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Discussion: Obstruction, interference, or incidental play?

Posted Discussion
June 13, 2018
OZ40
398 posts
Obstruction, interference, or incidental play?
Batter standing in the box and swings at a pitch resulting in a little pop-up just in front of the batters box, catcher has trouble getting around the batter (who does not move from the box) and cannot play the ball. Is this a judgement call? Does the batter have to vacate the box to make it easier for the catcher?
June 13, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2050 posts
Oz40 ... There is likely going to be a spirited "dissent" on this call, but it's a supportable umpire's judgment call that the batter is out for interference ... The last sentence of the Rulebook definition §1.45 requires a base runner to "..avoid a fielder making a play.." ... Also, §7.6 I., provides that the batter may not "..hinder the catcher while standing within the batters box.." ... Considering the two provisions together, standing still violates the obligation to avoid a player (in this case, the catcher) making a play, and interference is an acceptable judgment call by the umpire ...
__________

§1.45 • INTERFERENCE
Interference is the act of an offensive player or team member that impedes or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play. A base runner must avoid a fielder making a play.

§7.6 • BATTER IS OUT
.
I. The batter shall not hinder the catcher from catching or throwing the ball by stepping out of the batter's box, or intentionally hinder the catcher while standing within the batter's box. EFFECT: The ball is dead, the batter is out and each runner must return to the last base that, in the umpire’s judgment, was touched at the time of the interference.

June 13, 2018
softball4b
Men's 60
1074 posts
Now you are assuming the batter was as fleet a foot as the athletic catcher. Intent is the key component and if in the esteemed umpire feels it was not intentional then the batter was not making it harder or easier on the catcher's ability to complete the play. Thus no harm no foul.

Bonafied Catcher

Mike Adair
June 13, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2050 posts
Mike ... I'm reasonably sure that "intent" is not a component to be considered in the umpire's judgment of whether or not an "act of interference" occurred ... Either it did or it didn't ... Runner’s interference occurs anytime the runner’s actions interfere with the defense’s ability to make a play on the ball ...

If, in the umpire’s judgment, the runner unintentionally interferes with a fielder attempting to field a ball in fair or foul territory, or with the fielder’s throw, then the runner is out ... If the interference occurs during an attempted double play, the umpire can rule both the interfering runner and the other runner involved in the double play out ... All other runners stay at the base to which they advanced ...

If the runner intentionally interfered with the play, then the ball is dead, the runner is out, and all runners must return to the last base they touched before the interference occurred.

June 13, 2018
softball4b
Men's 60
1074 posts
Is that anything like, I am sorry I did not intend to get caught.
June 13, 2018
yerwombat
Men's 60
47 posts
I think i see Wayne37's ears perking up
June 13, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
971 posts
Dave, you nailed it. It is judgement. It very seldom happens, but I had it happen twice in the same tournament. The batter just kind of froze and lost track of the ball and was right in the catcher's way. He had to go through the batter to get to the ball. Although it can be a controversial call, I have never seen anyone intentionally interfere in that situation at the plate. If anyone says infield fly, it could go higher, Dave.
June 14, 2018
OZ40
398 posts
For the record the batter "Jeff" is over 70 years old and has very slow reaction time and uses a runner for himself from Homeplate.
June 14, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2050 posts
OZ40 ... Your fact pattern tweak looks like an "unintended consequence" when local rules are implemented to modify SSUSA sanctioned play ... With the courtesy runner from home to first (prohibited in SSUSA rules), "Jeff" was EXPECTED to just stand there instead of vacating the batter's box ...
June 14, 2018
OZ40
398 posts
Dave, no attempt to deceive. Even the player's name was changed to protect the innocent. The league this happened in is not SSUSA but it does use ASA rules except for some added 'house rules'. Sorry for any confusion. Thanks for the response.
Oz
June 14, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2050 posts
No worries, OZ40 ... The introduction of the local rule re: CR from home to first puts another body in the general area of the batter's box and provides an incentive for the actual batter to stay put ... Those two factors complicate the interference judgment issue a bit! ...
June 14, 2018
softball4b
Men's 60
1074 posts
So I was right....somebody call my wife.
June 15, 2018
DCPete
361 posts
What if the little pop-up is just inside the 1st Base line and the catcher and batter-runner collide?
June 15, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
971 posts
OZ40 and Dave, yes, that does add an interesting wrinkle to the entire scenario. There is nothing worse in a Special Olympics game for the defense to appeal the runner leaving early at home. Has anyone ever played in the Shelbyville league where the runner has to hold a rope attached to the backstop before running?

Softball4b, if I call your wife, you might be in more trouble. Nancy who?

DCPete, it depends and would have to see it. Remember that the runner is supposed to avoid contact. I will advance a guess of interference unless softball4b sends me a video with strong evidence to the contrary.
June 15, 2018
DaveDowell
Men's 65
2050 posts
DCPete • Same rules, same analysis/judgments applied. Presumably same ruling.
June 15, 2018
softball4b
Men's 60
1074 posts
NA, its okay she sometimes calls me Nancy...
June 15, 2018
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
971 posts
Now that, my friend, is funny.
June 15, 2018
stick8
1621 posts
Oz this sounds like the Ed Armbrister play in the World Series (I believe) from the early 70’s!!
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