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Runner interference on a force out at homeplate


SoonerWes
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So if the slide wasn't malicious, where was the interference? What did he interfere with?

Sounds like the runner fulfilled the requirements of 7.08 (a) (3). He slid cleanly, so I don't have an out for not sliding or attempting to get around a field with the ball.

The only call here is safe or out. If you deemed that the fielder fulfilled the requirements of a tag, then the runner is out. If you feel like the fielder didn't maintain secure possession of the ball throughout the tag attempt, the the runner would be safe. Review the definition of a tag in 2.00, definition of terms.

As described, I probably have an out, and nothing else.

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Quote

He made contact with the catcher after the ball arrived to home plate.

This account does not satisfy the definition of runner interference. If the slide was legal, play the bounce. It's on the defense to move off the base during a force play.

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[QUOTE]Review the definition of a tag[/QUOTE]

For the poster's information:

A TAG is the action of a fielder in touching a base with his body
while holding the ball securely and firmly in his hand or glove; or touching
a runner with the ball, or with his hand or glove holding the ball
(not including hanging laces alone), while holding the ball securely and
firmly in his hand or glove. It is not a tag, however, if simultaneously
or immediately following his touching a base or touching a runner, the
fielder drops the ball. In establishing the validity of the tag, the fielder
shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of
the ball. If the fielder has made a tag and drops the ball while in the act
of making a throw following the tag, the tag shall be adjudged to have
been made.

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As you describe it, and I thought you did a good job providing information, I just have him out at home on the force; no interference.  As for the dropping of the ball, if it popped out when the runner got him, probably safe.  If it came out from him reacting to the catcher getting him, I still have the out.

Now, there may be some different direction given by your local association or the organization based on history we do not know.  It could be there is a history of bad plays at the plate ("head hunting") where kids got hurt and they want you to call slides at the plate extremely (overly?) tight.  In that case, they sign your game check.  Just don't carry that interp into other orgs/levels.  

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28 minutes ago, The Man in Blue said:

As you describe it, and I thought you did a good job providing information, I just have him out at home on the force; no interference.  As for the dropping of the ball, if it popped out when the runner got him, probably safe.  If it came out from him reacting to the catcher getting him, I still have the out.

Now, there may be some different direction given by your local association or the organization based on history we do not know.  It could be there is a history of bad plays at the plate ("head hunting") where kids got hurt and they want you to call slides at the plate extremely (overly?) tight.  In that case, they sign your game check.  Just don't carry that interp into other orgs/levels.  

So you wouldn't call the retired runner out for continuing to slide? 

https://umpire-empire.com/topic/77438-illegal-to-run-to-first-after-striking-out-with-no-dts-in-effect/?do=findComment&comment=408708

 

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5 hours ago, Jimurray said:

So you wouldn't call the retired runner out for continuing to slide? 

Not as described: legal slide at about the time of the tag.

Now, if he had the opportunity to pull up after seeing that he had been retired, the situation might be different. But it might be different in approximately 10^7 ways, all of them irrelevant to the OP.

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1 minute ago, maven said:

Not as described: legal slide at about the time of the tag.

Now, if he had the opportunity to pull up after seeing that he had been retired, the situation might be different. But it might be different in approximately 10^7 ways, all of them irrelevant to the OP.

So are we requiring runners to pull up once they see the base tagged with secure possession of the ball? Doesn't OBR allow a retired runner to continue or start a bona fide slide? 

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8 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

So are we requiring runners to pull up once they see the base tagged with secure possession of the ball? Doesn't OBR allow a retired runner to continue or start a bona fide slide? 

Retired runners are not guilty of interference for merely continuing to run the bases after being retired. That is, they may run, provided they don't hinder the defense.

IIRC, Wendelstedt drops the bar for INT pretty fast once a runner is retired—I'm not sure he leaves any window of time there. He certainly seems to turn the switch from "INT must be intentional" for runners, to "INT may be negligent" for retired runners virtually instantly.

I don't think I'd enforce it that way in amateur baseball.

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1 hour ago, maven said:

Retired runners are not guilty of interference for merely continuing to run the bases after being retired. That is, they may run, provided they don't hinder the defense.

IIRC, Wendelstedt drops the bar for INT pretty fast once a runner is retired—I'm not sure he leaves any window of time there. He certainly seems to turn the switch from "INT must be intentional" for runners, to "INT may be negligent" for retired runners virtually instantly.

I don't think I'd enforce it that way in amateur baseball.

The switch between intentional and negligent is the difference between a retired runner running the bases normally and a retired runner leaving the basepath to go to the dugout. Running the bases normally includes freezing between bases, overrunning 1B, returning to a base even in error and sliding into a base. Before OBR included the bona fide slide rule in the rules, it always having been an interp that was not enforced strongly, Wendelstedt said in the WUM that "that act alone" is what allowed a runner to slide and take out the pivot man even though he was out at some point in his approach to the forced base.

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Thanks for the replies.  By the descriptions in the rulebook, this situation isn’t runner interference.  What I’m hung up on is the contact by the runner and the catcher subsequently dropping the ball. Maybe that doesn’t matter in this specific scenario and the catcher just didn’t make a legal catch.  He didn’t possess the ball all the way through the play????

The past two seasons have been rough.  I’ve had about ten weird situations on the field where I thought to myself, “What did I just see there?” That’s baseball…just when you think you’ve seen it all, here comes a new one that you can’t fully resolve.

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On 5/26/2022 at 10:23 PM, JonnyCat said:

So if the slide wasn't malicious, where was the interference? What did he interfere with?

Sounds like the runner fulfilled the requirements of 7.08 (a) (3). He slid cleanly, so I don't have an out for not sliding or attempting to get around a field with the ball.

The only call here is safe or out. If you deemed that the fielder fulfilled the requirements of a tag, then the runner is out. If you feel like the fielder didn't maintain secure possession of the ball throughout the tag attempt, the the runner would be safe. Review the definition of a tag in 2.00, definition of terms.

As described, I probably have an out, and nothing else.

Thank you for this post.  I talked this through with a buddy of mine who is a veteran umpire and knows the LL rulebook inside and out.  He immediately went to the definition of “tag” and said that should have been the focus of my call - not interference or if it was a legal catch.  In my judgement, the catcher made a proper tag on homeplate and therefore the runner was out. Thanks again.

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16 hours ago, SoonerWes said:

Maybe that doesn’t matter in this specific scenario and the catcher just didn’t make a legal catch.  He didn’t possess the ball all the way through the play?

Remember that the requirements for CATCH are different from the requirements for TAG.

A CATCH (of a fly ball) requires both of 2 separate acts: secure possession of the ball in hand or glove, AND voluntary release.

A TAG requires secure possession of the ball in hand or glove throughout the tag. On a force play, that's long enough to touch the base. The brevity of that moment explains why pro umpires are so generous calling it "on the transfer" when a middle infielder drops the ball during a double play attempt.

Thus, the retired runner causing the ball to pop out during the force play in the OP is nothing. Had it been a tag play and the ball popped out during the tag, that would be evidence that the ball was not held securely—IIRC, a comment in the book states as much.

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On 5/27/2022 at 9:24 PM, SoonerWes said:

Thanks for the replies.  By the descriptions in the rulebook, this situation isn’t runner interference.  What I’m hung up on is the contact by the runner and the catcher subsequently dropping the ball. Maybe that doesn’t matter in this specific scenario and the catcher just didn’t make a legal catch.  He didn’t possess the ball all the way through the play????

The past two seasons have been rough.  I’ve had about ten weird situations on the field where I thought to myself, “What did I just see there?” That’s baseball…just when you think you’ve seen it all, here comes a new one that you can’t fully resolve.


Even when you get to year 12 and year 22 … you will still have ten (probably more) weird situations that make you take pause and wonder what you saw.  The fact that you are picking those things up and are aware of them is A GOOD SIGN! 😁
 

In fact, I would say it shows that you want to learn.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

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Mr. SoonerWes, I recommend that you get a copy of the Little League Rules Instruction Manual. Frankly, I am surprised that no one has referred to it yet because it does offer help to answer your question. The following is taken from the 2022 LL Rules Instruction Manual—the definition of the term tag and the following comments from the LL clinic instructors (this is what LL teaches its umpires)—

A TAG is the action of a fielder in touching a base with the body while holding the ball securely and firmly in the hand or glove; or touching a runner with the ball or with the hand or glove holding the ball.

INSTRUCTOR'S COMMENTS: 

During a tag play where the fielder touches a runner, the ball must be held securely in either the fielder’s hand or glove touching the runner throughout the play. 

On a thrown ball, which may result in a “force out”, voluntary and intentional release of the ball is a good indication of the fielder having held the ball firmly and securely in the hand or glove, but IT IS NOT A REQUIREMENT. 

As you can see there is a slightly different standard for a tag of a runner as opposed to a tag of a base. If, in your scenario, you judged the catcher had secure possession at the moment of stepping on the plate for the force out then you have an out no matter what happens later.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm confused on some of the responses here....it was a force out, he didn't need to make a tag. (I know you're applying the 'maintain control aspect). 

So, since it was a force out, if the slide was just standard base running, where he slid into the plate cleanly, and there was no intentional interference, you just let the play continue with nothing. However, if you deem the slide to be out of the ordinary, then with that retired runner causing interference, wouldn't you then call R2 out (the runner closest to home).
So, it's either nothing, or R3 is out on the force, and R2 is out on the interference, correct?

These are my interpretations, as I'm relatively new to the umping scene. Help me out:)

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