INTERPRETATIONS, PLAY SITUATIONS & RULINGS

 INTERFERENCE 

Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat, which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play on a batted or thrown ball.

Runner Hit By A Fair Batted Ball In Foul Territory

With no one out and a base-runner leading off, a batted ball strikes third base and the runner standing in foul territory.  What is the ruling?

Ruling:  The ball remains in play.  It is a fair ball because it struck the bag and the runner is not out because the ball struck him/her in foul territory.  (2.00 - Fair Ball & 7.08 (f))

Catcher’s Throw Accidentally Hits The Bat

With a left-handed batter at the plate, the catcher unintentionally strikes the batter’s bat on a throw to second base attempting to catch a base-stealer.  Should the batter be penalized for interference?

Ruling:  No, the ball remains in play and runners may advance at their own risk.  The batter is out only if, in the umpire’s judgment, the batter steps out of the box or makes some other movement to hinder the catcher.  (6.06 (c))

Runner Allows A Batted Ball To Hit Him

With bases loaded and one out, the batter grounds towards the shortstop.  It looks like a double play until the runner, coming from second, deliberately stops and allows the ball to hit/her him.  What is the call?

Ruling:  The runner is guilty of two violations.  He/she is out for being hit by a fair-batted ball and for preventing the fielder from making a double play.  The umpire should also call out the batter runner.  The two outs retire the side and no runs score.  (7.09 (g))

Batter Interferes As The Runner Steals

With one out, a runner tries to steal second.  The batter swings and misses and in doing so interferes with the catcher whose throw to second is too late to catch the runner.  Who is out on the interference call?

Ruling:  The batter is out and the runner returns to first base.  (6.06 (c))

Fielder Kicks A Grounder And Is Bumped By The Batter-Runner

A ground ball is kicked by the first baseman and rolls into foul territory.  The fielder, stepping across the base line to retrieve the ball, collides with the batter-runner who reaches base safely.  Does this constitute interference?

Ruling:  No, the fielder had a chance to field the ball before the contact was made.  (7.08(b))

A Manager May Accept Or Decline A Penalty

A runner is on third with one out and the score tied.  As the batter swings, the catcher tips his/her bat and the batted ball is caught in deep centerfield.  After the catch the run scores, the defensive team claims interference, nullifying the sacrifice fly.  Should this claim be permitted?

Ruling:  No, when a play follows defensive interference, the manager of the team at bat may either take the penalty or accept the play.  The manager may take the go-ahead run and ignore the interference.  (6.08(c))

FOUL-TIP

 A foul tip is a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hand or glove and is Legally Caught.  It is not a foul tip unless caught and a foul tip that is caught is a strike and the ball is in play.  It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or the catcher’s hand.  A foul tip can only be caught by the catcher.  (2.00 A Foul Tip & In Flight)

Remember, if the ball is not caught, it is not a foul tip, just a foul ball.  In which of the following situations is the ball legally caught by the catcher?  With a runner on first base, the batter swings and the ball goes:

a.   directly from the bat into the catcher’s glove.

Ruling:  It is a legally caught ball by the catcher.  The ball is alive and in play and the runner(s) may advance at his/her own risk.

b.   from the bat to the catcher’s mask and is caught by the catcher on the rebound.

Ruling:  It is a foul ball.  This is not a legal catch because the ball did not first touch the catcher’s hand or glove.  The ball is dead and the runner(s) must return to his/her original base.

c.   from the bat, touches the catcher’s hand and bounces off the chest protector or mask, then is caught.

Ruling:  It is legally caught ball by the catcher.  The ball is alive and in play and the runner(s) may advance at his/her own risk.

d.   from the bat and hits the catcher in the chest protector then is caught.

Ruling:  It is a foul ball.  This is not a legal catch because the ball did not first touch the catcher’s hand or glove.  The ball is dead and the runner(s) must return to his/her original base.

e.   from the bat, hits the catcher’s glove then rebounds off the umpire’s mask or chest protector, then is caught.

Ruling:  It is not a legal catch.  Once the ball hit the umpire, it is just like the ball hitting the ground.  The ball is dead and the runner(s) must return to his/her original base.

DEFENSIVE INTERFERENCE

Defensive Interference is any act by a fielder, which hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch.  This often occurs when the catcher tips the bat with their mitt.  Another type of interference by the defense is obstruction, the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding a batted ball, impedes the progress of a runner.

Fielder Without The Ball Must Avoid The Runner

With a base runner on first base, the batter gets a hit.  As the base runner rounds second, the shortstop jumps in his/her path, forcing the runner to go around.  The umpire promptly calls obstruction.  When the play ends, should the umpire wave the runner from third to home and the batter-runner from second to third?

Ruling:  Yes, if in the umpire’s judgment the base runner could have scored and the batter-runner would have reached third if the obstruction had not occurred.  (7.06 (b))

The Catcher, Without The Ball, Blocks The Plate

The base runner attempts to score on a throw from the outfield.  Sliding into the plate, the runner runs into the catcher as the ball bounces past them.  Before the runner can become disentangled, the pitcher retrieves the ball and tags the runner before he/she can touch the plate.  Is this permitted?

Ruling:  Obstruction should be called on the catcher for blocking the runner while not in the possession of the ball.  The run scores and the ball is dead.  (7.06 (a))

A Runner, Trapped Off Third, Is Obstructed

A batter misses the pitch and the runner at third is trapped off the base.  In the run-down, the runner attempts to return to third when the third-baseman knocks him/her down before catching the ball and making the tag.  The umpire calls obstruction but where is the runner placed?

Ruling:  Although the runner was heading to third base, he/she is permitted to score because an obstructed runner is awarded at least one base beyond the base he/she last legally attained.  (7.06 (a))

 

AWARDING BASES TO RUNNERS AFTER THE BALL

HAS GONE INTO A DEAD BALL AREA

 One of the most misunderstood rules is the awarding of bases after the ball has gone into a dead ball area.  When awarding bases to runners, there are three principles upon which to base your ruling.

The Basic Three Rules

1.   When the pitcher is standing on the pitcher’s plate and throws the ball into dead ball area, award each runner one base.

2.   When a fielder throws a ball into a dead ball area, award each runner two bases from the position the runner(s) were at the time the ball was thrown, not at the time it goes into the dead ball area.

3.   When a wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, when awarding bases, shall be governed by the position of the runner(s) at the time the ball was pitched.  If there is an intervening play before the first throw, such as a tag play, then rule two bases from the time of the throw, just as in Rule 2 above.

Exception To Rule #3

There is one exception to Rule #3.  If all runners, including the batter-runner, have reached their next base before the infielder throws the ball, then it is again two bases from the time of the throw, just as in Rule #2.  Remember, there are no cases when the award is given at the time the ball goes into dead ball area.  It is either based on the time the ball is released or the time of the pitch.  (Rule #3)

1.   In Senior League, runners are on first and third.  The pitcher goes into a set position.  The pitcher tries to pick off the runner at first, but throws the ball into the dugout (dead ball area).

Ruling:  Award each runner one base.  The runner on first goes to second and the runner on third scores.  (Rule #1)

2.   In Senior League, runners are on first and third.  The pitcher goes into a set position.  The pitcher then steps back off the pitcher’s plate and throws the ball into the dugout (dead ball area).

Ruling:  The runner from first goes to third and the runner from third scores.  Once the pitcher steps back off the pitcher’s plate, he/she is considered an infielder and it is now two bases from the time of the throw.  (Rule #2)

3.   There are no outs with a runner on second base.  A ground ball is hit to the shortstop, but the runner stays on his/her base.  The shortstop then throws the ball over the first baseman’s head into dead ball area.

Ruling:  The batter-runner advances to second, while the runner originally on second base is given home.  On the first throw by an infielder the runners are given two bases from the time of the pitch.  (Rule #3)

4.   There are no runners on base.  A ground ball is hit to the shortstop, who bobbles the ball.  After the batter-runner reaches first base, the shortstop throws the ball to first, but it goes into dead ball area.

Ruling:  Award the batter-runner third base because first base had been reached before the shortstop had thrown the ball.  (This the exception to Rule #3.)

5.   There are no runners on base.  The batter hits a single to right field and makes the turn toward second base then gets caught in a run down.  As the runner is trying to return to first, the second baseman throws the ball over the first baseman’s head into dead ball area.

Ruling:  Award the runner third base.  (Rule #2)

6.   A runner is on first with one out.  The batter hits a line drive to the third baseman, which is caught.  The third baseman tries to double up the runner from first base who left that base immediately after the ball was hit.  Throw is wild and goes into the dugout (dead ball area).

Ruling:  The runner should be given third base because he/she already had first and must be given two from that point.  (Rule #3)

7.   Runners are on first and third bases.  The batter has a 3-ball and 1-strike count.  The next pitch is called a ball and gets past the catcher and goes through the backstop (dead ball area).

Ruling:  The batter goes to first because of ball four.  The runner on first goes to second and the runner on third goes home.  The runners get one base on the throw from the pitcher’s plate.  (Rule #1)

8.   Runners are on second and third bases.  A batter has a 2-ball and 0-strike count.  The next pitch gets past the catcher, lodging in the screen of the backstop.

Ruling:  The ball is dead and each runner is awarded one base.  (Rule #1)

9.   A runner is on first base.  The ball is pitched and the catcher, seeing the runner off the bag, throws the ball to the first baseman in an attempt to pick off the runner.  The ball bounces off the first baseman’s glove and then goes into the dugout (dead ball area).

Ruling:  The runner should be awarded third base.  (Rule #2)