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Gfoley4

Backswing interference?

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Did they blow this call in the Cubs Nats game? Situation: dropped third strike but the batter swung through and hit the catcher in the mask slightly. Cubs eventually scored a run and the batter runner advance down to second on a bad throw. 

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1 hour ago, Gfoley4 said:

Did they blow this call in the Cubs Nats game? Situation: dropped third strike but the batter swung through and hit the catcher in the mask slightly. Cubs eventually scored a run and the batter runner advance down to second on a bad throw. 

For those of us that didn't watch the game, can you describe what happened after the bat hit the catcher in the mask?

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I agree with ruling that's nothing because the pitch went to the backstop. That's why they both advanced, not because of the contact. 

 

Baker said Wieters told him that Layne said it didn't apply because there's no runner stealing.

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Wieters admitted he should have blocked Scherzer's pitch, but he attempted to appeal the play by citing interference on Baez's backswing. Home-plate umpire Jerry Layne, the crew chief, told Wieters the rule only applies when a runner is attempting to steal a base.

"Backswing interference is a play where a guy is stealing or there's a play being made by a runner hindering the catch. It was a wild pitch and went past him," Layne said. "That is no longer in that particular description, in my judgment. In my judgment, the passed ball changed the whole rule around to where, in my judgment, it had nothing to do with everything [that happened]. Therefore, it didn't have any effect on it, in my judgment."

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from your red boxed part of the rule:

 

Quote

He throws his bat into fair or foul territory and hits a
catcher (including the catcher’s glove) and the catcher
was attempting to catch a pitch with a runner(s) on base
and/or the pitch was a third strike.
 

batter did not throw his bat in this instance. 

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I think the relevant portion is 6.03(a)(3)

Quote

6.03 Batter Illegal Action
(a) (6.06) A batter is out for illegal action when:

...

(3) He interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by
stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other
movement that hinders the catcher’s play at home base.

And the comment that everyone is citing:

Quote

If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he
carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire’s judgment,
unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him
on the backswing, it shall be called a strike only (not interference).
The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall
advance on the play.

 

Paired with Layne's explanation, I'd say the comment holds no relevance, as Layne ruled the minor contact didn't qualify as interference since the pitch went to the backstop and the runners only advanced at that point.

I'd say his explanation has rule support.

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ok, now that makes sense....taken in isolation, the comment appears to be very black and white, with no exception. However, since it appears in the same section as batter interfering with a play, it seems logical that it would be bound by the conditions and context of that same section. If it were intended as a global action in the event of backswing interference, it would be a standalone item. Rather, it's a modifier of interfering with the play, carving out an exception to the batter being out, but still applying to the context of interfering with a play. Since no possible play here, the section - along with the comment - doesn't apply.

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hbk is correct. People on Twitter were posting only the comment last night and not understanding that it has to be taken in context with the actual rule as well. If the batter isn't actually interfering with a play, you have nothing. If the ball was laying at Wieters' feet and the bat hit him preventing him from picking it up to retire a runner, you could have a very good case for interference. 

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I originally thought the umps on the field got it right. 

In looking at my PBUC Manual, I am not so sure anymore.

Here is section 7.14 from the 2014 edition:

Quote

7.14 BACKSWING HITS CATCHER If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and in the umpire’s judgment unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of the batter on the follow-through or backswing while the batter is still in the batter’s box, it shall be called a strike only (no interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play. If this infraction should occur in a situation where the catcher’s initial throw directly retires a runner despite the infraction, the play stands the same as if no violation had occurred. If this infraction should occur in a situation where the batter would normally become a runner because of a third strike not caught, the ball shall be dead and the batter declared out.  

 

 

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29 minutes ago, goody14 said:

I originally thought the umps on the field got it right. 

In looking at my PBUC Manual, I am not so sure anymore.

Here is section 7.14 from the 2014 edition:

The bolded part of 7.14 is actually redundant. Because the ball becomes dead on backswing INT, the BR will be out for strike 3, just as if he swung at strike 3 and was HBP.

Again: the key concept, as zm reminds us, is hindrance. No hindrance = no INT. Because the BR would have reached 1B anyway on the WP/PB (however it was ruled), F2 was not hindered by the contact.

The bolded part of PBUC 7.14 applies when you have backswing INT, and it happens to be a D3K. We don't have backswing INT here, so that provision won't apply.

BTW, I found Layne's comments rather woolly. It's not that complicated to explain.

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I'm pretty sure the wording used to be along the lines of "before the catcher catches the ball" -- that was removed because it was too restrictive -- it was meant to apply even when F2 had the ball and was making the play.

 

Removing it, however, seems to make it "too loose" -- and to be an absolute.  I don't think that's what they wanted (but, I suppose this play provides MLB an opportunity to come out and say, yes, it is what they want and the umpires missed it.)  Given that the ball was well on the way to the backstop before the contact, I think the umpires got it right.

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Here's the second half of that entry from 7.14 though (emphasis mine):

Quote
This interpretation applies even if the catcher is in the act of making a throw to retire a runner. That is, if the batter is in the batter’s box and his normal backswing or follow-through unintentionally strikes the catcher or the ball while the catcher is in the act of throwing, “Time” is called and runners return (unless the catcher’s initial throw retires the runner). The proper mechanic is for the plate umpire to call, “Backswing hit the catcher” as soon as the violation occurs (while pointing at the infraction), and then to call “Time” as the play dictates. After the play is over, the umpire should then turn toward the pressbox and announce and signal that such infraction has occurred - the same as he should do with any unusual play - in order that the ruling be made as clearly as possible.

Doesn't that imply this interp applies when the catcher is not in the act of making a throw? Although I guess now that I think about it, this is what nompere's second paragraph is getting at--it's not meant to be that broad but it sure looks that way.

Now, in my youth games, a kid getting whacked aside the head on a follow-through is more likely to go down wincing than go chase the ball.   Is that hindrance then?   (Corollary question:  Should Wieters have flopped?)

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5 minutes ago, stevis said:

Here's the second half of that entry from 7.14 though (emphasis mine):

Doesn't that imply this interp applies when the catcher is not in the act of making a throw? Although I guess now that I think about it, this is what nompere's second paragraph is getting at--it's not meant to be that broad but it sure looks that way.

Now, in my youth games, a kid getting whacked aside the head on a follow-through is more likely to go down wincing than go chase the ball.   Is that hindrance then?   (Corollary question:  Should Wieters have flopped?)

for your flopping point: it has worked before in the playoffs. 

 

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I have nothing of value to add here.  I just hate that anybody ever calls the follow-through a "backswing."

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I recall when "before the catcher has securely held the ball" was a requirement for OBR follow-through interference ("backswing" at lower levels still refers to pre-pitch contact, no?).

6.03(a)(3) is all about batter interference, and this is where judgment comes into play. But 6.03(a)(4)—to which the comment also applies—says nothing of interference, and 6.03(a) itself talks of "a batter is out for illegal action."

Since the follow-through contact comment applies to two different basic rules (3) and (4), it would appear that an interpretation of noninterference rule (4) applies in this situation more than interference (3).

No, the batter didn't "throw his bat into fair or foul territory and hit[] a catcher," but that's why the follow-through comment exists in the first place.

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6 hours ago, zm1283 said:

hbk is correct. People on Twitter were posting only the comment last night and not understanding that it has to be taken in context with the actual rule as well. If the batter isn't actually interfering with a play, you have nothing. If the ball was laying at Wieters' feet and the bat hit him preventing him from picking it up to retire a runner, you could have a very good case for interference. 

I think your missing it too... if the batters bat unintentionally on his follow though ( which we had) and makes contact with the catcher, we should have Backswing INT... it has nothing to do with the ball laying on the ground. It could have been a pitch up and in and he still comes around and makes contact.

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1 hour ago, Gil said:

I recall when "before the catcher has securely held the ball" was a requirement for OBR follow-through interference ("backswing" at lower levels still refers to pre-pitch contact, no?).

6.03(a)(3) is all about batter interference, and this is where judgment comes into play. But 6.03(a)(4)—to which the comment also applies—says nothing of interference, and 6.03(a) itself talks of "a batter is out for illegal action."

Since the follow-through contact comment applies to two different basic rules (3) and (4), it would appear that an interpretation of noninterference rule (4) applies in this situation more than interference (3).

No, the batter didn't "throw his bat into fair or foul territory and hit[] a catcher," but that's why the follow-through comment exists in the first place.

In my view as the two rules that the comment applies to don't apply here, in Layne's judgment, you don't even need to read the comment as it doesn't apply either.

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This game looked like some of the 11u games I've worked. And lasted longer. 

I agree with Layne, the catcher getting hit with the bat, did not affect the outcome of the play. 

I'm surprised at how poorly MLB players react on U3Ks. 

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9 hours ago, maven said:

BTW, I found Layne's comments rather woolly. It's not that complicated to explain.

What did you expect?  He's a "topped out" MLB Umpire ... akin to a Supreme Court Justice ... which means his mechanics, his communication skills, his level of hustle, and his rules knowledge are ALL suspect.  In this case, I'm glad he at least got the rule correct even if he stumbled through the explanation.

The number of MLB games in the past 4 years where a rule was misinterpreted ... with FOUR MLB umpires (or possibly a AAA callup) involved and on the field is nothing short of disgraceful.  I dare say that MLB rule (mis)applications should and will be handled in a similar fashion to replay challenges soon ... where there is a mechanism for the Manager to question once per game, a rule application, and have New York hand down the ruling without having to protest the game.  Then if he wins his "challenge," he retains it.

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3 hours ago, Mister B said:

This game looked like some of the 11u games I've worked. And lasted longer. I agree with Layne, the catcher getting hit with the bat, did not affect the outcome of the play. I'm surprised at how poorly MLB players react on U3Ks. 

Full Disclosure — I'm a die hard Cubs fan — jumped ship from the Reds in the mid-90s because I refused to support Marge Schott.

I couldn't agree more with your assessment.  I also found it a tad bit humorous that Wieters had the gall to question the ruling after failing twice to block a pitch that led to scored Cubs' runs.  And they were both scored as Wild Pitches ... yet there was no good effort on either one.  (One backhand attempt ... and one right through the 5-hole).  Then, before the dust had settled, committed catcher INT on LaStella.

Glad they made it to the NLCS.  I'd like to erase every detail of that game from my mind before tomorrow.

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18 hours ago, Haid D' Salaami said:

I think your missing it too... if the batters bat unintentionally on his follow though ( which we had) and makes contact with the catcher, we should have Backswing INT... it has nothing to do with the ball laying on the ground. It could have been a pitch up and in and he still comes around and makes contact.

I see what you're saying, and I agree if the catcher is trying to make a play on the B/R or a runner. But what play was the batter hindering in this case? I know a fielder doesn't have to have the ball to be interfered with, but Wieters didn't even know where the ball was in this case. I'm open to changing my mind, I just have a hard time with this one. 

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On 10/13/2017 at 12:49 PM, noumpere said:

Removing it, however, seems to make it "too loose" -- and to be an absolute.  I don't think that's what they wanted (but, I suppose this play provides MLB an opportunity to come out and say, yes, it is what they want and the umpires missed it.)  Given that the ball was well on the way to the backstop before the contact, I think the umpires got it right.

Joe Torre has accepted your challenge. 

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I still think they had it right the first time, the comment can't be read in isolation of the overall context of the rule, but since they are - by definition - right, that settles it. 

Or does it? Is this a binding interpretation or something that the rules committee or other such body has to endorse/clarify/adopt?

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