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Richvee

Backswing vs BI

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2007 SITUATION 20:  With R1 on first base, the right-handed batter B2 swings hard and misses the pitch. The catcher, seeing R1 slow in returning to first, attempts to pick him off. B2's follow-through by the bat hits the catcher and causes his throw to sail into right field. RULING: The ball is dead and the B2 is declared out for batter interference. R1 is returned to first base. A batter is responsible for the follow-through of a bat when he swings. (7-3-5c)

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 7.3.5 Situation F:  “A batter is entitled to an uninterrupted opportunity to hit the ball, just as the catcher is entitled to an uninterrupted opportunity to field the ball. Once the batter swings, he is responsible for his follow-through.

2019 Case Book Play 7.3.6 Situation: “…because B1 is responsible for controlling his bat and not allowing it to interfere with a defensive player attempting a play…”

From the 2013 Wendelstedt manual (section 9.2.1, p. 173):

A catcher stopping or altering his throw because of the actions of the batter stepping out of the box, or making another movement in the box, is interference. Another movement inside the box includes:  A recoil after the initial backswing

Batter’s interference supersedes “backswing only” interference. If the batter hinders the catcher on his backswing, but does so while stepping out of the box, or continues out of the box and further interferes, he is still guilty of “regular” batter’s interference.

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6 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

The OP indicates hindrance on F2. 

 The swing was over with no contact with the batter or the ball so backswing interference is not an option. 

This was the thought process I went through making the call.  Looks like I have some backing from Wendelstadt on the BI call. 

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22 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Your OP did not have the batter outside the box so you would have to hang your hat on a recoil:

https://www.closecallsports.com/search?q=batter+interference

If my batter stepped out of the box like in the close call clip, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. ;)

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8 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

If the BR's bat hinders F2 in retiring a runner attempting to advance, why would it not be BI? 

Hindrance is necessary, but not sufficient. For instance: R2 stealing, batter takes the pitch and doesn't move. F2 rises and throws the ball and hits the bat.

That's clearly hindrance, but it's not batter INT. Why not? Because the batter did nothing illegal to hinder F2.

8 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

Interference is defined as any act of an offensive player, umpire or nongame person who interferes with; physically or verbally hinders; confuses; or impedes any fielder attempting to make a play.

Incorrect: read 2-21-1 (or the OBR equivalent) again. It's AN act that hinders, but not just any act.

8 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

If F2 ran into anything other than a bat, would there any question that BI would be the likely call?

No: without some illegal act by the batter, F2 "running into" the batter is entirely on F2.

8 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

Could a batter just stick their bat across HP without a swing and hinder F2 without penalty?

No: that would be "any other [than a swing] movement" under 7-3-5 (and the OBR equivalent), an illegal act: if it hinders F2, it's batter INT.

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2 hours ago, Jimurray said:

Your OP did not have the batter outside the box so you would have to hang your hat on a recoil:

https://www.closecallsports.com/search?q=batter+interference

I don't see the play you linked as relevant here.  In that play, the batter hit the catcher with his backswing, but he then stepped out of the box and interfered.  BI was correct there.  Senor Azul's quote from Wendelstedt says, "Another movement inside the box includes:  A recoil after the initial backswing…

Based on that, I think BI is likely the correct call.

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From the 2016 BRD (section 280, p. 181):

FED Official Interpretation:  Rumble:  If the batter interferes as he “unwinds” from his swing, that would constitute interference. (4/90)

OBR:  Authoritative Opinion:  Evans:  The batter is obligated to avoid making any movement which obstructs, impedes, or hinders the catcher’s play in any way. A swing which carries the batter over home plate and subsequently complicates the catcher’s play or attempted play should be ruled interference. Contact between the batter and catcher does not necessarily have to occur for interference to be ruled. Merely blocking the catcher’s vision to second base may very possibly be interference. (JEA/6:46)

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Can this, from an old MLBUM, be applied (I know it's not directly on point; can it be extended):

6.10 BATTER INTERFERES WITH CATCHER'S THROW BACK TO PITCHER
If the batter interferes with the catcher's throw back to the pitcher by stepping out of the batter's
box while at bat (no runners attempting to advance), it shall not be considered interference under
Official Baseball Rule 6.06(c). In such cases, the umpire shall call "Time" only (no interference).
The ball is dead and no runner shall advance on the play.
This interpretation does not, of course, give the batter license to interfere intentionally with the
catcher's throw back to the pitcher, and in such cases the batter shall be called out. If the batter
becomes a runner on ball four and the catcher's throw strikes him or his bat, the ball remains
alive and in play (provided no intentional interference by the batter-runner).
If the batter interferes with the catcher's throw to retire a runner by stepping out of the batter's
box, interference shall be called on the batter under Official Baseball Rule 6.06(c). (See Section
6.8.)
However, if the batter is standing in the batter's box and he or his bat is struck by the catcher's
throw back to the pitcher (or throw in attempting to retire a runner) and, in the umpire's
judgment, there is no intent on the part of the batter to interfere with the throw, the ball is alive
and in play.

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1 hour ago, grayhawk said:

I don't see the play you linked as relevant here.  In that play, the batter hit the catcher with his backswing, but he then stepped out of the box and interfered.  BI was correct there.  Senor Azul's quote from Wendelstedt says, "Another movement inside the box includes:  A recoil after the initial backswing…

Based on that, I think BI is likely the correct call.

If there was a recoil. That’s what to judge or as I said, hang your hat upon. 

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ALDS, October 14, 2015, Game 5, Rangers at Toronto, top of the 7th, 2 outs. Rougned Odor is on third. Shin-Soo-Choo is at bat, 2-2 count. F2 Russell Martin’s return throw to the pitcher hits Choo’s hand and rolls toward third. After first signaling time, plate umpire Dale Scott consults with his crew and New York and allows the run. Martin is charged with an error. Ranger batter Choo was in the batter’s box and so was his bat—here’s the video link

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-omr-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=omr&p=video+of+shin-soo-choo+in+game+5+alds+2015#id=7&vid=c1361d5077418b4e576dd3619290b97c&action=view

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11 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

ALDS, October 14, 2015, Game 5, Rangers at Toronto, top of the 7th, 2 outs. Rougned Odor is on third. Shin-Soo-Choo is at bat, 2-2 count. F2 Russell Martin’s return throw to the pitcher hits Choo’s hand and rolls toward third. After first signaling time, plate umpire Dale Scott consults with his crew and New York and allows the run. Martin is charged with an error. Ranger batter Choo was in the batter’s box and so was his bat—here’s the video link

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-omr-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=omr&p=video+of+shin-soo-choo+in+game+5+alds+2015#id=7&vid=c1361d5077418b4e576dd3619290b97c&action=view

Would it be different if the bat was over the plate?

A note of interest - 2015 was the year MLB put an emphasis on the batters keeping one foot in the box...without that instruction this play never happens as Choo would almost certainly have been out of the box entirely to adjust his sleeves or whatever....and likely changes the texture and atmosphere of one of the more memorable 7th innings in playoff history, with the bottom half featuring two Elvis Andrus errors and a Jose Bautista bat flip.

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Yes, it would be a different ruling if Choo’s bat were over the plate and it was struck by the catcher’s return toss to the pitcher. I think everybody’s favorite rules interpretation manual, the Jaksa/Roder manual, explains it best (2017 edition, Chapter 13, pp. 100-101).

A batter or umpire might interfere with a catcher while no play is being made by the catcher. This is called interference without a play, and when it occurs the ball is dead and runners must return to their last base legally touched before the interference…

The return toss is simply the catcher’s relaxed throw in returning the ball to the pitcher after a pitch. If the batter has interfered in one of four ways mentioned in B of this section, and the return toss contacts him, the ball is dead, and the runners must return. If he has not interfered and the return toss contacts him, it remains live.

It is batter’s interference if the batter hinders the catcher--

Intentionally,

By stumbling or stepping outside the batter’s box,

By abnormal or extraordinary movement inside the batter’s box, or

With his bat

R1. The catcher blocks a pitch in the dirt, ending up behind the batter, who has not moved and is in the batter’s box. The catcher attempts a return toss anyway, and it ricochets off the batter’s bat and rolls into a dugout: the batter has not interfered, so the ball remains live, and R1 is awarded third base.

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