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Old Tue Jul 15, 2003, 03:01pm
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Here is the play that occurred, my immediate ruling, a few suggestions for alternate rulings, and the verdict handed down FROM ABOVE.

PLAY- Runner on 2nd, no outs. BR hits basehit to RF. R2 heads for home. BR holds up at 1st. Throw home pulls catcher behind plate- 5ft. down 3rd base line extended and AIRBORNE. Catcher jumps for ball and catches it. As catcher is airborne and prone, R2 touches plate and TO AVOID KNOCKING THE CATCHER OVER, catches him. When R2 sets catcher down, catcher falls. At THIS point, BR breaks for 2nd, goes in standing up- no throw.

IMMEDIATE RULING-
-Ball is dead, BR back to first, R2 scores.

ALTERNATE RULINGS OFFERRED BY OTHER UMPIRES-
-Interference, R2 scores, BR out.
-No Call, R2 scores, BR stays at second.
-Intentional interference, R2 is out (no run), BR is out.
-Intentional interference, R2 is out and ejected (no run), BR is out.

RULING FROM ABOVE-
-This is the email sent to me from the rules committee

If the runner who just scored interfered with the catcher intentionally to assist his teammate in reaching second, I would call the B/R out for the interference of his teammate. This would be the same logic as 7.09(f) when a runner who has just been put out interferes with a play being made on another runner. In your case, the runner guilty of the interference hasn't been put out, but has scored. You can't declare HIM out for the interference because he has already legally scored before the interference ... that's why I'd apply the 7.09(f) rationale.
However, if the interference was unintentional and incidental (if he caught the catcher more to protect himself and/or the catcher) then I think you could get away with interpreting it as "weak interference". This is a term not used in the rule book, but is much the same as in 6.06 where a batter interferes unintentionally with the catcher on his backswing. He has interfered, and the ball is dead, but there's no out on the play and runners can not advance. This is basically what you did by killing the play (I assume) and returning the B/R to first.


What do you guys think???



Bainer.
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Old Tue Jul 15, 2003, 03:29pm
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I'm trying to understand how F2 can be "airborn and prone", be 5 ft. from the plate, catch the ball yet not tag out R2 due to R2's previous touching of the plate.

Still, with that said, it's certainly a HTBT play.
It sounds as if R2 was moreso protecting himself from the airborn catcher than catching the catcher. IMO, a runner has a right to protect himself in such situations, and the contact would be neither inteference nor obstruction, but merely incidental contact.

I seriously doubt if I'd consider an interference call on R2 unless I judged some action of R2 to be an intentional attempt to interfere with F2's opportunity to make further play on the BR.


Freix
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Old Tue Jul 15, 2003, 03:33pm
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Clarification-

Sorry for any confusion, but it was the CATCHER, not R2 who was airborne and prone.

The catcher lept for the ball behind the plate, on the line (3b extended), and was still up in the air when caught by R2.


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Old Tue Jul 15, 2003, 03:35pm
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Talk about a HTBT play!

I'd most likely go with the "weak" interference and send the runner back to 1B. Had a similar play a few years ago:

Abel on 1B, Baker hit a soft liner that F6 jumped up and speared. Abel had started for 2B and tried to scramble back to 1B. F6, seemingly still in the air, threw off balance to double up Abel, but his throw was not strong. Abel slid safe into 1B, and his momentum carried him up into F3, who was bending over a bit to field the now-rolling ball. To soften the collision, Abel reached out and briefly put his hands on F3's arms. F3 tried to move to his left to stop the ball, but in the tangle, he fell and the ball rolled out of play.

I gave Abel 3B, but reversed myself after thinking about it and sent Abel back to 1B.

It seemed to be enough interference to prevent Abel from getting 3B, but not enough to warrant his being called out. It seemed to me that he had done everything legally and then simply instinctively tried to protect both himself and F3.
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Old Tue Jul 15, 2003, 05:11pm
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Re: Clarification-

Quote:
Originally posted by Bainer
Sorry for any confusion, but it was the CATCHER, not R2 who was airborne and prone.

The catcher lept for the ball behind the plate, on the line (3b extended), and was still up in the air when caught by R2.


Bainer.
No confusion, for most of us at least. Your original, unedited post quite specifically mentioned that it was the catcher who was airborne and 5 feet from the plate down 3rd base line extended.

FWIW, I think both you and the rules committee each made a great call - yours in far more difficult circumstances, though. The parallel with 7.09(f) is clear and was well noted.

I thought their reference to 6.06c was a bit obscure. It appears as though they referred to that passage merely to explain why the runner who had already scored wouldn't be out absent any intent. They had previously covered that option by saying you couldn't call that runner out because he had already legally scored.

Instead they might have used the 6.06c penalty for regular batter interference to partially parallel the penalty on your play - if the runner being played on is retired the out stands, and if not the runner returns.

At least they resisted the temptation to resort to an already overworked 9.01(c)!

The umpires who called interference on the play need to consider that the rules require deliberate INTENT to interfere with a thrown ball. I thought your scenario clearly ruled that out on the throw to F2, and the BR evidently didn't attempt to advance until AFTER the R2 had set the catcher down again and he subsequently fell to the ground. It could be argued, therefore, that R2's influence over the following play had already ended before the BR attempted to advance. Maybe it was the catcher's own disorientation that caused him to lose his feet, and nothing R2 had previously done need be implicated in that at all.

What's more, since there was NO double play possible when the alleged interference occurred, the two umpires who had BOTH R2 and the BR out (like the catcher) simply wouldn't have had a leg to stand on.

Good call

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Old Mon Jul 28, 2003, 10:49am
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Post Ruling is Official

The ruling that I made, and that was agreed upon by the 'Powers That Be' has been upheld by my association, and will be used if this ever happens again (yeah, RIGHT!).
They decided that this 'soft interference' business is valid- I fear though, that it will be used again and again and again- completely out of context!


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