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Old Wed Oct 07, 2020, 12:00pm
Manny A Manny A is offline
Stirrer of the Pot
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Lowcountry, SC
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Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
OK, so there we have one "extreme", which may be summarized as "player doing some action not common to the game" and thereby interfering with play. But what about the opposite extreme, wherein the retiree does some action very common to the game, and gets in the way of the ball?
I was merely providing an example to counter the statement by robbie that it is never interference with a thrown ball unless there is intent. As I mentioned in my first post, NFHS no longer requires intent for there to be interference by a retired runner.

Originally Posted by Robert Goodman View Post
If the one originally posed isn't a clear enough case of the latter because she could see the ball coming, how about this one:

1-hopper batted to 1B, fielded there. R1 with her back to the play doesn't know F3 hasn't touched the base. F3 throws to F4, and R1 does a quick turnaround to try to get back to 1B, where she thinks she'd be safe. F4 tags her in the back but she doesn't feel it, only the umpire sees the ball touch her shirt. Then F4, knowing the BR is still forced, attempts a throw that hits the already-retired runner in the back.
I would agree with you that this shouldn't be interference because the retired runner did something "very common" as you mentioned. No different than a force play at home with the bases loaded where the retired R1 slides into F2 who still has her foot near the plate and disrupts her throw to first to double-up the BR.

The play that keeps being brought up every year (there's even a video of it from a HS game in NJ) is the one like the OP where R1 is retired at second base on the front end of the DP, and then when F4 turns to throw to first base, R1 is still upright very close to second base and gets hit with the throw. Many umpires argue that R1 did nothing wrong, that she just can't disappear after being retired, or some other argument to claim there was no interference.

But to me, the "very common" move that R1 should execute in this play is sliding into second base. Going in standing up on such as close force play at second is not good fundamental softball. It shows no intent to get to the bag safely. Frankly, I even feel that when a runner does that, she IS intent on hindering F4's throw to first.

Even the NCAA feels that way, given this case play:

A.R. 12-60. With a runner on first base, the batter hits a ground ball to the second baseman. She fields the ball cleanly and tosses it to the shortstop for the first out of the inning. As the runner is in the baseline between first and second, the shortstop attempts to throw the ball to first base to complete a double play, however, her throw hits the runner or her attached equipment or the actions of the base runner cause the fielder to have to alter her throw. The batter-runner reaches first.

RULING: The benefit of the doubt goes to the defense who must be allowed the opportunity to make or complete a play since retired runners are not afforded the same protection as live runners. The base runner closest to home would be declared out if a retired runner interfered with a defender’s opportunity to make a play. The umpires must consider these factors: (1) Does the retired runner make a legitimate attempt not to interfere with the throw (e.g. slides if she’s close enough to the bag, veer to get out of the throwing lane or drop/duck to avoid the thrown ball)? (2) Does the defensive player intentionally try to throw at the retired runner whose actions would otherwise not impact the throw? (3) Is it simply an errant throw? In these three situations, the retired runner would not be charged with interference and the ball would remain alive. These same three factors would apply to a batter who has struck out and is still in the batter’s box when she interferes with catcher’s attempt to throw out a baserunner.
(Rules and 11.20.3 EFFECT and Exception)
Unfortunately, there is nothing similar in writing that I could find for any other sanction, which is what Joe is looking for.
"Let's face it. Umpiring is not an easy or happy way to make a living. In the abuse they suffer, and the pay they get for it, you see an imbalance that can only be explained by their need to stay close to a game they can't resist." -- Bob Uecker
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