10 Baseball Common Penalties Every Fan Should Know

Baseball is a sport that has been around for over a century, and it is one of the most beloved sports in the world. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual observer, it is important to know the rules and penalties associated with the game. This article will discuss ten common baseball penalties that every fan should know.

Illegal pitch

An illegal pitch is when a pitcher does not follow the rules the umpire sets. For example, a pitcher cannot stop their pitching motion once they begin, nor can they make any movements that simulate a pitch without actually releasing the ball. If an illegal pitch is thrown, the umpire will call a ball or strike, depending on the count.


A balk is an illegal pitch in which the pitcher makes a motion to deceive the baserunner. This can include faking a throw to the first base or not stopping during the pitching motion. If a balk is called, all baserunners will advance one base.

Catcher’s interference

Catcher’s interference occurs when the catcher interferes with the batter’s swing or the ball’s path to the plate. If this happens, the batter is awarded first base, and all other baserunners advance one base.

Hitter’s interference

Hitter interference occurs when the batter interferes with the catcher’s attempt to throw out a baserunner. This can happen if the batter obstructs the catcher’s view or blocks their throwing motion. If this happens, the baserunner is awarded the base they attempted to steal, and the batter is called out.

Infield fly rule

The infield fly rule is in place to prevent the defense from intentionally dropping a pop-up with runners on first and second or first, second, and third base. If the umpire declares an infield fly, the batter is automatically called out, and the runners can advance at their own risk.

Batting out of order

If a team bats out of order, the player who should have batted is called out, and the next batter comes up to the plate. If the mistake is discovered after the incorrect batter has completed their turn at bat, any runs scored will be nullified.

Stealing signs

Stealing signs is when a team tries to decode the other team’s signals to determine what pitch is coming. This is not technically illegal, but it is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.


The umpire can eject them from the game if a player or coach behaves inappropriately or breaks the rules. If a player is ejected, they must leave the field immediately and cannot return for the rest of the game.

Delay of game

The umpire can call a penalty if a team intentionally delays the game. This can include things like the pitcher taking too long between pitches or a fielder intentionally delaying the game to prevent a run from scoring.

Unsportsmanlike conduct

Unsportsmanlike conduct can include a wide range of behaviors, including arguing with the umpire, throwing equipment, or using foul language. If a player or coach is deemed to have engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct, they can be ejected from the game.


Knowing the rules and penalties in baseball is crucial for fans of the sport. By understanding the ten common penalties listed above, fans can enjoy the game while being informed about the consequences of certain actions on the field. Whether watching a game in person or on television, familiarity with the rules and penalties can enhance your understanding and enjoyment. So the next time you’re watching a baseball game, keep these penalties in mind and cheer on your favorite team while respecting the game’s rules.

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