Inside Pitch Magazine, Summer 2017

Ground Rules: Baseball Rules Academy

By Chris Welsh
Confusing calls, quirky plays, and surprising twists are all part of the game, something that baseball fans know all too well. But what you might not know so well – the rules of baseball.

I’ve been the Cincinnati Reds TV analyst for 25 years, and have watched many quirky, rules-related plays unfold on the field that have caused broadcasters, writers, fans, and even coaches to reach for the Official Baseball Rules (OBR). This kind of thing happens at every level, and can happen at any time.

But if you’ve ever thumbed through the OBR, you know how convoluted it can seem if you’re not a “rules expert.” I wanted to create an easier way to access and learn the rules of baseball – from Little League to MLB. So I created Baseball Rules Academy, accessible from your smartphone during the game or from your desktop for more in-depth study in the off-season.

We learn in many ways, but simply reading about baseball is never enough. You can memorize the definition of a balk, but what does it look like? And usually, by the time you’re playing, you learn the rules the hard way! That’s where we come in. We offer videos to illustrate the trickiest of rules in short and simple clips with real players and professional umpires.

Start with the search box. Pick a baseball rules term that might confuse you and plug it into our search engine. “Balk,” for example, produces 83 hits – including illustrative videos, relevant blog posts, umpire interpretation language, and special Insider Report case studies written by expert MLB rules consultants.

Here’s an overview of what we offer:

  • One place to search for any baseball rule including MLB, NCAA, NFHS, and Little League
  • Search results include expert case studies and videos
  • Detailed insider reports discuss impacts of rules
  • Earn points on your own personal dashboard
  • Take Academy Courses, lessons, and quizzes on detailed topics (e.g. defensive interference)
  • Hundreds of professional videos with baseball rules experts show how the rule is applied on the field
  • Achievement tests to assess knowledge of various scenarios
  • Track progress over time and against other users
  • Members can earn certification to enhance their credibility as players, coaches, analysts, umpires etc.

Membership Special
We have a robust members-only site which encourages its members to learn more about the rules of baseball. Sign up now for a special spring document at

Designed from Teams
We also offer special features for teams: coaches can sign up their players who can go through the Academy Courses and Achievement Tests to enhance their baseball knowledge.

Get the most out of your talented players by ensuring that they know the rules and how to use them to their advantage in a game.

Follow Us on Twitter @rulesacademy and on Facebook: Baseball Rules Academy

Inside Pitch Magazine is published six times per year by the American Baseball Coaches Association, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt association founded in 1945. Copyright American Baseball Coaches Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without prior written permission. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained herein, it is impossible to make such a guarantee. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writers.