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Old Fri Jan 14, 2005, 05:07pm
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I'll set the stage: It's my first season umpiring(three years ago). I received a call the night before a 12u tournament asking to fill-in. As it turns out, I find myself on the bases in the championship game. I'm not bragging, etc. that's just the way it happened.

The sitch: R2/R3 one out, middle innings, defense ahead by a couple, infielders playing back.
B1 pops-up to a point about halfway between 2B and 3B right on the basepath. R2 starts running, gets a little past the point where the ball is coming down, realizes that there's a good chance he'll be doubled up, and retreats to 2B.
The SS sees the pop-up, but since he's deeper than normal he has to accelerate quickly to get to it. He takes about four or five full-speed steps, sees R2 crossing about six-eight feet in front of him, and stops completely. R2 doesn't stop after he reverses direction.

I ruled no interference. (I realize that for any of you to rule on this YHTBT.) In my judgement(key words to be sure) if the SS had continued to where the ball was coming down he would have had a play on the ball. R2 was clearing the area the SS needed in order to make the play. I think that the SS let himself get distracted by R2 crossing his field of vision.

Which leads to my question: What guidelines do any of you have when ruling on a play such as this? Is contact required in order to call interference? Or can the defense claim interference by distraction? Just how close do the players involved have to be to each other?
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Old Fri Jan 14, 2005, 11:00pm
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As I visualize the situation you describe I think the F6 stopped because he thought he was about to collide with the runner. If that's what I judge, I would call that interference. The runner's obligation to clear out for the fielder is absolute.
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Old Sat Jan 15, 2005, 01:34am
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If you have contact, you need to make a call, but there does not need to be contact to make a call.
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Old Sat Jan 15, 2005, 01:35am
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Call the interference

Quote:
Originally posted by dddunn3d
I'll set the stage: It's my first season umpiring(three years ago). I received a call the night before a 12u tournament asking to fill-in. As it turns out, I find myself on the bases in the championship game. I'm not bragging, etc. that's just the way it happened.

The sitch: R2/R3 one out, middle innings, defense ahead by a couple, infielders playing back.
B1 pops-up to a point about halfway between 2B and 3B right on the basepath. R2 starts running, gets a little past the point where the ball is coming down, realizes that there's a good chance he'll be doubled up, and retreats to 2B.
The SS sees the pop-up, but since he's deeper than normal he has to accelerate quickly to get to it. He takes about four or five full-speed steps, sees R2 crossing about six-eight feet in front of him, and stops completely. R2 doesn't stop after he reverses direction.

I ruled no interference. (I realize that for any of you to rule on this YHTBT.) In my judgement(key words to be sure) if the SS had continued to where the ball was coming down he would have had a play on the ball. R2 was clearing the area the SS needed in order to make the play. I think that the SS let himself get distracted by R2 crossing his field of vision.

Which leads to my question: What guidelines do any of you have when ruling on a play such as this? Is contact required in order to call interference? Or can the defense claim interference by distraction? Just how close do the players involved have to be to each other?
To me I see this as interference. Especially considering that this is 12U.

Even in HS, if R2 is in the way of F6 making the play, the coach is going to expect the interference call.

Thanks
David

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Old Sat Jan 15, 2005, 05:53am
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I was in 'C' so I was right there. The way I saw it, if the SS had continued straight to the ball without hesitation he would have passed at least three-four feet behind the retreating R2. I figured that since R2 had cleared the straight-line path needed by the SS to make the play and was headed away from that path, it became incumbent upon the SS to realize that he could continue unhindered. I have a tough time making an interference call if the runner has cleared the path needed by the fielder making a play. And that for me is the crux of the matter. If the relative positions of R2/SS were reversed, with R2 running into the SS's path, then yes I call that interference. In the reverse situation it is absolutely incumbent upon the runner to avoid the fielder making the play.
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Old Sat Jan 15, 2005, 06:33am
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The way you added on the R2 had already cleared out of the way then I would say no interference. SS needs to get after the ball.
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Old Sat Jan 15, 2005, 08:24pm
DG DG is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dddunn3d
I'll set the stage: It's my first season umpiring(three years ago). I received a call the night before a 12u tournament asking to fill-in. As it turns out, I find myself on the bases in the championship game. I'm not bragging, etc. that's just the way it happened.

The sitch: R2/R3 one out, middle innings, defense ahead by a couple, infielders playing back.
B1 pops-up to a point about halfway between 2B and 3B right on the basepath. R2 starts running, gets a little past the point where the ball is coming down, realizes that there's a good chance he'll be doubled up, and retreats to 2B.
The SS sees the pop-up, but since he's deeper than normal he has to accelerate quickly to get to it. He takes about four or five full-speed steps, sees R2 crossing about six-eight feet in front of him, and stops completely. R2 doesn't stop after he reverses direction.

I ruled no interference. (I realize that for any of you to rule on this YHTBT.) In my judgement(key words to be sure) if the SS had continued to where the ball was coming down he would have had a play on the ball. R2 was clearing the area the SS needed in order to make the play. I think that the SS let himself get distracted by R2 crossing his field of vision.

Which leads to my question: What guidelines do any of you have when ruling on a play such as this? Is contact required in order to call interference? Or can the defense claim interference by distraction? Just how close do the players involved have to be to each other?
The SS quit, on an attempt to catch a fly ball. Fielders should never give up on a fly ball and umpires should not reward the defense when they do.
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 09:42am
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Quote:
Originally posted by DG

The SS quit, on an attempt to catch a fly ball. Fielders should never give up on a fly ball and umpires should not reward the defense when they do.
If they "quit" in an attempt to avoid a collision with a runner, then it is the runner who is at fault for not yielding to the fielder. A collision is not a prerequisite for an interference call, and that was what I assumed was the crux of the poster's question in his original post. His later clarifications put such fine distinctions on who was doing what exactly when that it became a "you had to be there" play, impossible to rule on accuratley from the mere written description.
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 01:11pm
DG DG is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Hensley
Quote:
Originally posted by DG

The SS quit, on an attempt to catch a fly ball. Fielders should never give up on a fly ball and umpires should not reward the defense when they do.
If they "quit" in an attempt to avoid a collision with a runner, then it is the runner who is at fault for not yielding to the fielder. A collision is not a prerequisite for an interference call, and that was what I assumed was the crux of the poster's question in his original post. His later clarifications put such fine distinctions on who was doing what exactly when that it became a "you had to be there" play, impossible to rule on accuratley from the mere written description.
A runner who does not avoid a fielder making a play on a ball is guilty of interference. A fielder who quits on a ball to avoid a runner is guilty of poor fielding.

"if a runner fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball or if a runner hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball, the runner shall be called out for interference." [PBUC]

"A fielder is protected if he is trying to field a batted ball.... A fielder is "trying to field" (or "in the act of fielding") a ball when he is positioning himself for the purpose of trying to glove a rapidly approaching ball". [J/R]

The SS in this play has the right of way, and he is yielding the right of way so the runner will not be called for interference. Don't quit on the ball and he will get a catch or a call, if the runner does not avoid him.
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 02:13pm
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Exclamation The Manager's Reply

After I had explained what I saw on the play and why I ruled the way I did, the defensive manager(while turning away) said, "I'll just tell him next time to run into the runner." And there you have it. I agree with DG that a fielder who quits on the ball is not helping himself to get the interference call.

One step further: How about this same situation but instead as R2 turns back for 2B he realizes he may run into the SS, and stops completely before crossing the SS's path. At the same time the SS also stops because he thinks he may be run into by R2. Now we have two players in the middle of the infield just standing there. How would you rule in this instance?
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 02:28pm
DG DG is offline
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Re: The Manager's Reply

Quote:
Originally posted by dddunn3d
After I had explained what I saw on the play and why I ruled the way I did, the defensive manager(while turning away) said, "I'll just tell him next time to run into the runner." And there you have it. I agree with DG that a fielder who quits on the ball is not helping himself to get the interference call.

One step further: How about this same situation but instead as R2 turns back for 2B he realizes he may run into the SS, and stops completely before crossing the SS's path. At the same time the SS also stops because he thinks he may be run into by R2. Now we have two players in the middle of the infield just standing there. How would you rule in this instance?
I would never coach a fielder to run into runners. That could lead to an obstruction call. I would coach them to never give up on a batted ball (fly or grounder)and the rest will take care of itself. The fielder is not out there to draw interference calls, he is out there to field his position.

On your one step further play; there is nothing to rule on unless something else you have not mentioned happens, like the runner contacts the SS as he reaches for the bouncing ball. The runner avoided the fielder, which he must do, and the fielder gave up on the ball, which he should not do. It bounced, I would rule on what happens next, if anything does.

[Edited by DG on Jan 16th, 2005 at 02:35 PM]
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 04:55pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by DG
A runner who does not avoid a fielder making a play on a ball is guilty of interference. A fielder who quits on a ball to avoid a runner is guilty of poor fielding.
The inclusion of the phrase I have underlined above makes your statement false. It implies that the fielder must "draw contact" in order to get the interference call. That's a very unfortunate (and unsafe for the players) umpiring myth that consultation with any legitimate umpire clinician will quickly dispel.

The citations you provided do not support the belief that a collision must occur in order for interference to be called.

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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 06:40pm
DG DG is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Hensley
Quote:
Originally posted by DG
A runner who does not avoid a fielder making a play on a ball is guilty of interference. A fielder who quits on a ball to avoid a runner is guilty of poor fielding.
The inclusion of the phrase I have underlined above makes your statement false. It implies that the fielder must "draw contact" in order to get the interference call. That's a very unfortunate (and unsafe for the players) umpiring myth that consultation with any legitimate umpire clinician will quickly dispel.

The citations you provided do not support the belief that a collision must occur in order for interference to be called.

I never said a collision must occur in order for interference to be called. The citations I provided were to illustrate the obligation on the part of the runner to avoid the fielder, "who is making a play", not to illustrate that a fielder who has given up on the play should be rewarded for his lack of effort. I believe I said I would not coach a fielder to run into the runner (ie "draw contact") but I would coach him to not give up on the ball and the rest will take care of itself.
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 07:36pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by DG
I never said a collision must occur in order for interference to be called.
You said a fielder who quits on a ball in order to avoid a runner should not get an interference call, and the logical interpretation of that statement is that the fielder would have to continue on and run into the runner, in order to get the interference call from you.

A fielder who inexplicably quits on a ball, I would agree does not deserve an interference call just because a runner is in the vicinity. But if the fielder clearly alters his path - including stopping in his tracks - because a runner's path is blocking the fielder's path to the ball, then that is interference and should be called.

If you wish to replace "to avoid a runner" with "inexplicably" in your statement, then I will agree with you. If you insist on including the condition "to avoid a runner," then I continue to insist you are wrong.
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Old Sun Jan 16, 2005, 07:49pm
DG DG is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Hensley
Quote:
Originally posted by DG
I never said a collision must occur in order for interference to be called.
You said a fielder who quits on a ball in order to avoid a runner should not get an interference call, and the logical interpretation of that statement is that the fielder would have to continue on and run into the runner, in order to get the interference call from you.

A fielder who inexplicably quits on a ball, I would agree does not deserve an interference call just because a runner is in the vicinity. But if the fielder clearly alters his path - including stopping in his tracks - because a runner's path is blocking the fielder's path to the ball, then that is interference and should be called.

If you wish to replace "to avoid a runner" with "inexplicably" in your statement, then I will agree with you. If you insist on including the condition "to avoid a runner," then I continue to insist you are wrong.
I had to look "inexplicably" up before I could respond. Thanks for agreeing with me, because I find it "inexplicable" for a SS to quit on a fly ball because a runner is nearby (although it is arguable that 6-8 feet away is nearby), even a 12 year old SS, and I find it "inexplicable" for a defensive coach to expect an interference call on this play.
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