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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fenway Park has a ground rule for balls that hit the top of the ladder on the Green Monster and go out of play—the batter is awarded a ground rule double

Ground rules are rules applying to the field, objects on and near it, and special situations relating to them, in the game of baseball. Major League Baseball has defined a set of "universal ground rules" that apply to all MLB ballparks;[1] individual ballparks have the latitude to set ground rules above and beyond the universal ground rules, as long as they do not directly contradict each other. Additionally, a set of universal ground rules exists for the six MLB stadiums with retractable roofs, with the individual ballparks able to set additional rules.

Unlike the well-defined playing field of most other sports, the playing area of a baseball field extends to an outfield fence in fair territory and the stadium seating in foul territory. The unique design of each ballpark, including fences, dugouts, bullpens, railings, stadium domes, photographer's wells and TV camera booths, requires that rules be defined to handle situations in which these objects may interact or interfere with the ball in play or with the players, and adaptable by ballpark within the universal rules.

The term is familiar to most fans through the ground rule double, a batted ball that bounces fair, then over the outfield fence in fair or foul territory for a two-base hit.

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  • The Rules of Baseball - EXPLAINED!
  • Melvin, Collins talk ground rules with umps
  • SD@CHC: Cubs TV on Wrigley Field's ground rules


Ninh Explains the Rules of Baseball. Baseball is an American sport and is played with 2 teams of 40 players, with 9 players taking to the field at any one time. The object of the game is for your team to score more runs than the opposing team. To score a run, a player must hit the ball between the foul lines and run across three bases and back to home. A hit outside these lines is classed as a ‘foul ball’ and the batter is not allowed to run. The essence of the game is between the pitcher of one team against the batter of the other team. As mentioned before, the batter’s job is to hit the ball between the foul lines but the pitchers job is to get the batter out by throwing into the strikezone. This is an imaginary box that’s the width of home plate and roughly between the batters armpits and knees. If the pitcher throws the ball through this area it’s a strike. If the batter swings and misses any ball it's also a strike. If the batter hits the ball outside the foul lines it can be a 1st or 2nd Strike only. And obviously, three strikes means you’re out! A pitch outside this area is called a ‘ball’. Four balls against a batter and he gets to walk to first base. That sounds simple enough, but there are 3 other ways for a team to get you out. Firstly, if the batter hits the ball along the ground the opposing team can throw the ball to the base he’s running to. If the ball beats the batter to the base - he’s out. A batter can be tagged out whilst running between the bases. If he hits the ball and the ball is caught in the air by the opposing team he’s also out. Once three outs have been made, their half of the inning is over and the other team gets to bat. Once both teams have batted this is known as an inning, the game is played over 9 innings. There are no ties in baseball, so if the score is tied after 9 innings, extra innings will be played to determine the winner. That’s basically it - but there’s a few other rules you’ll need to understand before playing or going to a game. For example: Home Run If a batter hits the ball out of the park between the foul lines, the batter batter (and anyone standing on the bases) get to walk freely around the bases and back to home. All runs score. Stealing bases: To help move the batters along the bases some players will try and make a run for the next base. This is a risky gamble, as the opposing team will be prepared for this and will try and get you out. If the batter is caught out, he is ‘caught stealing’. If a catcher misses or drops the ball, the batter can try and steal first base. Tagging up: If the ball is caught in the air: any players standing on the bases must start from that base before running for the next one. Ground Rule Double: If in the rare instance a ball is hit onto the ground and leaves the ballpark, the batter automatically walks to 2nd base. Double play: This is where the ball is hit in play and the defending team gets two outs, usually by way of throwing to one base, and then another. Designated hitter in Major League Baseball American League American League teams can opt to have someone bat in place of the pitcher. This player is the designated hitter, and he usually specialises in hitting the ball and scoring runs. In the National League (and everywhere else) - the pitchers must bat for themselves. There are many other rules not discussed here, but as you watch or play baseball the rules will become clear. If you have found this video helpful please like, share and subscribe. It takes me ages to make one of these things things and good karma is always appreciated. Be sure to follow me on twitter also, but in the meantime, Enjoy Baseball! Ninh Ly,, @NinhLyUK



  • Ball on the top step (lip) of the dugout is in play.
    • No equipment is permitted to be left on the top step (lip) of the dugout. If a ball hits equipment left on the top step it is dead.
  • A player is not permitted to step or go into a dugout to make a catch.
  • A player is permitted to reach into a dugout to make a catch. If a player makes a catch outside the dugout and the player's momentum carries him into the dugout, then the catch is allowed and the ball remains alive as long as the player does not fall while in the dugout.
  • A batted ball in flight can be caught between or under railings and around screens.
    • A catch may be made on the field tarp.
  • Batted or thrown ball lodging in the rotating signage behind home plate or along first base or third base stands is out of play.
    • Batted or thrown ball resting on the rotating signage behind home plate or along first base or third base stands is in play.
  • The facings of railings surrounding the dugout and photographers areas are in play.
    • Any cameras or microphones permanently attached on railings are treated as part of the railings and are in play.
    • Any recessed railings or poles that are in the dugout and photographers areas are out of play and should be marked with red to mark them out of play.
  • Robotic cameras attached to the facing of the backstop screen are considered part of the screen.
    • A batted ball striking the backstop camera is considered a dead ball.
    • A thrown ball striking the backstop camera is considered in play.
  • A ball striking the guy wires that support the backstop is a dead ball.
  • A ball lodging behind or under canvas on field tarp is out of play.
  • A ball striking the field tarp and rebounding onto the playing field is in play.
  • No chairs can be brought out of the dugout or bullpen and onto the playing field.
  • All yellow lines are in play.
  • A live ball striking the backstop screen or protective netting located on the field boundaries along the first and third base lines is in play.
    • A ball striking protective netting located behind out-of-play areas such as dugouts and photographer areas is dead even if it rebounds onto the field.
  • Where a roof is present, a batted ball that becomes lodged in the roof above fair territory is dead and the runners including batter-runner are awarded two bases. Ballpark-specific ground rules may supersede this rule.
  • On outfield walls composed of sections with different heights (e.g., Fenway Park, Oracle Park), a batted ball in flight that strikes a taller section of the wall in fair territory at a point higher than the top of the adjacent shorter wall, then bounds out of play over the shorter wall, is a home run.
    • Conversely, a batted ball in flight that strikes the shorter wall in fair territory then bounds out of play over the adjacent taller wall is a dead ball and the runners including batter-runner are awarded two bases.

Individual ballpark

Individual ballpark ground rules vary greatly from ballpark to ballpark. For the 2017 season, Citi Field, Kauffman Stadium, Target Field, Yankee Stadium, and Guaranteed Rate Field are the only MLB ballparks that do not have individual ground rules above the universal set.[1]

Examples of ground rules that have been or are still in major league ballparks include:[citation needed]

Movement of retractable roofs

These ground rules only apply at ballparks featuring retractable roofs. As of the 2021 season, these are: Rogers Centre, Chase Field, T-Mobile Park, American Family Field, Minute Maid Park, and LoanDepot Park. Rules governing batted balls striking the roof are defined in each individual ballpark's ground rules.


  • The decision as to whether a game begins with the roof open or closed rests solely with the home club.
  • If the game begins with the roof open:
    • It shall be closed only in the event of impending rain or other adverse weather conditions. The decision to close the roof shall be made by the home club, after consultation with the Umpire Crew Chief.
    • The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the closing of the roof if it feels that a competitive imbalance will arise. In such an event, the Umpire Crew Chief shall make a final decision based on the merits of the challenge.


All ballpark-specific retractable roof ground rules concern opening of the roof after a game has started.

If the game starts with the roof closed:

  • American Family Field, Chase Field, Minute Maid Park, & T-Mobile Park permit its opening during the game if weather conditions warrant, as long as the following procedure is followed:[1]
    • The roof may be opened only once during the game.
    • The Umpire Crew Chief will be notified at the beginning of the inning that the roof will be opened at the inning's end.
    • The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the opening of the roof. In such an event, the Umpire Crew Chief shall make a final decision based on the merits of the challenge.
    • The opening of the roof shall only begin between innings.
  • Chase Field requires that the roof is opened in two sets of 2-minute-and-15-second intervals, at the conclusion of one inning and the conclusion of the following inning.[1]

If the game starts with the roof open and it is closed during the game:


  1. ^ a b c d e "Umpires: Ground Rules". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Wrigley Field Information – Facts & Ground Rules". Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 6 November 2023, at 09:41
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