(5) (Rule 4.12(a)(5)), a time limit Rule 7.02(a)(2) (Rule 4.12(a)(2)) or with a tied score Rule 7.02(a)(6) (Rule 4.12(a)(6)) shall be a suspended game unless it has progressed far enough to have been a regulation game pursuant to Rule 7.01(c) (Rule 4.10(c)). A game called pursuant to Rules 7.02(a)(3) or 7.02(a)(4) (Rules 4.12 (a)(3) or 4.12(a)(4)) shall be a suspended game at any time after it starts.

NOTE: Weather and similar conditions – Rules 7.02(a)(1) through 7.02(a)(5) (Rules 4.12(a)(1) through 4.12(a)(5)) –shall take precedence in determining whether a called game shall be a suspended game. If a game is halted by weather, and subsequent light failure or an intervening curfew or time limit prevents its resumption, the game shall not be a suspended game. If a game is halted by light failure, and weather or field conditions prevent its resumption, the game shall not be a suspended game. A game can only be considered a suspended game if stopped for any of the six reasons specified in Rule 7.02(a) (Rule 4.12(a)).

Rule 7.02(a) [4.12(a)]  Comment: The Major Leagues have determined that Rule 7.02(a) (Rule 4.12 (a)) does not apply to any Wild Card, Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series games or for any additional Major League championship season game played to break a tie.

  (b) A suspended game shall be resumed and completed as follows:

  (1) Immediately preceding the next scheduled single game between the two clubs on the same grounds; or

  (2) Immediately preceding the next scheduled doubleheader between the two clubs on the same grounds, if no single game remains on the schedule; or

  (3) If suspended on the last scheduled date between the two clubs in that city, transferred and played on the grounds of the opposing club, if possible;

  (A) Immediately preceding the next scheduled single game, or

  (B) Immediately preceding the next scheduled doubleheader, if no single game remains on the schedule.

  (4) Any suspended game that has progressed far enough to become a regulation game, but which has not been completed prior to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season shall become a called game, as follows:

  (A) If one team is ahead, the team that is ahead shall be declared the winner (unless the game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead, in which case the score upon the completion of the last full inning shall stand for purposes of this Rule 7.02(b)(4) (Rule 4.12(b)(4)(i)); or

  (B) If the score is tied, the game shall be declared a "tie game" (unless the game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to tie the game, and the home team has not retied the game, in which case the score upon the completion of the last full inning shall stand for purposes of this Rule 7.02(b)(4) (Rule 4.12(b)(4)(ii)).

  (5) Any postponed game, suspended game (that has not progressed far enough to become a regulation game), or tie game that has not been rescheduled and completed prior to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season must be played (or continued, in the case of a suspended or tie game) to a completed regulation game, if the League President determines that not playing such game might affect post-season play, including eligibility for the post-season and/or home-field advantage for any post-season game.

Rule 7.02(b) [4.12(b)]  Comment: The Major Leagues have determined that Rule 7.02(b) (Rule 4.12(b)) does not apply to any Wild Card, Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series games or for any additional Major League championship season game played to break a tie. The National Association has determined that games shall not be rescheduled and played to a completed regulation game in accordance with Rule 7.02(b)(5) for the purpose of determining eligibility or home-field advantage for the post-season.

  (c) A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup.

A player who was not with the club when the game was suspended may be used as a substitute, even if he has taken the place of a player no longer with the club who would not have been eligible because he had been removed from the lineup before the game was suspended.

Rule 7.02(c) [4.12(c)]  Comment: If immediately prior to the call of a suspended game, a substitute pitcher has been announced but has not retired the side or pitched until the batter becomes a base runner, such pitcher, when the suspended game is later resumed may, but is not required to start the resumed portion of the game. However, if he does not start he will be considered as having been substituted for and may not be used in that game.


7.03  Forfeited Games

  (a) [4.15] A game may be forfeited to the opposing team when a team:

  (1) Fails to appear upon the field, or being upon the field, refuses to start play within five minutes after the umpire-in-chief has called "Play" at the appointed hour for beginning the game, unless such delayed appearance is, in the umpire-in-chief's judgment, unavoidable;

  (2) Employs tactics palpably designed to delay or shorten the game;

  (3) Refuses to continue play during a game unless the game has been suspended or terminated by the umpire-in-chief;

  (4) Fails to resume play, after a suspension, within one minute after the umpire-in-chief has called "Play;"

  (5) After warning by the umpire, willfully and persistently violates any rules of the game;

  (6) Fails to obey within a reasonable time the umpire's order for removal of a player from the game;

  (7) Fails to appear for the second game of a doubleheader within twenty minutes after the close of the first game unless the umpire-in-chief of the first game shall have extended the time of the intermission.

  (b) [4.17] A game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine players on the field.

  (c) [4.16] A game shall be forfeited to the visiting team if, after it has been suspended, the order of the umpire to groundskeepers respecting preparation of the field for resumption of play intentionally or willfully is not complied with.

  (d) [4.18] If the umpire-in-chief declares a game forfeited he shall transmit a written report to the League President within 24 hours thereafter, but failure of such transmittal shall not affect the forfeiture.


7.04  Protesting Games

Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire's decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final.

Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team's chances of winning the game.

Rule 7.04 [4.19]  Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office.

 




OFFICIAL RULES

1.0 - Objectives of the Game

2.0 - The Playing Field

3.0 - Equipment & Uniforms

4.0 - Game Preliminaries

5.0 - Playing the Game

6.0 - Improper Play, Illegal Action

7.0 - Ending the Game

8.0 - The Umpire

Definitions of Terms

Appendix 1-5

OBR Table of Contents

INDEX to the Rules of Baseball