New Umps Frequently Asked Questions

Does OHYSA have a mandatory slide rule?

No. This is a greatly misunderstood rule. The intent is to prevent a collision between players. The rule adopted beginning in 2020 states:

It is the responsibility of both the base runner and the fielder to avoid collisions at every base. If the fielder covering a base does not have the baseball in their possession they must leave the base runner a clear path to the respective base.  If the fielder covering a base does have the baseball in their possession they may be in the runner’s path and the runner must slide or otherwise avoid contact.  If, in the umpire’s discretion, the fielder or the base runner violates the aforementioned rule the base runner may be called safe or out regardless of the result of the play.  The umpire may issue a warning or eject either the fielder or the base runner.

Does OHYSA allow intentional walks in baseball?

 Yes, in a very limited fashion.

A defensive team may employ one intentional walk per game with no pitches being thrown only to create a force at home plate or third base.

Can I show up right at game time?

 No. Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before game time to make sure you are at the correct field, that your partner (for 2 man crews) is present, and you are prepared to the start the game on time as scheduled.

What is a plate meeting?

The plate meeting should include all umpires and both coaches, and be called 5 minutes prior to game time to go over general rules and cover questions. At a minimum these include:

  • Only Head Coaches can approach the umpire, and only after time is given
  • In 8U, the pitching coach cannont communicate with the player while on the mound
  • No base coach can touch a runner while ball is in play
  • The Head Coach is responsible for the behavior of his team, players, parents and spectators
  • Players should not be wearing jewelry
  • Only approved coaches can be in the dugout or on the field
  • For 10U & older, you can give a general idea of your strike zone
  • Get game balls from home team
  • Teams should exchange lineups and may give you a copy as well
  • Establish who is keeping book for each game (and pitcher's pitch count) and instruct the coaches to have them consult each inning

Keep a quarter or other large coin on hand in the event that you need to have a coin toss (this will only occur in EOS play).

How long do teams have between innings?

 Allow no more than 2 minutes to swap out teams. The defensive team should sent out the pitcher/catcher immediately. Limit the number of warm-up pitches allowed. Delays between innings cut down on actual playing time. We do NOT stop the clock.

Can I use a cell phone on the field?

You can use your cell phone as a clock or game timer. You should not be distracted by using your phone otherwise. This applies to on-field coaches as well.

How do I know who can be on the field or in the dugout?

Each adult on the field or in the dugout MUST have a current year OHYSA badge with photo and name. Beginning in 2024 this badge is digital - approved volunteers should have this available on their mobile device or have a printed copy with them. If any adult on the field or in the dugout or bullpen cannot produce this on request then they need to leave the field. There are no exceptions and no excuses. If they won’t leave find a board member. Stop the game if you have to.

Do I need to have a badge?

Only adult umpires are required to submit a background check in order to have a digital badge for the year. 

Do I have to grant time out to a batter?


If I'm on a 2-man crew, do I have to "get help" if a coach questions my call?

Coaches will do this if they don't like a call. And no, there is no requirement to grant the request. But  when you do keep these basic steps in mind.

Call time prior to the coach approaching you with the request. The umpire responsible for the call/closest to the play addresses the coach. No - it DOESN'T have to be the plate umpire. The two umpire listen to the coach but consult AWAY for the coach and player to discuss what each saw and how best to address the request. Once the decision is made the umpire consulted makes the call (either confirming the original call or reversing the decision).  And that's it. The coach doesn't get to re-consult, badger either umpire or dispute or denigrate the decision.  A warning can be given for any unruly behavior, words or gestures. 

Do I have to say/yell "Fair Ball!" if the ball is fair?

No. This can be a hand gesture only, but it doesn't hurt to make it verbal to prevent any confusion. However, you will likely hear someone say "He didn't make the call," because they are unaware of the fact that a hand gesture is sufficient. 

Do I have to say "ball" and "strike" when I'm plate umpire?

 Yes. You need to make these calls verbally AND with hand signals. Remember that your count is the one that matters, not the count on the scoreboard. 

Do I have to keep score? Can a game end in a tie?

You do need to know the score in the same way you should know what's happening in the game. However it is NOT your primary job responsibility.  Parents and fans will often ask you the score, which can be a distraction. You can answer them at your discretion but not during live play. And yes, absolutely a regulation season game can end in a tie. EOS games may require a winner, in which case that instruction will be provided by the Commissioner prior to the start of the tournament.

For 2 man crew, do I have to know what a pitcher's pitch count is?

No. OHYSA has a pitch count policy to maintain the health of youth pitchers. The coaches should be aware of this and have appointed someone on their coaching staff or in the stands to track each pitchers' count. You don't have to do this. It is not at all part of your job. If a conflict arises between teams due to pitch count call time and have the people for each team consult. If necessary, involve a commissioner or board member on site. 

Is it true I can get free stuff at the concession stand?

Umpires calling games can get a free drink from the concession stand. You need to go to the concession stand yourself. They will not give your mom/dad/sibling/friend a drink to take with you.