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    If you work only under professional rules, you can move on to the Baseball Rules Course. Best of luck, and thanks for participating! If you work (or aspire to work) amateur baseball, please read on.

    For those studying to work under amateur baseball rules only:

    If you are new to umpiring you will be shocked to learn of the hundreds of rule differences between the various levels of play. In fact, if you end up working several levels of play, say Little League, high school, and college baseball, mastering the rule differences will become a daunting challenge. Not to worry! The Jaksa/Roder Baseball Rules Course is built upon a very important fundamental:

    To truly master baseball's rules, you must first master the professional interpretations. Only then can you effectively learn the hundreds of differences found on the amateur level.

    In my eight years of classroom instruction at Brinkman's umpire school I was astounded by how quickly novice umpires seemed to grasp the rules, while many "experienced" umpires floundered. One of the most important things I ever learned from Joe Brinkman was when he solved this classroom mystery for me. He told me, "The professional rules are the closest to the heart of true baseball concepts. They are fundamental. If you don't start with the fundamentals, you can't learn all the variations." What a revelation to me! This revelation was driven home when I incorporated the amateur rule differences into the Jaksa/Roder manual last year. Many of the amateur rule differences have veered so far from basic baseball philosophy that they have become unrecognizable.

    In the Baseball Rules Course you will begin with the professional interpretations and then move on to the amateur rule differences. The questions on amateur rule differences are identified as such:

    • High school (NFHS) rule differences are numbered as such: HS1.
    • NCAA and NAIA rule differences are numbered similarly: NC1 (NCAA) and NA1 (NAIA).

    All of the amateur rule difference questions are located in the Intermediate range.

    There are many vaguely or poorly worded rules in the amateur rule codes with interpretations that, in the end, are no different than the professional interpretations. I have weeded those out for you. What you are left with are the rule differences that matter. These differences are put into language that you can understand, consistent with the carefully worded Jaksa/Roder manual. I believe you will find this system to be remarkably simple and invaluable as a learning tool. It is certainly the only system of its kind in existence.

    Here is one valuable option you may wish to add to your Baseball Rules Course. Purchase a copy of Baseball Rule Differences by Carl Childress and keep it handy during the course of your study. When you run across a rule that you are having trouble with you can use the "BRD" as a supplemental reference. Finding what you need is easy. Just locate the professional, NFHS,1 NCAA, or NAIA rule number from the Jaksa/Roder manual and write it down. Then go to the "Citation Index" in the back of the BRD. Find the rule number and you will be directed to all mentions of the rule in the BRD. The BRD can also supply you with scores of play and situation examples that help provide a clear picture of the amateur rule differences. I would highly recommend adding this aspect to your course of study.

    A word of warning: amateur rules change often, and the changes are often drastic. To stay current, you will want to note the yearly update information that can be found at A new BRD is published each year, so you will want to make sure you have the most recent edition. You will want to collect all relevant amateur rulebooks, casebooks, and any supplementary materials you can find. Each amateur organization, and not any Jaksa/Roder publication, is ultimately responsible for its own interpretations. We have simply tried to make the wording easier to facilitate correct rulings on the field.

    In closing, I'd like to press a point. Even if you never have and never will work any games under professional rules, if you truly want to master the rules of any level you must familiarize yourself with the professional aspect of the rules. It is no different than curing the leaf by treating the stem. And you have hired me to take care of the roots!

    1NFHS references include rulebook numbers (e.g., NFHS 6-9-4) and casebook numbers (e.g., NFHS 6.9.4). The rulebook numbers use hyphens and the casebook numbers use dots.

    Read the Introduction to the Baseball Rules Course

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    © 2002 Rick Roder