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Unusual plays, Calls or Rulings

Discussion in 'Coaches Corner' started by LoweTek, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I'm curious to share stories about odd plays, calls, rule interpretations, etc. I'm coaching a 12U Fall team and it seems there have been more unusual things happening on the field than in other age divisions I have coached.

    Runner on first, one out. Fly ball to short right center is caught on a nice running catch. Runner is almost to second base.

    CF realizes this and throws off-line and a bit short to the 1B to attempt to double off the runner. 1B is attempting to field the throw about a third of the way toward 2B. Runner brushes him as he is reaching up to catch the high throw. Ball gets away, runner reaches 1B safely.

    Interference or no? Why or why not?

    Another one. Runners on 2B & 3B, 2 outs, 2-2 count on the batter.

    Pitch gets by the catcher. Batter steps out of the box to allow room for the runner trying to score from third.

    Runner is ruled safe as the defense attempts a play on him.

    Defense realizes the pitch was called strike three. Batter realizes this at the same time. They hurry to tag the batter standing there just outside the batter's box. Batter is called out. Umpire rules the run does not count.

    Is this a timing play and the run should count? Why or why not.

    I'm not quizzing here. I think the rule book is pretty vague on both of these questions.

    What say you coaches? What other unusual plays, call or rulings have you seen?
     
  2. fiskful of dollars

    fiskful of dollars Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    No interference for a "brush" unless the fielder was clearly impeded. I would let this go and let the play stand. Could also be obstruction if the runner was impeded regardless of the "intent" or position of the fielder. See 2013 WS.

    Batter/runner is out - run does not count. In MLB (on a "not caught" third strike) the batter is out once he leaves the dirt circle around home plate. In LL the rule has not (to my knowledge) been changed BUT it it still a force play at first, so the run would not count.
     
  3. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    Interference - would really have to see it, but like it says above "brush" sounds like fielder wasn't impeded.

    Run definitely doesn't count. Force play at first on dropped third strike, same as any other force play, timing does not matter.
     
  4. Just a bit outside

    Just a bit outside Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Definitely not interference. The fielder cannot block the baseline without the ball. The runner has the right of way. The fielder only has it on a hit ball. The guys are also right about the force play on a drop 3rd strike.
     
  5. Rice4HOF

    Rice4HOF Member SoSH Member

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    Agreeing with everyone's answers. The key to interference is that on a thrown ball, it has to be intentional - even if fielder was impeded. On a batted ball it is interference if he fails to avoid the fielder - whether Intentionally or not.
    On the run - no run counts when the 3rd out is made at 1st base (or on any forced runner), so not a timing play.
     
  6. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    It was definitely a "doh!" moment when I thought through the dropped third strike play. Worst part about the play was it was a pitch well off the plate, low and outside. In all the excitement surrounding the runner from third, nobody in the park knew it was called strike three, except the umpire. It was a very poor ball/strike call.
     
  7. Heinie Wagner

    Heinie Wagner Member SoSH Member

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    Do you have youth umpires or adults? Sounds like the kind of thing that happens around our LL all the time with young umpires.
     
  8. TheYaz67

    TheYaz67 Member SoSH Member

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    LL umpire and coach here, would agree with previous comments about how those situations are ruled.

    Can be tough with a runner on third and you have an "uncaught third strike" as an umpire because you need to quickly (and loudly) call the strike, and get your mask off and move out of the catcher's way and get into position for the play at the plate, all within a very short period of time. Add in the fact that everyone starts hollering once the ball gets past the catcher and you had better be REALLY loud with your strike call and have your arm up high so that folks know - that can be a tricky play. An inexperienced umpire will often forget to call the strike as he is "swinging the gate" to let the catcher by, causing the ensuing confusion you describe....

    You all will like this one I use to stump my new trainee umps on the rules. I had a game in which the right fielder ran in on a low sinking liner and made a great grab just before the ball hit the grass, however as he dove forward he stumbled he kind of caught his glove on the turf. So he completes his roll on the ground and comes up and low and behold, there 3 feet behind him on the field is his glove, with the ball still firmly in the pocket. He grabs his glove from the ground, plucks the ball out of it and holds it up - does he have an out or not? Kind of crazy that this is not a hypothetical and actually happened to me in a game....
     
  9. riboflav

    riboflav Member SoSH Member

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    Well, I can't wait to find out. I cheated and looked it up on the Internet and got two different answers. I assume for MLB, it's rule 2.00 and will depend on the interpretation of the phrases, "firmly holding it" and "release of the ball is voluntary."
     
  10. Byrdbrain

    Byrdbrain Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I didn't look it up but I would think that isn't an out, the fielder has to maintain control of the ball until he/she voluntarily releases it. The glove is a tool the fielder uses it isn't part of the fielder.
     
  11. TheYaz67

    TheYaz67 Member SoSH Member

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    Correct - the player loses "control" of the ball once the glove comes off the hand - it is as a result irrelevant that the ball never touched the ground, so that is not a valid catch and the batter is safe....
     
  12. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Certified adults, some younger than others, but most older.
     
  13. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Had an umpire on Saturday who did this:

    Key point in a comeback inning late in the game. My (best) hitter sends a fly ball down the left field line which is not going to be playable by the LF. Parents scream and yell as usual. Umpire who is working the game alone, points his left hand clearly to foul territory. My hitter pulls up at 2B with a stand-up double.

    He gets told it was called foul. He jogs back toward first base to return to the plate to continue his AB.

    Other team's parents and coach are yelling it was called fair. Other team gets the baseball and tags him. Umpire calls him out.

    I approach him and ask, "Did you signal the hit was foul?" He admits to pointing his left hand toward foul territory on the 3B side, but says the ball was in fact fair.

    I say, "Then you have to send the runner back to second base. You clearly signaled the ball was foul."

    I instruct my runner to return to 2B.

    The umpire consults with the UIC. They decide the ball was live and the runner is out.

    For the first time in nearly 15 years of coaching youth baseball, I lost it. Only my longstanding reputation prevented me from being tossed. I certainly deserved it.

    I was to say the least, incredulous. How would you umpires have handled this situation?

    Is it subject to protest since it's not a judgement call?
     
  14. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    Who told hitter it was foul?

    That said, ump's hand signals should be definitive.
     
  15. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    How is it fair if the umpire has indicated it is foul? Should have gone back to bat.
     
  16. Byrdbrain

    Byrdbrain Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm not an umpire so anything I say is conjecture.
    I would think that is subject to protest.
    If your batter was on second base and only left when informed by the umpire that the ball was foul there is no way he should have been called out.
    It either is foul and a strike or fair and a double.

    That said I assume you'll be told to deal with it and move on.
     
  17. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    I guess it's a learning experience. Runner should always stay on a base until the umpire gives him instruction.
     
  18. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    12u baseball game (I'm a coach). Man on first. Pitch is thrown, runner goes. Batter swings. On swing follow through, hits our catcher in the back as catcher is making throw. Catcher doesn't release ball, instead drops in pain. Batter remained in batters box. Bat obviously did not. Catcher moved forward toward plate as he as making throw, but didn't stray into batters box.

    Umps rule it was not interference with catcher, runner is safe at second instead of being out.

    Seems wrong. A batters could hit the catcher with a bat on every steal and get away with it based on that ruling. What do y'all think?
     
  19. Jordu

    Jordu Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Batter interference. Batter out, dead ball, runner returns to original base.

    Everything that happened after the bat hit the catcher doesn't matter.

    I learned this one long ago, the hard way. Tough way to get an out.

    http://www.umpirebible.com/OBR16/6.0.htm#603a3
     
    #19 Jordu, Apr 17, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  20. Rice4HOF

    Rice4HOF Member SoSH Member

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    Not quite. If the interference is on the swing follow through, then it's just a dead ball, runner returns, but batter is not out. From the link you provided:
     
  21. Jordu

    Jordu Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Ah, thank you. I was remembering one play in Pony League where I took a bat to the back of the head and the umpire called the batter out. I can't imagine the rules were different then, so the ump was wrong.

    Nevertheless, I was grateful.
     
  22. Rice4HOF

    Rice4HOF Member SoSH Member

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    This is a real tough one, LoweTek. When you say "he gets told it was called foul", was that by the Umpire, or by another player/coach? I'm assuming it was by someone other than the Umpire, so that's just a tough lesson for the runner to learn. Now since the Umpire pointed foul but said the ball was fair, you have a legitimate reason to complain/protest about that. However, I can tell you that every league and organization stands behinds its umpires, and it's somewhere between rare and impossible to have a protest upheld. In this case, there ARE rules that say that if an umpire makes a mistake, he has the authority to fix it and place runners/record outs in any way that in his judgement would undo his mistake. In this case, the obvious judgement is to award him second base. But, IT IS a JUDGEMENT call, and he can claim that in his judgement the runner would have been out anyways (this is very implausible, but since it's a judgement call, it cannot be argued nor protested).
     
  23. Rice4HOF

    Rice4HOF Member SoSH Member

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    OUCH!
    And, yes, this is one of those rules with many conditions and qualifications, and even experienced umpires will get it wrong and just assume it's batter interference and call him out.
     
  24. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    Thanks all for the responses. I'm going to share with the coaches and catcher.
     
  25. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I believe he should have undone his mistake. He admitted a clear signal of a foul ball. The umpire did not call the ball fair until after the runner was tagged out returning to continue his AB. He stated he did not say anything when he signaled the ball was foul, which was the basis of his and the UIC's decision to uphold the out call. An umpire is supposed to call "foul" and signal for a foul ball. However, if the ball is fair, he is supposed to only signal it fair and not call out "fair." His contention was since he didn't call out "foul", despite signaling it as foul, this justified upholding the out call. No one could have heard him call "foul" whether he had done so or not.

    I thought the contention was absurd.

    There was a lot of yelling about the ball being called foul, parents, coaches, opposing players, etc. I doubt the umpire said it. He was standing there acting pretty dumbfounded, because he was.
     
  26. Rice4HOF

    Rice4HOF Member SoSH Member

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    To be clear, I 100% agree with you that that was what he should have done.
    I'm just pointing out that there's not much you can do about it after the fact. A protest won't help.
     
  27. Skiponzo

    Skiponzo Member SoSH Member

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    Last night, runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs, full count. Third base coach sends the runner from second and the pitch is called a ball. Catcher throws to third anyway and ump calls him out. I argue that he can't be called out since it was a walk...ump is clearly confused and opposing coach comes over and runs roughshod over the youth ump. Telling him once the runner leaves the base the play is on. Ump upheld the decision saying "I'm really not sure what to do". No game coordinator (we were at the opposing LL fields so my guy was there but had no authority). Freakin' BS. It's happened so many times over there I almost want to forfeit every game we play on that field.
     
  28. Byrdbrain

    Byrdbrain Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    You should talk to league officials about that coach. Coaches intimidating youth umpires is one of the things I hate the most about youth sports.
    It's even worse in this case where the coach is either clueless or lying.
     
  29. Cumberland Blues

    Cumberland Blues Dope Dope

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    That is nuts - and I agree w/ Byrdbrain that the opposing coach intimidating the kid ump is an even bigger problem than the blown call.
     
  30. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    Yup. I watched it last fall where an opposing coach intimidated a young flag football crew into a series of illegal flag-pull calls that brought his team back into a game, which it ultimately won on the last play. It was disgusting. And the guy has a history of it.

    I recommended to the league that they should implement a no-contact rule between coaches and referees--except questions for game information (what down, how much time, etc.) and except during halftime. If you're going to put youths out there to referee, you take the good and the bad.
     
  31. Skiponzo

    Skiponzo Member SoSH Member

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    Talked to league officials last year in the championship game when it was clear to everyone (even parents from the opposing team) that the umps were favoring the "other " LL team on pretty much everything including blatant ball and strike calls. Got so bad one of my players gave the ump the finger and all hell broke loose. FTR my player was wrong to do that but damned if I didn't wanna do it myself. I'm normally a very relaxed, go with the flow...."it's just youth rec sports" kinda guy but man....it's gotten to the point where I don't even wanna coach over there anymore.

    Especially sad because baseball is the only sport where our town has 2 leagues. All other sports our kids play together and the parents are great....something gets lost once LL rolls around. At least on "their" side.
     
  32. bsj

    bsj Renegade Crazed Genius SoSH Member

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    I'm not really sure this guy should be allowed to umpire. That is not a hard call. You need to know that.
     
  33. LoweTek

    LoweTek Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    And that's really kind of the point. Umpire fees are part of the fees parents pay. They are reasonable to expect a person who is at least has a working knowledge of basic rules. I think the call cited could have been protested.

    I've noted lots of coaches do not know the rules, especially the more subtle things. I continue to learn more about them all the time.

    In my case the UIC insisted the guy was an experienced umpire in another league. I told him it was not at all evident in his game calling. He comes off as incompetent and unfit for the role.

    In other news, the UIC sent one of the more competent umpires he has to do my game last night. He made several solid calls which would have baffled the other guy, including, wait for it... an infield fly rule call. It was absolutely the correct call in the situation.
     
  34. Bowhemian

    Bowhemian Member SoSH Member

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    I used to play coed rec. softball in a league with ASA umps. Most were decent, but this one guy...holy crap I don't know how he survived life. He was an ump for at least all of the 12 years I played there. 3 examples of this clown:
    1. Same exact situation as LoweTek above. Foul ball is clearly foul, he signals foul but doesn't say it. Batter gets tagged out, and his rationale is that it was a fair ball because he didn't yell foul.
    2. With a runner on first, batter hits a line drive up the middle, right at the pitcher. Ball hits the rubber on the fly and bounces straight up in the air. SS catches it and throws over to first. Ump calls it a double play. Out on the "fly ball", and runner on first is doubled up. My argument that the rubber is part of the field was lost on him.
    3. Most coed teams have a female as catcher. This guy was always hitting on them, telling them that he enjoyed watching them etc. Total perv. Not to mention the fact that he was very biased towards the females when it came to the plays on the field. Out by a mile on a grounder? Not to this guy, if the runner is even in the neighborhood of first base, she was always safe.
     
  35. tonyandpals

    tonyandpals Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    I had a 7yo spit in the face of one of his teammates. Please tell me that's unusual.
     
  36. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Saw this clusterfork on an adjoining field recently. My kid's team not involved.

    Runners on 1st and 2nd, two outs. Bottom of seventh. Home team down a run or two.

    Batter swings/check swings, ball in the dirt. Home plate umpire calls strike three. Game over... but not quite.

    Fielders celebrate, run into their dugout. Batter walks towards his dugout, but is stopped by his coach, who is yelling at the runners to stay put. Coach walks onto the field and asks the home plate ump to ask the field umpire if the batter swung or checked his swing.

    Keep in mind there are no fielders on the field. The game is supposedly over. Runners are still standing on 1st and 2nd. The batter has now returned to the dirt circle with his coach. Field umpire signals the batter safe. The batter runs to first and the runners on 2nd and 3rd move up one base. Why they all didn't just keep running around the bases and score, I don't know.

    The other coach comes running out of his dugout and tells the home plate ump he's screwed up, that he can't let the field ump reverse the strikeout after the batter leaves the batter's box area. Ump refuses to re-reverse the call. The coach refuses to send his team back onto the field, continues to argue and is ejected. Assistant coach eventually sends the team back out. (Parents, as you might imagine, are going apeshit.) Bases loaded. Next batter gets a hit and wins the game.
     
    #36 dhappy42, May 5, 2017
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  37. bgo544

    bgo544 Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    Had a tough one a few nights ago. My son's team (9-10) had a two-run lead with one out in the bottom of the final inning. Runners on 1st and 2nd. Batter hits a slow roller to 2nd. 2nd baseman fields and throws a bit late to first. The throw gets away from my son at 1st, and the batter tries to advance to second. My son tracks down the ball and throws to the shortstop covering second, who tags out the runner. Runner who started on 2nd scores, and the runner who started on 1st now tries to score too. Shortstop fires a strike to home, and the catcher, who is one of the weaker players on the team, nonetheless makes the catch and executes a beautiful sweep tag to get the runner on the foot as he runs behind him. Catcher then brings his glove back to his throwing hand, and drops the ball in the transfer. Umpire sees the ball on the ground and calls the runner safe. The opposing team ends up scoring one more after that for the walk-off win. Am I wrong in thinking the runner should have been called out? Maybe just my disappointment at seeing the boys actually execute defensively (a rare thing, unfortunately), but having the call go against them. Also tough because the umps are kids too, usually 13-14 year-olds, and I know they try their best.
     
  38. PC Drunken Friar

    PC Drunken Friar Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'm not sure that the coach should be coaching. How old is the league?
     
  39. Byrdbrain

    Byrdbrain Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    There was no one left on base so I don't think "transfer" is part this play as there is no reason to transfer. The catcher needs to control the ball through the play based on your description I don't think he did but there clearly is some gray area there that we wouldn't know without seeing it.
     
  40. DrewDawg

    DrewDawg Dorito Dink SoSH Member

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    This one always gets me---one could also argue the batter, by heading toward the dugout has abandoned the play and is out as well, no?

    Plus, the appeal to field ump isn't usually done when home plate ump calls a strike. You call what you see. You see a swing, that's the call. You didn't see a swing, you ask if someone else did.
     
  41. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Unusual play in a high school game today.

    Bases loaded, one out. I forget the count, but one strike.

    Batter squares to bunt. Suicide squeeze. Runner on third charges home.

    Batter gets the ball down, but in the dirt just in front of home. Catcher collides with the batter.

    Umpire rules dead ball, interference, batter out. Runners return to third, second and first.

    It's the wrong call. The runner on third should be declared out and the batter resumes his at bat.
     
  42. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Yes, that's the correct call.

    Even if the batter didn't abandon the play and even if it was a dropped third strike, it's a terrible decision for the field ump to overturn the home ump's call after the fielders have left the field. It creates a baseball anomaly. Is the ball live or dead? If dead, how can the batter advance to first? If alive, then why can't all the runners score while the fielders are in the dugout? How can you blame the fielders for being in the dugout after the home ump calls strike three, third out?

    No dog in the fight so I can say without prejudice that the field umpire totally screwed up.
     
  43. cp9

    cp9 Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    I respectfully disagree dhappy. You can't have the batter resume his at bat after he has put a ball in play. The batter is out for interference. In your play, if in the umpires judgement the interference prevented the defensive team from completing a double play he could have called the runner from third out as well (that's what I probably would have done, but I like outs!).
     
  44. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Look it up.

    I realize the OP didn't mention the catcher tagged out the runner attempting to score from third, only that the umpire returned the runner to third. Big omission on my part. But per above, the interfering batter can continue the at bat while the runner is out. And that's the correct call.

    The reason for the exception is that if the runner isn't called out, then there's no disincentive for the batter to NOT interfere if he misses the bunt. For example, coach calls for a suicide squeeze. The runner on third sprints home, but the batter misses the bunt. In that case, every batter should intentionally interfere. Every time. To save the runner.

    Edit: I take no credit for knowing this rule or figuring it out. Assistant coach on the team is a former MiLB umpire. He explained it to the umps, who refused to change the call, but admitted the mistake after the game when shown the rule.
     
    #44 dhappy42, May 13, 2017
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  45. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    Unless something was missed in the description there is no interference. Once the ball is in play, the batter is a batter-runner headed for first. If the catcher is blocked by the batter-runner trying to field the short bunt into the dirt, that's just tough luck and not interference at all:

    The comment you cited* only applies to 6.03(a) (3) and (4). It's for when a catcher is trying to throw out a runner (or field a WP, or something) and the batter steps out of the batter's box and interferes with the throw, or throws the bat at the catcher, or something like that. Even if it did apply, per the rule: "play proceeds just as if no violation had been called." You don't call the ball dead or return the batter-runner to the plate. It's probably an easy double-play.


    *FYI you're working off an old rulebook, but this rule is the same though it's now numbered "6.03(a)(3) and (4) Comment".
     
  46. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Okay, you're saying the ump got the call wrong, but for a different reason: he shouldn't have called interference. In that case, the runner is out on the tag, not returned to third base. (Also the batter could be tagged as well or thrown out at first. We'll never know because the ump called the ball dead on interference so the batter didn't run to first.)

    But since the ump did, in fact call interference on the batter and the batter did not run to first, the correct rule is runner out, batter continues at bat. Again, if that's not the case, then every batter who misses a suicide squeeze can/should interfere with the catcher to save the runner. You'd have a strange situation where a team benefits from intentionally interfering with a fielder.
     
  47. SumnerH

    SumnerH Malt Liquor Picker Dope

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    The rule says that "play proceeds just as if no violation had been called", and the ball was hit in play. Seems like if you're going to go ahead and misapply that comment then the runner on third is out, the ball is in play, and the batter-runner is trying to reach first, likely ending in a DP.
     
  48. cp9

    cp9 Member Bronze Supporter SoSH Member

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    dhappy-
    You are citing Official Baseball Rules and but your game was being played under NFHS (FED) rules. The proper FED rule is 8-4-2-g.

    Any runner is out when he:
    hinders a fielder on his initial attempt to field a batted ball.
    If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner including the batter-runner interferes in any way and prevents a double play anywhere, two shall be declared out (the runner who interfered and the other runner involved).

    NFHS (2014-11-06). 2017 NFHS Baseball Rules Book (Kindle Locations 1255-1256). NFHS. Kindle Edition.

    IF the batter had MISSED the bunt and had interfered with the catcher, then the runner is out and the batter remains at bat.
     
  49. BroodsSexton

    BroodsSexton Member SoSH Member

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    The bunt he got down--is it a ball, strike or foul?
     
  50. dhappy42

    dhappy42 Member

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    Yes. The NFHS rule applies.

    But a missed bunt (with less than two strikes) doesn't present an obvious double-play situation. The short bunt does. The catcher can tag the runner sliding home, then throw to first to force out the batter-runner (who interfered.) Calling "dead ball" pre-empts the action and the possibility of a double-play. It's then the umpire's job to sort it out.

    The way it was explained to me by the assistant coach/former MiLB umpire is that the offending team cannot benefit from batter's interference. If the batter misses the bunt or bunts in a manner that allows the catcher to easily put out the runner (a pop up, for example, or a very short bunt in front of home plate) then the runner is out.

    One out, bases loaded is better than one out, runners on first and second. The interfering team benefits if the runner is returned to third instead of called out. This "can't benefit" thing seems less of a rule to me than a guideline for umpires, which is nonetheless supported by the rule book. I'll ask the asst/former ump next time I see him.
     

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