Umpire Procedures for Handling an Altercation or Brawl
When a physical altercation between two players starts, the closest umpire should immediately attempt to handle the situation. If the altercation evolves into a brawl between players of opposing teams all umpires must become involved. These rules come into effect:
Rule 13.3 Physical Contact with an Umpire or Opponent
Rule 13.4 Leaving Team Area to Join a Brawl
All Umpires’ Responsibilities
Altercations are very volatile situations that require crewness, presence and awareness to resolve the conflict in an orderly and timely manner. Each umpire has responsibilities during an altercation, whether in a 2 or 3 umpire system.
• The umpire closest to the altercation is generally responsible for the players within the altercation area, both offensive and defensive players.
• The other umpire(s) are responsible for the action of the team members in the team areas (that is the dugouts and bullpens) and coaches’ boxes.
• Umpires should never physically break up an altercation and should never touch a player or coach.
The altercation umpire:
a. Order the participants to STOP in an authoritative voice multiple times
b. Summon the coaches to assist in restoring order;
c. Step back and record the number of the players involved in the altercation and the number of the defensive players that leave the vicinity of their area.
The remaining umpire(s) need to control the respective team areas and coaches boxes closest to the umpire or in some cases both team areas. It is critical the umpires communicate which team area they will be responsible for.
The remaining umpire(s)
Other umpires need to control the respective team areas and coaches’ boxes closest to the umpire, or in some cases both team areas (2-umpire system). In a 3-umpire system if an umpire has chased, he or she should hustle back to the infield area and handle the dugout and coach’s box which the other base umpire has not yet covered. It is critical the umpires communicate for which team area they will be responsible.
If the altercations becomes a brawl
a. Use an authoritative voice to keep all players in the team areas;
b. Be aware that coaches may leave a team area or coach’s box to prevent his or her players from joining a brawl
c. Request remaining coaches to assist in keeping players in the team areas;
d. Step back and record the number of any players that leave the team areas.
e. Assist the altercation umpire by watching for any defensive players who join the brawl, and any offensive players who leave the vicinity of their bases to join the brawl.
Keep in mind that for as long as the altercation continues the umpires should be:
• Continually ordering the participants to stop or stay away
• Asking/demanding the coaches to assist with restoring order
• Clearly note if a coach is joining the brawl instead of preventing his or her players from joining the brawl
After the altercation or brawl has stopped
After the altercation has been resolved, all umpires need to get together and agree on the action required, This includes:
• Identifying the players who will be ejected for the start of the altercation
• Identifying all players who left their team areas, defensive position, or bases to join the brawl
• Identifying any other team personnel (e.g. coaches, trainers) who will be ejected for leaving their team areas to join the brawl
With respect to altercations and subsequent ejections, there are certain exceptions of which the umpires need to be aware:
a. Rule 13.3:
i. A coach or player involved in a fight who was defending himself/herself and not contributing to the fight shall not be ejected or suspended.
ii. If a coach or player makes physical contact with an opponent with an obvious attempt to prevent a fight or confrontation, he/she shall not be ejected or suspended.
b. Rule 13.4:
i. If a coach leaves a team area (that is, a dugout, bullpen) or coach’s box to prevent his or her own players from joining a brawl or potential fight, Rule 13.4 shall not apply.