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Universal Ground Rules

The Commissioner's Office has issued the following Universal Ground Rules for use in all Major League ballparks this season. Ground Rules pertaining to individual parks are posted separately in those parks.

  • 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 tarp.
  • Batted or thrown ball lodging in the rotating signage behind home plate or along first base or third base stands is out of play.
    • 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 are treated as part of the railings and are in play.
    • Any recessed railings or poles that are in the dugout and photographers areas are out of play and should be marked with red to mark them out of play.
  • Robotic cameras or audio equipment attached to the facing of the backstop screen are considered part of the screen.
    • A batted ball striking the backstop camera or audio equipment is considered a dead ball.
    • A thrown ball striking the backstop camera or audio equipment 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 tarp is out of play.
  • A ball striking the field tarp 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.

Retractable Roofs and Wall Panels

  • A. Championship Season

    The decision to open or close the roof prior to the start of the game resides with the home Club. Each Club with a retractable roof shall file with the On-Field Operations Department, no later than Opening Day, a list of the criteria it intends to use during the championship season to decide whether to begin a game with its ballpark's roof open or closed. The home Club must inform the umpire crew chief and visiting Club if it intends to move the roof during the game.

    • (1) Closing an Opened Roof

      If the game begins with the roof open, it may be closed only in the event of impending rain or other adverse weather conditions that may affect play or spectator comfort. If the home Club believes such conditions exist, the home Club shall confer with the umpire crew chief, who shall in turn inform the visiting Club. The visiting Club may object, if it feels a competitive imbalance will arise. In that event, the umpire crew chief shall make the final decision.

    • (2) Opening a Closed Roof

      If the game begins with the roof closed, it may be opened if, in the opinion of the home Club, the weather conditions are such that fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by opening the roof. A closed roof may not be opened after the conclusion of the seventh inning.

      Prior to opening the roof, the home Club shall confer with the umpire crew chief, who shall in turn inform the visiting Club. The visiting Club may object, if it feels a competitive imbalance will arise. In that event, the umpire crew chief shall make the final decision.

    • (3) Roof Movement

      The roof may be moved only once during the game (i.e., once closed, it may not be reopened, and once opened, may not be re-closed) unless inclement weather or other adverse weather conditions indicate otherwise. Clubs should be very cautious of opening a closed roof if the possibility of inclement weather exists.

      The movement of the roof must commence at the conclusion of an inning, unless weather conditions are such that the umpire crew chief deems it necessary to close the roof immediately so that play is not interrupted. The movement of the roof shall be continuous and play will not be stopped.

    • (4) Wall Panels (Arizona, Miami and Milwaukee)

      The home Club shall decide whether to open or close the wall panels prior to the start of the game. Once the game begins, the panels shall be treated like the roof, in that they may not be moved without first notifying the umpire crew chief, who shall afford the visiting Club the right to object. The panels may be moved only once during the game, and may be moved only at the conclusion of an inning.

  • B. Post-Season

    For all games in the post-season (Wild Card, DCS, LCS, WS), the Commissioner or his designee shall make all decisions regarding roof/wall panel movement, in consultation with the home Club and the umpire crew chief. The home Club shall provide to the On-Field Operations Department the name of the individual responsible for the movement of the roof/wall panels. The Commissioner or his designee shall take into account the criteria that the home Club uses during the championship season, as reflected in its filing with the On-Field Operations Department.


    • Ballpark Ground Rules

      To explore detailed per stadium imagery and rules, click the image below.

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