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Batter Interference???

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Here is a play that happened in my college game today:

NCAA rules: 1 out, with R1 and R3. 0-0 count on the RH batter. R1 is stealing on the pitch, RH batter squares and attempts a "drag" or "running" bunt. Pitch is a breaking ball in the dirt, catcher blocks the ball and the ball rolls a few feet up first base line (not rolling out of the dirt circle). R3 reads ball in the dirt and breaks for home. The catcher goes to retrieve the baseball to attempt to retire R3 at the plate. On his way back to the plate to attempt to retire R3, the catcher makes contact with the batter who is now standing near the LH batters box in fair territory. At the time of the contact, R1 is standing on second base.

What is your call and place the runners.

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Posted · Report post

My initial gut feeling on this one was as follows:

1. Interference by Batter - Batter out since it was not a steal of home or suicide sqeeze

2. R3 returns

3. R1 stays at 2nd since he already attained 2nd at time of interference

Now after digging into the JR manual I believe I have nothing on this play. In the section of Batter Interference it states:

Note: If the batter's action is not intentional, does not involve the catcher's fielding of the pitch, and the catcher does not try to throw, then it is not interference.

In your post it doesn't appear that any of the 3 above occur. 1. The interference is not intentional 2. It involves a tag attempt (not the catcher's fielding of the pitch) 3. And the catcher does not throw.

Now I have a question --- When does the catcher's fielding of the pitch end? As soon as he gains control?

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Digging into the NCAA Rule Book (2010), I found this:

"...Rule 7-11-f: The Batter Is Out When:

The batter intentionally or unintentionally interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other movement that hinders a defensive player’s action at home plate.

PENALTY for f.—The runner(s) return to the base occupied at the time of interference.

Exceptions—(1) If the runner is advancing to home plate and there are fewer than two outs, the runner, instead of the batter, is out.

(2) The batter is not out if any runner attempting to advance is put out, or if the runner trying to score is called out for batter’s interference..."

So I would have R3 out, batter back up at the plate, and R1 remains at 2nd...

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?

OBR has a ruling for a similar situatio (I said "similar" not "same")

Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called.

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?...

Rich I don't think you could have said this any better!

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Posted · Report post

This is true Rich. Both NCAA and OBR rule books make reference to a catcher "fielding" a ball, but in the above situation, the ball has been secured and the catcher is making a "play" at the plate when the contact occurred. So in my judgement rule 7.09(j) would not apply. However 7-11-f (NCAA) does seem to fit since the catcher is making a play at home plate.

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Posted · Report post

This is true Rich. Both NCAA and OBR rule books make reference to a catcher "fielding" a ball, but in the above situation, the ball has been secured and the catcher is making a "play" at the plate when the contact occurred. So in my judgement rule 7.09(j) would not apply. However 7-11-f (NCAA) does seem to fit since the catcher is making a play at home plate.

NCAA 7-11-f is the same as OBR 6.06(cee).

JEA says in 6.06(cee) that almost anything is interference, even if unintentional. But in discussiog 7.09(d) which also covers interference at the plate, he uses the phrase "unnatural movement" so it makes it confusing.

I beleive there is a J/R interp that says once the pitch gets past the catcher the batter should then be considered as "another teammate" and intent may then enter the picture - but I can't find my J/R at the moment.

I do have a philosophical problem with punishing the batter for the defense's screw-up in the OP.

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Posted · Report post

This is true Rich. Both NCAA and OBR rule books make reference to a catcher "fielding" a ball, but in the above situation, the ball has been secured and the catcher is making a "play" at the plate when the contact occurred. So in my judgement rule 7.09(j) would not apply. However 7-11-f (NCAA) does seem to fit since the catcher is making a play at home plate.

NCAA 7-11-f is the same as OBR 6.06(cee).

JEA says in 6.06(cee) that almost anything is interference, even if unintentional. But in discussiog 7.09(d) which also covers interference at the plate, he uses the phrase "unnatural movement" so it makes it confusing.

I beleive there is a J/R interp that says once the pitch gets past the catcher the batter should then be considered as "another teammate" and intent may then enter the picture - but I can't find my J/R at the moment.

I do have a philosophical problem with punishing the batter for the defense's screw-up in the OP.

JR refers to "another teammate" relavent to this situation is in reference to exceptions to batters interference. It states:

Exceptions: A batter who does not become a runner may interfere with a player other than the catcher

a -- when such batter releases his unbroken bat into the field of play and the bat hinders a fielder trying to make a play, or

b -- after a pitch goes past the catcher; such batter interferes with a subsequent play on a runner at the plate (batter is treated as an "offensive teammate" for purposes of requirements and penalization) [7.08g] [7.09e]

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Posted · Report post

Now I have a question --- When does the catcher's fielding of the pitch end? As soon as he gains control?

Once the catcher has secure possession of the ball in hand or mitt the fielding of a pitch is complete.

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?

OBR has a ruling for a similar situatio (I said "similar" not "same")

Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called.

Don't be so concerned about who did what to whom. There are rules in place. We are not the morality police, we are umpires.

Your cite of 7.09 has no bearing since the batter did not become a batter/runner.

For what it's worth, the batter is the one who screwed up and caused the problem.

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?

OBR has a ruling for a similar situatio (I said "similar" not "same")

Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called.

Don't be so concerned about who did what to whom. There are rules in place. We are not the morality police, we are umpires.

Your cite of 7.09 has no bearing since the batter did not become a batter/runner.

For what it's worth, the batter is the one who screwed up and caused the problem.

What did the batter do wrong--he moved away from the play on R3 from 3rd????

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?

OBR has a ruling for a similar situatio (I said "similar" not "same")

Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called.

Don't be so concerned about who did what to whom. There are rules in place. We are not the morality police, we are umpires.

Your cite of 7.09 has no bearing since the batter did not become a batter/runner.

For what it's worth, the batter is the one who screwed up and caused the problem.

1) I said the situation was similar, not the same - and stated the first time that it was similar, not the same. My intent was that sometimes "stuff" happens and the result is a no-call AKA train wreck.

2) No, the batter is not the one who screwed up. The pitcher threw a WP (by definition in the scoring rule) and the catcher couldn't handle it - thus he had to chase after it. They screwed up, not the batter. I have rat avatar for a reason.

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Posted · Report post

Without seeing I would lean to nothing. If you were looking at pro rules 6.06c doesn't apply because the ball got away from the catcher. At that point the batter needs to clear where ever the felder needs to make a play but the interference needs to intentional. Remember that indifference can be deemed intentional. It doesn't sound like any of that happened. The batter tried to bunt the ball and unintentionally ended up in the way. I would go with nothing.

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?

OBR has a ruling for a similar situatio (I said "similar" not "same")

Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called.

Don't be so concerned about who did what to whom. There are rules in place. We are not the morality police, we are umpires.

Your cite of 7.09 has no bearing since the batter did not become a batter/runner.

For what it's worth, the batter is the one who screwed up and caused the problem.

1) I said the situation was similar, not the same - and stated the first time that it was similar, not the same. My intent was that sometimes "stuff" happens and the result is a no-call AKA train wreck.

2) No, the batter is not the one who screwed up. The pitcher threw a WP (by definition in the scoring rule) and the catcher couldn't handle it - thus he had to chase after it. They screwed up, not the batter. I have rat avatar for a reason.

It was the batter that left his box during his bunt attempt. It was the batter that put himself in the way of F2 making a play at the plate. It was the batter who caused the INT. The batter has a responsibility to vacate the area where a play is being made.

R3. Pitched ball goes to back stop. R3 attempts to score. F2 fields ball, throws to F1, covering home, and the throw hits the batter who never vacated the batter's box. R3 is ruled out for batter INT.

You may think that the defense is the one that screwed up, but it really doesn't matter what you think. The batter violated a rule so the offense is penalized. Screwing up is not a violation of the rules. Penalize rule offenders not screw ups.

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Without seeing I would lean to nothing. If you were looking at pro rules 6.06c doesn't apply because the ball got away from the catcher. At that point the batter needs to clear where ever the felder needs to make a play but the interference needs to intentional. Remember that indifference can be deemed intentional. It doesn't sound like any of that happened. The batter tried to bunt the ball and unintentionally ended up in the way. I would go with nothing.

How would you rule if F2 was trying to make a play on R1 going to second? Using your answer, you would rule nothing. That would be incorrect. The batter is responsible for his actions. Although he unintentionally crossed the plate, he can still be guilty of INT.

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I agree with UmpTTS. This is INT on the batter. It doesn't matter if the ball went up the line or not in this case. It would make no difference if the ball stayed in front of F2 at his feet and batter still crossed the plate. Placement of the ball makes no difference in this case. Batter left the box after attempting to bunt/hit the ball. It would be no different if he did it after a swing and left the box. Once he left the box under his own actions, he is responsible to get out of the play.

I have batter INT with R3 out if less than 2 outs or batter out with 2 outs. The batter screwed up by not getting out of the way and by not staying in the box.

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You may think that the defense is the one that screwed up, but it really doesn't matter what you think. The batter violated a rule so the offense is penalized. Screwing up is not a violation of the rules. Penalize rule offenders not screw ups.

I know who screwed up and I know who gets the ass chewing in the dugout.

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Without seeing I would lean to nothing. If you were looking at pro rules 6.06c doesn't apply because the ball got away from the catcher. At that point the batter needs to clear where ever the felder needs to make a play but the interference needs to intentional. Remember that indifference can be deemed intentional. It doesn't sound like any of that happened. The batter tried to bunt the ball and unintentionally ended up in the way. I would go with nothing.

How would you rule if F2 was trying to make a play on R1 going to second? Using your answer, you would rule nothing. That would be incorrect. The batter is responsible for his actions. Although he unintentionally crossed the plate, he can still be guilty of INT.

If the catcher caught the pitch cleanly - yes.

Once the pitch is past the catcher it's a different ballgame.

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1) I said the situation was similar, not the same - and stated the first time that it was similar, not the same. My intent was that sometimes "stuff" happens and the result is a no-call AKA train wreck.

2) No, the batter is not the one who screwed up. The pitcher threw a WP (by definition in the scoring rule) and the catcher couldn't handle it - thus he had to chase after it. They screwed up, not the batter. I have rat avatar for a reason.

I would not call this sitch a "train wreck" . A train wreck is usually when you have runner, fielder and ball (usually a thrown ball) arriving at the same place at the same time. As far as the WP, true the catcher couldn't handle it - thus he had to chase after it, but once the catcher has secured the ball, "the pitch" is now complete. What ever the catcher does with the ball after securing it will be considered as a "play". So the WP has bearing on the rest of the play.

The order in which we apply the rules is very important.....

For example, if there was contact with the batter and the catcher prior to the catcher securing the ball, then 7-11(f) exception (4) would apply

"If a batter/runner and a catcher fielding the ball make contact, no call shall be made unless either player attempts to alter the play"

The key term here is fielding. Since the catcher has secure possession of the ball prior to the contact, this rule does not apply. With secure possession, 7-11(f) is the correct rule to apply:

"The batter intentionally or unintentionally interferes with the catcher fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter's box or making any other movement that hinders a defensive player's action at home plate."

There is also an additional rule that supports the runner being out, NCAA rule: 8-5(q) (A.R.1)

"A runner is out when - Any member of the offensive team does not vacate any live-ball area thus interfering with a defensive player attempting to field a batted or thrown (A.R.1) This includes the batter, once the pitch has crossed the plate"

Since the batter's feinted drag bunt attempt leaves him in fair "live-ball" territory, he is in jeopardy of having 8-5(q) enforced due to his actions.

So because of these two points here is how I ruled in the game:

I ruled that I had interference on the batter since the catcher had secure position of the ball prior to the contact with the batter. Since the catcher was attempting to retire R3 at home plate when contact with the batter was made with the batter standing in fair territory, I called R3 out since it was less than 2 outs. Since R1 was stealing on the pitch and had acquired 2nd before the interference occurred, R1 remained at 2nd base.

Of course the offensive coach came out to argue, and he tried to use the "Train-wreck" concept to support his argument. I told the coach that the batter has to vacate fair territory when there is a play at the plate. Operative word here is "play". Since the catcher had secure possession of the ball his attempt to retire R3 is a play.

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If the catcher caught the pitch cleanly - yes.

Once the pitch is past the catcher it's a different ballgame.

Until he secures the past ball in is hand or mitt then its just like he caught it cleanly.

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I ruled that I had interference on the batter since the catcher had secure position of the ball prior to the contact with the batter. Since the catcher was attempting to retire R3 at home plate when contact with the batter was made with the batter standing in fair territory, I called R3 out since it was less than 2 outs. Since R1 was stealing on the pitch and had acquired 2nd before the interference occurred, R1 remained at 2nd base.

Good call. Just think, it's the beginning of the season.

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense?

OBR has a ruling for a similar situatio (I said "similar" not "same")

Rule 7.09(j) Comment: When a catcher and batter-runner going to first base have contact when the catcher is fielding the ball, there is generally no violation and nothing should be called.

BRis not going to 1st base, he did no tbecome a runner in this play..

R3 out , R1 back to 1st, Batter back to bat with a 1-0 count.

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Posted · Report post

The pitcher screwed up the pitch.

The catcher screwed up securing it.

So we punish the offense? YES

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Without seeing I would lean to nothing. If you were looking at pro rules 6.06c doesn't apply because the ball got away from the catcher. At that point the batter needs to clear where ever the felder needs to make a play but the interference needs to intentional. Remember that indifference can be deemed intentional. It doesn't sound like any of that happened. The batter tried to bunt the ball and unintentionally ended up in the way. I would go with nothing.

How would you rule if F2 was trying to make a play on R1 going to second? Using your answer, you would rule nothing. That would be incorrect. The batter is responsible for his actions. Although he unintentionally crossed the plate, he can still be guilty of INT.

If the catcher caught the pitch cleanly - yes.

Once the pitch is past the catcher it's a different ballgame.

the catcher catching the pitch has nothing to do with it... the rule says " if the batter intentionally or unintentionally intefers, hinders, or confuse a defensive player.."

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I do think it makes a difference. 6.06c is in effect if the catcher catches the ball or it is in reach of him. Once it gets away from him the batter becomes another teammate and the expectation is different. At that point it has to be intentional or indifference by the batter.

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