Universal Ground Rules
The following Ground Rules are to be uniform across all 30 Major League ballparks. The Ground Rules listed below will not be listed on the individual ballparks Ground Rules, but will be in effect at all ballparks:
- Ball on the top step (lip) of the dugout is in play.
- No equipment is permitted to be left on the top step (lip) of the dugout. If a ball hits equipment left on the top step it is dead.
- A player is not permitted to step or go into a dugout to make a catch.
- A player is permitted to reach into a dugout to make a catch. If a player makes a catch outside the dugout and the player’s momentum carries him into the dugout, then the catch is allowed and the ball is dead. See Rule 5.09(a)(1) Comment.
- A batted ball in flight can be caught between or under railings and around screens.
- A catch may be made on the field tarpaulin.
- A batted or thrown ball lodging in the rotating signage behind home plate or along the first base or third base stands is out of play.
- A batted or thrown ball resting on the rotating signage behind home plate or along first base or third base stands is in play.
- The facings of railings surrounding the dugout and photographers areas are in play.
- Any cameras or microphones permanently attached on railings or along outfield walls are treated as part of the railings or outfield walls and are in play.
- Any recessed railings or poles that are in the dugout and photographer's areas are out of play and should be marked with red to mark them out of play.
- Robotic cameras and audio equipment attached to the facing of the backstop screen are considered part of the screen.
- A batted ball striking the backstop camera is considered a dead ball.
- A thrown ball striking the backstop camera is considered in play.
- A ball striking the guy-wires that support the backstop is a dead ball.
- A ball lodging behind or under canvas on field tarpaulin is out of play.
- A ball striking the field tarpaulin and rebounding onto the playing field is in play.
- No chairs can be brought out of the dugout or bullpen and onto the playing field.
- All yellow lines are in play.
- A live ball (batted thrown or otherwise) striking any screen or protective netting set on the field facing a wall or railing (e.g., a backstop or protective netting along the first or third base lines) and rebounding onto the field is live and in play.
- Any additional screening set behind an out of play area (e.g., dugout, photo or camera well, etc.) shall be considered out of play.
- Thus, any ball striking such screening is dead regardless of whether it ricochets back onto the field of play.
- Unless outlined otherwise in the home park ground rules (i.e., Tampa Bay), a batted ball lodged in the roof above fair territory is considered a dead ball, and all runners (including the batter-runner) will be awarded two bases.
- Any batted ball in fair territory that, in flight, strikes any portion of a higher wall at a point above a lower wall, which then bounds over the lower wall is a home run.
- Any batted ball in fair territory that, in flight, strikes the facing of a lower wall and then bounds over a higher wall is considered a dead ball, and all runners (including the batter-runner) will be awarded two bases.