Baseball Appeal Rules

In baseball, the umpires are responsible for making the calls in a game as they pertain to the rulebook. But sometimes, they make mistakes. Managers and players can make an appeal to the umpire if they believe the call was incorrect. Keep reading to learn how appeals work in baseball.

Baseball Appeals

In baseball, the fielding team can alert the umpires to an infraction by the batting team with an appeal play. Appeals made about an appeal play are not the same as a manager’s request for an instant-replay review. Any defensive player currently in the game is permitted to make an appeal. If the umpires determine the appeal is correct, the batting team is punished for the infraction. Typically, the runner is called out or the run is discounted.

Baseball Appeal Plays

An appeal can be requested by the fielding team to bring attention to a member of the batting team breaking a rule that the umpire failed to see. Common appeal plays include the following:

  • The offensive team bats out of order
  • A base runner did not properly tag up after a fly ball was caught
  • A base runner did not touch the bases in order or missed a base while running
  • A base runner did not immediately return to first base after overrunning or oversliding
  • The batter’s checked swing (only appealable by the catcher or team manager)

Some less common appeal plays include:

Appeal PlayOutcome
On an overthrow to first base, the runner is awarded second base but fails to touch first base.The runner is called out.
A run is scored during the play that the appeal is being requested for.The run is discounted.
A base runner fails to tag up on a fly ball. The defense requests an appeal.The runner is called out.
The runner fails to touch home base when scoring a run, and the fielder tags the base.The runner is out on appeal.
Two runners reach home plate at nearly the same time, and the first runner doesn’t touch the plate.The second runner's run will not count.
A batter bats out of order in the lineup, and an appeal is made.The batter will be called out and any score or advance will be discounted.
An improper batter bats in the lineup and the defense forgets to request an appeal before the next pitch is made.No penalty is assessed.

Requesting an Appeal

An appeal must be made before the next pitch and play or before the defense has left the field at the end of a half-inning. Defensive teams can make appeals either verbally or by making an action that clearly shows they would like to appeal, usually by pointing at a location where a rule was broken. Teams can not make multiple appeals in a row on the runner at the same base.

Baseball Appeal Rules Summary

  • The fielding team is allowed to alert the umpires to unnoticed infractions by the batting team with appeal plays.
  • Any defensive player currently in the game can make an appeal.
  • Only certain batting order and baserunning infractions are allowed to be appealed.
  • If the appeal is granted, the batting team is punished for the infraction.
  • Typical penalties are the runner being called out or a run being discounted.
  • Appeals must be made before the next pitch or play by making a clear visual or verbal signal.


What is the MLB appeal rule?

The MLB appeal rule allows the fielders to alert umpires to unnoticed batting order or base running infractions by the batting team. If the appeal is granted, the batting team is penalized for the infraction. Appeals must be made before the next pitch or play. An appeal can be made by any defensive player in the game and is not the same as a manager challenge.

Can you challenge a balk in the MLB?

According to the MLB rules, a balk technically counts as a play, and therefore, it cannot be appealed. The reason why balks cannot be appealed is because they violate the requirement that the ball be live when an appeal is made. Because a balk instantly renders the ball dead, it is not appealable by the defense.