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Spectator interference


TopHat64
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Question

Very weird 10U play I had on an unenclosed field (FED rules). With runners on first and second base, batter hits a fair ground ball down the left-field line. The outfield was playing way in, so it takes a while for F7 to chase it down. The ball rolls under the lawn chairs of several parents who were sitting down the line in live ball territory (yes, I should have told them not to sit there, but hindsight's 20/20). One of them reaches down and grabs the ball before F7 gets there. BR had rounded second base already before the ball got there, so it would have been at least a triple normally. 

However, I also judged that if the ball hadn't hit the lawn chairs and been stopped there, it probably would've rolled past the fence line into dead ball territory before F7 got there. By 8-3-3(e) then, I only awarded BR second, R1 third and R2 home reasoning that "nullifying" the spectator interference, it would've rolled out of play and so would've been a "ground-rule" double. Was not a fun explanation to offensive head coach.

Any advice on this play? Does this award sound correct even though it doesn't really make sense in terms of fairness? Thanks.

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First, and you already realized the issue, get the parents out of the field of play.

However, in your situation, I would kill the ball and award 2 bases, treating it as a ground rule double. 

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I can't say you were wrong, because I think this is a HTBT situation. That said, based on your description alone I would've probably awarded the B/R one base past the one last legally touched (so 3B, if I understand the situation correctly), which would've scored R1 and R2.

Ultimately, I'm a firm believer in trust your gut. If the situation was such your gut told you to award the B/R 2B, then go with it.

Edited by 834k3r
Changed 3B to 2B to clarify what I meant.
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22 hours ago, TopHat64 said:

10U play I had on an unenclosed field (FED rules).
One of them reaches down and grabs the ball before F7 gets there. 

However, I also judged that if the ball hadn't hit the lawn chairs and been stopped there, it probably would've rolled past the fence line into dead ball territory anyway. 

Any advice on this play?

Whose parents was it? 🤔 

That’s a very fair question to ask! Not that it becomes part of your judgements, at this age level / in this context, but you can definitely use that in your explanation to a/the coach(es), “Hey, we’re all parents here. There was nothing malicious or intentional here. If it’d had been your own parents, I’d rule the same thing.” And, since you mentioned this simply say, “It was headed out of play anyway, so this shall be a ground-rule double.” 

We must remember, the origins of baseball are on fields with few-to-no fences, and spectators used to be crowded up to the limits of play… 

… until someone got some rope, and created a boundary… with rope. 
So to insist on a fully enclosed playing field is pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking (not saying that you are, TopHat, I’ve just worked alongside guys that have. 🙄). This is 10U. There are no national implications, this isn’t being broadcast, and everyone’s going to get ice cream.

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19 minutes ago, MadMax said:

this isn’t being broadcast

I will bet an ice cream that there is at least 1, if not 75 cell phones attached to the back stop live streaming the game on Game Changer! 😵

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28 minutes ago, Mudisfun said:

if not 75 cell phones attached to the back stop live streaming the game on Game Changer! 

And the public wonders why Major League Baseball closed down 45 Minor League clubs… 

1. The NFL has been eating MLB’s lunch, with one big reason being the lack of a complex farm / minor league system to subsidize and lug around. College football – primarily paid by Tom & Tina Taxpayer – is the NFL’s minor league. 

2. There’s much less need to evaluate talent in live-ball / live-arm games, practices, and work-outs, under the umbrella of a minor league contract. There’s _years_ of video on these kids now, stretching back to when they were – yes – 9-10 years old, showing their progression. Scouts now spend much less time on the road, and much, much more time as video analysts. 

I knew that a line had been crossed when I saw parents jostle for position… on where to attach the phone-camera / GoPro / whatever on the backstop… of a 13U game. 🤨

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14 hours ago, MadMax said:

And the public wonders why Major League Baseball closed down 45 Minor League clubs… 

1. The NFL has been eating MLB’s lunch, with one big reason being the lack of a complex farm / minor league system to subsidize and lug around. College football – primarily paid by Tom & Tina Taxpayer – is the NFL’s minor league. 

2. There’s much less need to evaluate talent in live-ball / live-arm games, practices, and work-outs, under the umbrella of a minor league contract. There’s _years_ of video on these kids now, stretching back to when they were – yes – 9-10 years old, showing their progression. Scouts now spend much less time on the road, and much, much more time as video analysts. 

I knew that a line had been crossed when I saw parents jostle for position… on where to attach the phone-camera / GoPro / whatever on the backstop… of a 13U game. 🤨

Something to think about ---- there are hours of footage of our "good side" on these people's cameras.  

I know it's silly, but it used to bug me a little as I thought about it.  I grew up very conservative and was taught modesty in all things, so it bugged me to be squatting in front of all these cameras - until I realized, no one is even noticing me at all. I'm invisible - unless I screw up.

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3 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

Something to think about ---- there are hours of footage of our "good side" on these people's cameras.  

I know it's silly, but it used to bug me a little as I thought about it.  I grew up very conservative and was taught modesty in all things, so it bugged me to be squatting in front of all these cameras - until I realized, no one is even noticing me at all. I'm invisible - unless I screw up.

I have thought about (but never have) asking people to share the recorded games with me so I could critique myself.

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1 minute ago, The Man in Blue said:

I have thought about (but never have) asking people to share the recorded games with me so I could critique myself.

Right! So many times I have wanted to ask for the video for the same reason.  And to see if I got the call right on a banger at times.  But I always end up thinking it would be unprofessional and talk myself out of it every time.

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5 minutes ago, 834k3r said:

Isn't that what we should strive for as sport officials, not just umpires?

:sarcasm: Are you suggesting that all of the people at these baseball games did NOT come to see and hear from me?

My good sir, you have crushed my spirit! I'm offended greatly by these revelations! :sarcasm:

Strive (verb) - a well-intended action that is impossible to achieve

 

As officials, we may hope to be invisible - but we all know it is impossible.  We have to make calls which puts the focus on us, rightly or wrongly.  There is no such thing, in reality, as an invisible official. 

But I will agree with the idea behind your comments as a good goal to attempt to achieve each game, no matter how impossible the task. I always leave a game thinking, how much did I impact this game?  Did I honestly give one team a greater advantage than another with my calls?  And as I see on MLB umpire charts, they track call favor-ability to see which team was more favored from the B/S calls - so we all do it, in spite of our best efforts to be neutral.

 

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3 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

As officials, we may hope to be invisible - but we all know it is impossible.  We have to make calls which puts the focus on us, rightly or wrongly.  There is no such thing, in reality, as an invisible official. 

But I will agree with the idea behind your comments as a good goal to attempt to achieve each game, no matter how impossible the task. I always leave a game thinking, how much did I impact this game?  Did I honestly give one team a greater advantage than another with my calls?  And as I see on MLB umpire charts, they track call favor-ability to see which team was more favored from the B/S calls - so we all do it, in spite of our best efforts to be neutral.

Absolutely. I want to be "invisible"--but am disappointed when I don't get to break out a good banger. Cognitively, I know that I should be invisible; subconsciously I want people to notice me and appreciate my hard work.

It's that subconscious part that's harder to eliminate.

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21 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

As officials, we may hope to be invisible

 

14 minutes ago, 834k3r said:

I want to be "invisible"

I recommend reconsidering this objective. If you want to be invisible, don't show up.

We should aim to be as visible as required. Sometimes, we need to be both visible and audible: close calls, unusual calls, game temperature adjustments. If we're invisible for those, games get ugly.

Sometimes, we do need to be minimally visible: routine plays, expected calls that are also correct calls, petty or minor instances of silly, macho, or otherwise ignorable behavior.

Yet even there, we need to project an authority that indicates we are allowing the behavior for the moment in the interest of moving the game along.

For me, that's the opposite of invisibility.

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4 minutes ago, maven said:

 

I recommend reconsidering this objective. If you want to be invisible, don't show up.

We should aim to be as visible as required. Sometimes, we need to be both visible and audible: close calls, unusual calls, game temperature adjustments. If we're invisible for those, games get ugly.

Sometimes, we do need to be minimally visible: routine plays, expected calls that are also correct calls, petty or minor instances of silly, macho, or otherwise ignorable behavior.

Yet even there, we need to project an authority that indicates we are allowing the behavior for the moment in the interest of moving the game along.

For me, that's the opposite of invisibility.

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