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USABL UMP327

What's the Call?

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So, I encountered a strange play last weekend and I was wondering what the proper call is.  After consulting with the umpire on the bases, we made a call.  I won't tell you the call right away because I want to see what everyone else would do. 

2 Outs, runner on third (R3).  Right handed batter (B1).  NO drawn batters box.

Passed ball, skilled to the batter's side of the backstop.  R3 breaks for home.  The catcher retrieves the ball and flips it to the pitcher covering.  The ball strikes B1, who had taken a step back to allow R3 to slide but didn't move very far out of the way.  The interference with the flip was unintentional.

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In your opinion did the batter have time to vacate the area?

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Unless the backstop is ten feet away, this is interference. If the batter has time to react, he must avoid all interference with the play.

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I think the batter had time to vacate, but every step back that he took was towards where the catcher was going to retrieve the ball. The batter was watching the runner and pitcher, not the catcher.  He didn't realize he was in the line of the throw. 

We ended up calling it interference and the runner was called out.  I'm still not sure about the call. If the throw doesn't hit the batter, the runner is safe anyway.

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2 hours ago, USABL UMP327 said:

I think the batter had time to vacate, but every step back that he took was towards where the catcher was going to retrieve the ball. The batter was watching the runner and pitcher, not the catcher.  He didn't realize he was in the line of the throw. 

We ended up calling it interference and the runner was called out.  I'm still not sure about the call. If the throw doesn't hit the batter, the runner is safe anyway.

Almost got it right. With 2 outs, the batter should have been out. WIth less than 2 outs, then the runner would be out.

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OBR: Official Interpretation:  Wendelstedt:  “[When a pitch gets away from the catcher] if the batter remains in the box and makes no other movement, he cannot be called for interference.”

Authoritative Opinion:  Evans:  The batter is obligated to avoid making ANY MOVEMENT which obstructs, impedes, or hinders the catcher’s play in any way…

From the 2016 BRD (section 280, p. 182) Play:  R3, 0 outs, 0-0 count. The pitch is in the dirt and gets away from the catcher. R3 heads home, F1 comes to the plate, and B1 remains in the box. The throw from the catcher hits the batter and R3 is safe. The umpire determines the batter made no unusual movement in the box. Ruling:  In FED/NCAA, R3 is out. B1 remains at bat with a count of 1-0. In OBR, “That’s nothing!” R3 scores, and B1 has a count of 1-0.

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INT in FED

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Here’s why Mr. JaxRolo is right about the FED ruling on this play (and for that matter so was Carl Childress in the play I posted earlier):

FED rule 7-3-5:  Interfere with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by:

b. stepping out of the batter’s box,

c. making any other movement, including follow-through interference, which hinders actions at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner, or

d. failing to make a reasonable effort to vacate a congested area when there is a throw to home plate and there is time for the batter to move away.

PENALTY:  When there are two outs, the batter is out. When there are not two outs and the runner is advancing to home plate, if the runner is tagged out, the ball remains live and interference is ignored. Otherwise, the ball is dead and the runner is called out…

 

The OP used USABL in his screen name but did not specify what age group in his scenario. It matters because the USABL uses different rule sets for different age groups--

A. 46/60 Programs will follow Little League rules with the exception of USABL rules
B. 50/70 & 60/90 will follow NJ High School rules with the exception of USABL rules
C. 18 & Over will follow Major League rules with the exception of USABL rules

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