2020 Umpiring Memo #1

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts

FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit

RE: 2020 Umpiring Memo #1

I would like to welcome everyone to the start of the 2020 CIF Baseball Season. It has been my pleasure to back in my instructional and supervisory role again with our umpiring staff as well as being of service to our member institutions. I would also like to give a warm welcome to our new administrators and head coaches for the 2020 season as these bulletins establish a line of communication between all of us. We are about two months away from the first pitch being thrown and we have some important updates for the regular season.

The Designated Hitter (3-1-4b):There is now a 3rd lineup option a team may have offensively. A player may now hold two positions in a lineup, that of a position in the field as well as that of the designated hitter (i.e. P/DH, 2B/DH, RF/DH, etc.). This new provision is often referred to as a “9-man Lineup w/DH” and a team may allow the defensive player/designated hitter to remain in the game as the DH if he is replaced defensively while now moving to a 10-man lineup.

Where this change becomes important deals with when the DH is banged during the course of a game. If a team begins the game with a “9-man Lineup w/DH,” they will lose the DH when the following occurs:

  • A substitute or former substitute for the defensive role subsequently participates in an offensive role.
  • The starting defensive player/DH is substituted for either as a hitter or runner.

Below are a few situations that illustrate this change and usage.

    • Team A lists Hampton as a P/DH in the 5 spot in the lineup. In the 6th inning, Jimenez replaces Hampton as the pitcher.
      • Ruling: Legal and no loss of the DH. Team A continues as they have gone from a 9-man lineup w/DH to a 10-man Lineup.
    • Team A lists Hampton as a P/DH in the 5 spot in the lineup. In the 6th inning, Pierre bats for Hampton.
      • Ruling: Legal, but Team A has terminated the DH because Pierre participated in an offensive role. However, Hampton may still re-enter in that position.
    • Team A lists Andrews as a CF/DH in the 1 spot of the lineup. In the 4th inning, Richardson substitutes as the center fielder.
      • Ruling: Legal. The role of a defensive player has been substituted. No Loss of DH and Team A is now in a 10-man lineup.
    • Team A lists Andrews as a CF/DH in the 1 spot of the lineup. In the 4th inning, Richardson substitutes as the center fielder. In the 7th inning, Andrews re-enters defensively in centerfield.
      • Ruling: Legal. Andrews is entitled to one re-entry on defense since he was a starter. The DH remains intact because Richardson never participated in an offensive role. Team A started with a 9-man lineup w/DH, moved to a 10-man lineup and compressed back to a 9-man lineup w/DH.
    • Team A lists Andrews as a CF/DH in the 1 spot of the lineup. In the 4th inning, Richardson substitutes as the center fielder and later comes to bat in the 5th inning.
      • Ruling: Team A has terminated its use of the DH because Richardson has participated in an offensive role. Andrews may still re-enter in that spot since he was a starter.
  • Keep in mind, that a team may still begin the game with a 10-man lineup or a 9-man lineup without a DH. All prior rules in 3-1-4a still apply only if a team begins the game with a 10-man lineup.

Lodged Balls in a Fielders Glove (8-3-3c):A fair-batted ball that lodges in a fielder glove is now an exception to 8-3-3c and no longer carries a two-base award from time of pitch. An example of this play now being legal is the infamous Jon Lester toss of the glove to first base several years ago.

Fielders Warming Up as a Pitcher During a Charged Conference (3-4-1):A team cannot have a fielder, who is in the game, throw a baseball for the purpose of warming up as a pitcher during a defensive conference or a pitching change. If the team desires to warm up a player in the game to prepare him to pitch, it would need to take him out of the game to warm up and then later re-enter him under the substitution rule.

Coaches at The Mound During Pitching Changes (3-4-1):There will be no charged conference if a head coach or non-playing representative stays at the mound while a substitute pitcher is warming up following a pitching change. We will not charge this team with a defensive conference provided that the coach has left when the new pitcher has completed his warmup pitches and has not delayed the game.

Coaches/Administrative Evaluation Form: This year, I am developing a more user-friendly coaches evaluation form. If you would like access to this, please reach out to me and I can forward you the link to it. Your feedback helps in our training, observation and development of our umpiring staff.

I will be making my rounds to various institutions this off-season. If by chance you would like me to speak to your teams, coaching staffs or administration, please reach out to me at the below address and I will be glad to be of service to you.

Best Regards,

Chris Maher

Instructional Chairman,


Regional Camps/Clinics

Regional Offseason Camps/Clinics

Black and Blue Umpire Camps (Sacramento and Riverside)


3-man Camp in Sacramento, CA (September 25-29)

2-man Camp in Sacramento, CA (October 2-6)

Advanced 3-man Camp in Riverside, CA (October 16-20)

*Please consult website for pricing and availability

Jim Evans California Classic (San Diego)

Clinic Listings

Classic Curriculum October 20-26
Classic + Advanced Course October 20-30
Advanced Course Only October 28-30

Tuition Options:
CA Classic (6½ Days) / $595 / Discounted Early Enrollment $525
CA Classic + Advanced Course (9½ Days) / $850 / Discounted Early Enrollment $750
Advanced Course (3 Days) / $450 / Discounted Early Enrollment $400

Western State Umpire Clinic (Las Vegas)


October 24-October 27

$325 if paid before September 1

$375 if paid after

CBUA Regional Camps (TBA)

Instructional Memo #8

Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #8

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: Instructional Memo #8

The 2018-2019 school year was the first of a new “re-leaguing” cycle. These cycles last four years where certain schools are placed into athletic leagues based on factors such as geography, school district, enrollment, competitive equity and school profile during that time period. Schools are able to petition for re-alignment for the upcoming cycle and it is heard by the CIF-SS Executive Council. Not every school is affected by these changes and not every school is granted their request, however others saw significant changes starting with this season. New league rivalries were created, some ended and others reunited. Two of our league races that are coming down to this final week deal with teams who were in previous leagues in 2018. It goes without saying the amount of emotion that will be exhibited.

Malicious Contact Supersedes Obstruction: In a recent game, video showed a baserunner initiating a flagrant collision at home plate while a catcher was blocking home plate. This play was incorrectly ruled and also incorrectly explained to the coach that the collision was legal because the catcher was blocking home plate. This is a play we cannot miss and continue working on your positioning on plays at the plate. Please visit rule 8-4-2e-1 and remember that a ruling of malicious contact takes precedence over obstruction, the offending runner is out and ejected from the ballgame. All other runners will be awarded appropriate base(s).

Pitching Positions: This year we’ve been consistently better in our enforcement of pitching positions. That is not to say everyone has been clean of such violations, but we are handling our business much better in this department. Continue to detect any violations early (including warmups). The penalty with no runners on base is an illegal pitch (ball on the batter) and with runners on base, it is a balk.

Pitch Dropped During a Delivery that Fails to Cross the Foul Line (6-1-4): With no runners on base, a pitch that fails to cross the foul line will be ruled as “no pitch” according to the State Rules Interpreter.

Substitution (3-1-1a-d): A substitute has entered the game when the ball is live and:
– A runner takes the place of the runner he has replaced
– A pitcher takes his place on the pitcher’s plate
– A fielder reaches the position usually occupied by the fielder he has replaced.
– a batter takes his place in the batter’s box.

In a situation where the starting pitcher does not face one batter, he may play another position, but not return to pitch.

Calling “Time”: When granting “time”, we need to make sure we are signaling it if we are also vocalizing it. We should also be signaling “time” when a partner(s) signals “time” during a game. This is a preventative mechanic and when it is not used is the time that chaos erupts.

Mechanical Enforcement of Catcher’s Obstruction: When catcher’s obstruction is acknowledged by rule (BR has not reached first base or all runners have not advanced one base), we are to enforce the catcher’s obstruction penalty first. If the head coach would like to take the result of play instead of the catcher’s obstruction enforcement, we will then enforce accordingly. The reason behind this mechanic is that the head coach has to have the opportunity to make the election of which option to take and it is not up to us to make that decision for him in the event there are options.

I would like to thank everyone for a great 2019 regular season. We made a lot of improvements as a group this season and the best part is that we are still continuing our efforts to get better. The game is going to be in a better place going forward if we continue to improve our craft. Many of you have worked extremely hard to get better every game and it is showing in your work. The offseason will be full of opportunities for improvement with various camps/clinics/umpire schools to help hone your skills. For those of you looking to improve your standing with group and/or advancement, I strong encourage you to attend one. If you are interested in attending one of these camps, please contact me and I can help direct you. I will also be developing a list of all opportunities on my instructional webpage http://www.strongbeachumpiring.com

Congratulations on a great season and good luck to those working the postseason at any level.

Best Regards,
Chris Maher
Instructional Chairman
(714) 292-6345

Instructional Memo #7

Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #7

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts

FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit

RE: Instructional Memo #7

A common term heard in the officiating community is the idea of “Moving Up.” It has different meanings from working a better quality of schedule, advancing into the postseason, working a CIF Championship as well as aspirations of working collegiate and/or professional sports. Many officials believe they have the answer or solution to their needs and know what one has to do to advance in their careers. The reality is that there is no magical process that everyone goes through to ensure this kind of success and not everyone goes down the same road to get to the same goal. Regardless of what each person’s goal is, there is one truth in this avocation: “Being Great at the Level You Are Working At.” Today’s game is the most important game one is working in their career whether its a youth game, high school game or collegiate game and we owe it to all the participants to be our best every time we are out on the field. We also owe it to ourselves to do our best each game and when we don’t do that, we also stunt our own growth as officials and as human beings. It is one of the things that we have control over in our own development. In other umpiring news….

  • Ejections: An alarming number of our ejection reports have dealt with abusive language. Most of these offenses have been committed by players and include derogatory, direct and/or prolonged statements directed at an opponent or an umpire. In many cases, umpires have either immediately ejected serious offenders or issued a warning to the offending team when necessary prior to an eventual ejection. Other cases involve umpires not recognizing situations quick enough and either administering an unnecessary ejection or escalating the situation by doing absolutely nothing. Let’s do our part in taking charge of the situation early so it does linger throughout the game.
  • Sportsmanship: Following up on the previous section, we need to understand that players and coaches are competitors and there has to be an expectation of showing emotion on the field. Choice language is going to slip and we must be aware of when that occurs. The problem is when it continues to be an issue or it turns derogatory or personal. There is a fine line that as we have mentioned before and please exercise sound judgment when taking the appropriate course of action. 
  • Games Involving non-CIF Southern Section Schools: A reminder that any contest played at a CIF-SS institution falls under the jurisdiction of the CIF-Southern Section. Please remember the guidelines in effect (i.e. coaches wearing helmets, NFHS playing rules, lower-level time limits, etc.) especially when a contest is involving a team from another section or state.
  • Passing of a Preceding Runner (8-4-2m): a runner is out when he passes an unobstructed preceding runner by rule. The interpretation of “passing” the runner is that there must be daylight between the trail runner and the runner that he passes. If such passing occurs, the trail runner is out and the ball remains live. When in question, there was no passing of the runner(s). 
  • Intentional Dropping of a Fair Batted Ball or Bunt (5-1-1j, 8-4-1c,1): When at least first base is occupied and there are less than two outs, an infielder may not intentionally drop a fair batted ball (fair fly or line drive) or fair bunt in flight. The ball becomes dead, the Batter-Runner is out and all runners return to their respective bases. Please note, that the batter is not out if the ball is permitted to drop untouched to the ground even if the above conditions are met. This rule does not apply in a situation when the infield fly rule in effect (2-19)
  • Mechanics: With runners on 2nd and 3rd , 2nd only and 3rd only in the 2-Umpire system, the base umpire is to position himself in the “C” position (halfway between the mound and 2nd base on the 3rd base side of the mound) regardless of the number of outs. We are noticing times where officials are reverting back to a previous mechanic such as this one. Our veteran officials need to do a better job of being a proper example to our younger officials and position themselves in the correct location.
  • Having a Rapport with the Catcher: Understanding the relationship that the plate umpire and the catcher have is critical in regards to game flow. As umpires, it is only as good as we allow it to be. Communicating information early and often with them is a good way to keep them engaged as well as giving positive feedback when necessary. It’s a working relationship during the course of a ball game and we want to do our part in ensuring this. Remember what we have talked about all year that we should not be waiting until we need something to begin communicating or when something bad happens to initiate that process. 

Preparation is vital in anyone’s success in the world. Please make sure we arrive early to our games and have all equipment available at all times. Do not be the one that relies on his partner for not having the appropriate attire or asks his partner to do something because he doesn’t have his equipment. Let’s finish this final 1/3 of the year on a stronger note.

Chris Maher

Instructional Chairman

(714) 292-6345



Instructional Memo #6

Long Beach Unit Baseball Memo #6

TO: Officials, Coaches, Administrators, Observation Team, Contacts
FROM: Chris Maher, Instructional Chairman, Long Beach Unit
RE: Instructional Memo #6

The 21st century has afforded people a multitude of opportunities to enhance their learning. There are magazines, online forums, podcasts, ebooks and videos for all at their leisure. Most people probably have a go-to source for learning based on their occupation and/or interests that stimulates the brain and provides possibly a fun new way of thinking. Most of our baseball umpires (and also for those who officiate other sports) subscribe to Referee Magazine which has an array of articles, quizzes, video and other learning tools that are dedicated to the officiating avocation. Several years ago, a study into various forms of officiating showed that an official makes anywhere between 200-300 judgments during the course of a ballgame. These judgments go beyond ball, strike, safe, out and even fair or foul. 90% of these judgments are routine and can be umpired without a problem generally, however the remaining 10% of plays require some serious thinking, judgment and communication skills. The reality is that this game is only as challenging as we make it. Mastering the basics is critical to ensuring our proficiency and will also allow us to be in position to adjudicate unusual or non-routine plays. A few thoughts as we approach the halfway point in the regular season.

The Head Coach: A team’s head coach must attend the pregame conference (plate meeting) if available (3-2-4). There are circumstances where that may not be possible such as that head coach tending to an injured/ill player, being stuck in traffic, being in the bullpen with the starting pitcher or providing field maintenance (CB 3.2.4 A and C). Let’s use our logical senses and understand when these situations may arise with our staffs where it may be necessary for another coach to be at the plate meeting. This is rule is also not an opportunity for a head coach to refuse to attend the plate meeting (CB 3.2.4 B).

Defensive Charged Conferences: A charged defensive conference ends when a coach or non-playing representative crosses the foul line if this conference was in fair territory (3-4-3). If the conference was in foul territory, the conference ends when the non-playing representative initially starts to return to the dugout/bench area (3-4-3).To illustrate this rule, here are two situations (both happened in games within the last week).

Situation 1: Team B’s head coach visits his starting pitcher in the bottom of the 1st inning and during the conference, a request is made to add Turface, Diamond Dry or other field maintenance product. That head coach never leaves the vicinity of the pitcher’s mound and continues to talk to his pitcher after the mound is taken care of. RULING: Only one conference is charged because the initial conference had never ended by rule.

Situation 2: Team B’s pitching coach visits the starting pitcher in the Top of the 3rd and after conferring with him, returns towards the dugout. After crossing the foul line, the pitching coach turns around and goes back to the mound to talk with the pitcher again. RULING. Team B is charged with two (2) conferences because the first conference had ended when the pitching coach crossed the foul line.

If the number of charged conferences have been used ( or the one conference in each extra inning) and subsequent defensive conferences occur, then the pitcher shall be removed as pitcher for the duration of the game (3-4-1 PEN).

Illegal Bats: A bat that becomes illegal through play (broken, cracked or dented as a result of a batted ball, but was otherwise legal prior to the at-bat) should be removed without penalty in accordance with Rule 1-3-5. Please give that bat to an administrator if possible and have it removed from the game for further usage. If a player enters the batters box later in the game with the same illegal bat, the batter is out and the head coach is restricted to the dugout (if 1st offense) (4-1-3b, 7-4-1a, CB 1.3.5 B)

Lower-Level Time Limit Interpretation: In sub-varsity/lower level contests (JV,F, F/S, etc.), a 2 1/2 hour time limit is in effect. Per the CIF-SS office, No new inning may start following that time period with the exception being the game is tied and the game has the ability to continue (i.e. darkness is not an issue, weather is not an issue, field fitness, etc.)

Strike Zone: Having a proper interpretation of the strike zone requires strong fundamentals. Our plate umpire needs to be able to read the catcher’s glove every time that pitch enters the zone. A catcher may make an adjustment on where he sets up and we need to make sure we are doing the same to see how each pitch starts, develops and finishes. We have a number of umpires that are routinely going off the plate calling strikes while others are calling pitches where the catcher’s glove is touching the dirt and it is generally because they are not reading the catcher’s glove hand. Think about your stance and your head height the next time you see yourself on video.

Interaction with Players: One of the best attributes an official can have is the ability to efficiently communicate with players. It is not an easy task as not every player is receptive to all things an umpire might say and we are often concerned about conveying messages in as few words as possible. Some things we can use to help us in this process. Communicating when times are good are ways that we can get the attention of them when they are most likely to understand what we are saying. Waiting until something bad happens or only when we need something is not always going to work with them and in some cases, looks like we are searching for trouble (i.e. “coaching,” being influenced or socializing). Remember there is a fine line between communication and fraternization. Think about where we fit on this scale and when how much is too much.

3-Man Mechanics: There are several games being played this year with 3-umpires and most playoff games will be utilizing the same. In preparation for this, we posted a concepts of the 3-man system a few weeks back for everyone to see on my instructional website www.strongbeachumpiring.com .We understand not everybody will get to work a 3-man game this season, but we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn the system at their leisure. If you would like to observe a game where 3-man mechanics are used, please contact me and I can give you opportunities for you to do so.

We are nearly halfway home this season, are we continuing to show our capability to work at this level? Are we demonstrating the capacity to improve each game? Do we exhibit the character to do what’s right on and off the field?

Good Luck,
Chris Maher
Instructional Chairman
(714) 292-6345