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Old Fri Aug 14, 2020, 10:26am
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Question Umpire Interference - Dropped 3rd strike

Taken from Facebook group…..Situation: USA Fast Pitch Softball, 2 outs, runner on first. Catcher short hops a swinging strike 3 call. Batter becomes batter/runner and is heading for first. Catcher attempts throw to 2nd base to retire what she thought was a runner stealing. Umpire interferes with her throw and ball sails into left field. Both runners are now at 1st and 2nd. What’s the mechanic and correct call?

My call would have been: Call umpire interference, dead ball and runner returns to 1st base. Batter is out. My logic: Because catcher was trying to put out a runner advancing the interference stands even though the runner was forced to the next base. The batter cannot run on dropped 3rd strike because I called interference and immediate dead ball. I put the runner back just as if it was a called 3rd strike w/out the dropped issue. Correct logic or would I have screwed this call up?

Researching book, nothing I’ve found “directly” addresses this issue. Examples given are runner attempting to steal and she intended to steal but wasn’t because she was forced as soon as dropped 3rd strike situation occurred.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2020, 12:56pm
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I’ll throw out a couple of thoughts first.

Umpire INT is not an immediate DB. It’s a delayed DB.
In INT committed by an offensive player or coach, we would have an immediate DB and SOMEbody would be ruled out.
Calling the BR out as a result of UMP/INT is not correct.
A moot point, but following your logic, there were 2 outs, you called batter out, pointless to put the other runner back on first.

USA Rule 8.6.F describes UMP/INT when there is an attempted steal or pickoff.

Technically, was there a steal attempt or pickoff here? Probably not “technically”.

Posited scenario: With 2 outs, bases loaded, we have an uncaught 3rd strike. Catcher could just pick up the ball and step on the plate for a force play to end the inning. But if the ball rolled up the third base line a bit and F2 picked it up to try to throw to F5 for a force there and we had UMP/INT? Does it qualify as UMP/INT?

I’ll await the ruling of the protest committee on that.

Good case play.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2020, 01:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linknblue View Post
Taken from Facebook group…..Situation: USA Fast Pitch Softball, 2 outs, runner on first. Catcher short hops a swinging strike 3 call. Batter becomes batter/runner and is heading for first. Catcher attempts throw to 2nd base to retire what she thought was a runner stealing. Umpire interferes with her throw and ball sails into left field. Both runners are now at 1st and 2nd. What’s the mechanic and correct call?

My call would have been: Call umpire interference, dead ball and runner returns to 1st base. Batter is out. My logic: Because catcher was trying to put out a runner advancing the interference stands even though the runner was forced to the next base. The batter cannot run on dropped 3rd strike because I called interference and immediate dead ball. I put the runner back just as if it was a called 3rd strike w/out the dropped issue. Correct logic or would I have screwed this call up?

Researching book, nothing I’ve found “directly” addresses this issue. Examples given are runner attempting to steal and she intended to steal but wasn’t because she was forced as soon as dropped 3rd strike situation occurred.

My RULING is Mark, Jr., approved. We do not have access to his USA Softball Rules Book at the moment, so this my comment is per NFHS and NCAA Rules and I will use NFHS Rule reference for my comments.

This is Umpire Interference (R5-S1-A2c) and is a Delayed Dead Ball (DDB). The Ball becomes Dead as soon as F2's attempt to throw out R3 at 2B (NOTE: Since there were two outs, F4/F6 only has to tag 2B for the third out because this is by Rule a Force Out.) is unsuccessful.

The Awards or Penalties for Activity 6 in the Delayed Dead Ball Table 5-1 in Rule 5 for R5-S1-A2c is: If runner is not put out, runners return. See R8-S5-A6 PENALTY.

BUT!! B6's Strike Three was an Uncaught Third Strike. B6's At-Bat ended with the Uncaught Third Strike and B6, because there were two Outs, is, by Rule, not Out! It does not matter whether or not B6 had acquired 1B before the Ball became Dead, B6 cannot be declared Out. Therefore, R3 is returned to 1B but is then forced to advance to 2B because B6, by Rule, has to be placed on 1B.

Yes, this may seem unfair to the Defense but it was the PU's Interference with F2 that caused this situation, but remember, F2 is also partially to blame for not knowing the situation: Two outs and that B6 is not out on an Uncaught Third Strike. This is one of those situations where the PU is going to have to do a lot of apologizing to the Defensive HC.

We believe that the Ruling would be the same for both USA Softball and USSSA.

MTD, Sr.
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Last edited by Mark T. DeNucci, Sr.; Fri Aug 14, 2020 at 02:21pm. Reason: Corrected typo.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2020, 03:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linknblue View Post
Taken from Facebook group…..Situation: USA Fast Pitch Softball, 2 outs, runner on first. Catcher short hops a swinging strike 3 call. Batter becomes batter/runner and is heading for first. Catcher attempts throw to 2nd base to retire what she thought was a runner stealing. Umpire interferes with her throw and ball sails into left field. Both runners are now at 1st and 2nd. What’s the mechanic and correct call?

My call would have been: Call umpire interference, dead ball and runner returns to 1st base. Batter is out. My logic: Because catcher was trying to put out a runner advancing the interference stands even though the runner was forced to the next base. The batter cannot run on dropped 3rd strike because I called interference and immediate dead ball. I put the runner back just as if it was a called 3rd strike w/out the dropped issue. Correct logic or would I have screwed this call up?

Researching book, nothing I’ve found “directly” addresses this issue. Examples given are runner attempting to steal and she intended to steal but wasn’t because she was forced as soon as dropped 3rd strike situation occurred.
Without reading the other responses, it is a delayed dead ball. As the runner was not out going to 2nd, it becomes dead. However, the BR has a right to reach 1st and is awarded 1st on the INT. The runner then has to be awarded 2nd, because they can't both be on 1st.
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Last edited by CecilOne; Fri Aug 14, 2020 at 03:21pm.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2020, 06:23pm
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I'll be the contrarian here. I think it is a live ball. [only speaking USA rules]

Umpire interference is with the catcher’s attempt to throw out a runner who is stealing, or an attempted pick off play.

In this example the runner is not stealing and the catcher is not trying a pick-off attempt. Instead we have a runner advancing on a dropped 3rd strike. I think that is a difference. Umpire's interference only applies on a steal or pick-off. Any other situation where the umpire gets in the way, its a live ball.

So I think, live ball. R1 and BR could even try for more than the one base. Umpire screwed up but its part of the game.

This scenario could be simplified. No runners on, no outs, DTS. Catcher picks up ball, attempts to throw to F3 and umpire bumps the throw and it goes into RF or goes into stands. What do you do with BR?

Last edited by josephrt1; Fri Aug 14, 2020 at 06:26pm.
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Old Fri Aug 14, 2020, 11:59pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linknblue View Post
Taken from Facebook group…..Situation: USA Fast Pitch Softball, 2 outs, runner on first. Catcher short hops a swinging strike 3 call. Batter becomes batter/runner and is heading for first. Catcher attempts throw to 2nd base to retire what she thought was a runner stealing. Umpire interferes with her throw and ball sails into left field. Both runners are now at 1st and 2nd. What’s the mechanic and correct call?

My call would have been: Call umpire interference, dead ball and runner returns to 1st base. Batter is out. My logic: Because catcher was trying to put out a runner advancing the interference stands even though the runner was forced to the next base. The batter cannot run on dropped 3rd strike because I called interference and immediate dead ball. I put the runner back just as if it was a called 3rd strike w/out the dropped issue. Correct logic or would I have screwed this call up?

Researching book, nothing I’ve found “directly” addresses this issue. Examples given are runner attempting to steal and she intended to steal but wasn’t because she was forced as soon as dropped 3rd strike situation occurred.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark T. DeNucci, Sr. View Post
My RULING is Mark, Jr., approved. We do not have access to his USA Softball Rules Book at the moment, so this my comment is per NFHS and NCAA Rules and I will use NFHS Rule reference for my comments.

This is Umpire Interference (R5-S1-A2c) and is a Delayed Dead Ball (DDB). The Ball becomes Dead as soon as F2's attempt to throw out R3 at 2B (NOTE: Since there were two outs, F4/F6 only has to tag 2B for the third out because this is by Rule a Force Out.) is unsuccessful.

The Awards or Penalties for Activity 6 in the Delayed Dead Ball Table 5-1 in Rule 5 for R5-S1-A2c is: If runner is not put out, runners return. See R8-S5-A6 PENALTY.

BUT!! B6's Strike Three was an Uncaught Third Strike. B6's At-Bat ended with the Uncaught Third Strike and B6, because there were two Outs, is, by Rule, not Out! It does not matter whether or not B6 had acquired 1B before the Ball became Dead, B6 cannot be declared Out. Therefore, R3 is returned to 1B but is then forced to advance to 2B because B6, by Rule, has to be placed on 1B.

Yes, this may seem unfair to the Defense but it was the PU's Interference with F2 that caused this situation, but remember, F2 is also partially to blame for not knowing the situation: Two outs and that B6 is not out on an Uncaught Third Strike. This is one of those situations where the PU is going to have to do a lot of apologizing to the Defensive HC.

We believe that the Ruling would be the same for both USA Softball and USSSA.

MTD, Sr.
Quote:
Originally Posted by josephrt1 View Post
I'll be the contrarian here. I think it is a live ball. [only speaking USA rules]

Umpire interference is with the catcher’s attempt to throw out a runner who is stealing, or an attempted pick off play.

In this example the runner is not stealing and the catcher is not trying a pick-off attempt. Instead we have a runner advancing on a dropped 3rd strike. I think that is a difference. Umpire's interference only applies on a steal or pick-off. Any other situation where the umpire gets in the way, its a live ball.

So I think, live ball. R1 and BR could even try for more than the one base. Umpire screwed up but its part of the game.

This scenario could be simplified. No runners on, no outs, DTS. Catcher picks up ball, attempts to throw to F3 and umpire bumps the throw and it goes into RF or goes into stands. What do you do with BR?

NFHS R5-S1-A2c: It is a delayed dead ball when (see Table 5-1) the umpire interferes (F.P.) with a catcher who is attempting to throw a non-batted ball.

NCAA 9.6.1.3: Umpire interference occurs when the plate umpire or his/her clothing interferes with the catcher’s attempt to throw out a base runner on a pickoff or steal attempt.


NFHS: This is Umpire Interference because F2 is "attempting to throw a non-batted ball.".

NCAA: In the Play being discussed R3 is attempting to advance with liability to be put out and F2 is attempting to throw out R3 is the same as attempting "to throw out a base runner on a pickoff". Therefore this is Umpire Interference.

MTD, Sr.
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Wood Co. (Bowling Green, Ohio) Bkb. Off. Assn.
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Old Sat Aug 15, 2020, 12:34am
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1. The NFHS rule you quote clearly makes your scenario a delayed dead ball situation. I agree.

2. The NCAA wording you quote is identical to the USA rule I cited. They both say on a runner stealing a base or on a pick-off. USA does not define pick-off but NCAA does. "14.2.22 Pick-Off: An action initiated by the defense trying to retire a base runner at the base she occupied at the time of the pitch. The catcher is credited with a pick-off for a throw behind a base runner that catches that base runner off base and results in an out."

Moderator's Note (correcting typo): The NCAA Rule is 14.1.22 not 14.2.22.

3. Catcher was not throwing behind the runner so I can't see how you can equate her action as a pick-off.

4. I agree this is a challenging situation, and I probably am wrong in my assumption that it is a live ball. However, NCAA & USA say umpire interference occurs on a steal attempt or a pick-off and your scenario has neither. The wording you provided is not in the NCAA or USA book, so I'm still searching for a supported reason why this is a Delayed Dead Ball.

Last edited by josephrt1; Sat Aug 15, 2020 at 06:53pm. Reason: Moderator correcting typo by comments author.
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Old Sat Aug 15, 2020, 08:08am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark T. DeNucci, Sr. View Post
NFHS R5-S1-A2c: It is a delayed dead ball when (see Table 5-1) the umpire interferes (F.P.) with a catcher who is attempting to throw a non-batted ball.

NCAA 9.6.1.3: Umpire interference occurs when the plate umpire or his/her clothing interferes with the catcher’s attempt to throw out a base runner on a pickoff or steal attempt.


NFHS: This is Umpire Interference because F2 is "attempting to throw a non-batted ball.".

NCAA: In the Play being discussed R3 is attempting to advance with liability to be put out and F2 is attempting to throw out R3 is the same as attempting "to throw out a base runner on a pickoff". Therefore this is Umpire Interference.

MTD, Sr.
In my opinion, if this is NFHS, it is umpire interference. The ball is dead when the attempt to throw out the runner at second is unsuccessful. This would be because it is a "non-batted ball." I also agree with the other posts that the correct ruling is that the Batter-Runner is awarded first base, and as such, the runner who was attempting to advance to second is awarded second because she is forced to advance. Is it fair to the defense? No, but the wording of the rule does not allow for the offense to be penalized for an action of the umpire either. Calling the Batter-Runner out would penalize the offense for an act of the umpire, so it would be just as bad as awarding the runner who should be sent to first, 2nd base. Simply put, Don't Do It (interfere with the throw).

USA uses the same wording as NCAA. Under NCAA, my opinion is this is a live ball based on the definitions of the plays in question. Since the NCAA never defines steal, we need to look deeper into the rules.

We know the definition of umpire interference. The question is regarding the ruling of steal. The act itself is not defined, but under 12.3.1 "When a pitch leaves the pitcher’s hand (whether pitched or dropped)" does define what we would call a steal.

This means under NCAA rules there could be two possibilities for the situation. First, if the runner was actually stealing on the play, the ruling is umpire interference, and as such it is a DDB until the out is not made from the initial throw, at which point it is a DB. The runner would be sent back to first, but since the BR is awarded first on the D3K rule, the runner must be awarded 2nd base.

Reading the rules for liability to be put out for a runner, I see nearly identical wording between USA Softball and NCAA.

In this case, I think the best thing (NCAA and USA Softball) to do would be let the play continue, then get together as a crew, and determine if the runner was stealing on the play, or did not begin advancing until the ball was dropped for the D3K. If it was determined that she was actually stealing, she goes to 2nd, and the BR gets first. If we rule she did not start her advance until the ball was a D3K, she goes to second and the BR is on first.

Again, just don't do it (interfere with the throw that is).
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Old Sun Aug 16, 2020, 12:12pm
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NFHS 5 is a kind of bastard rule, a compilation of dead-ball and delayed dead-ball rulings found in other sections. 5-1-2c adds "... attempting to throw a non-batted ball" which changes the meaning of 8-5-6 "(FP) The plate umpire or any part of the plate umpire's clothing interferes with the catcher's attempt to throw out a runner stealing, or an attempted pick off play. Penalty: ... delayed dead ball ..."
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Old Fri Sep 25, 2020, 10:37am
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Originally Posted by Crabby_Bob View Post
NFHS 5 is a kind of bastard rule, a compilation of dead-ball and delayed dead-ball rulings found in other sections. 5-1-2c adds "... attempting to throw a non-batted ball" which changes the meaning of 8-5-6 "(FP) The plate umpire or any part of the plate umpire's clothing interferes with the catcher's attempt to throw out a runner stealing, or an attempted pick off play. Penalty: ... delayed dead ball ..."
Sorry for the late response, but I just saw this post, and I have to agree with Crabby Bob that NFHS Rule 5 is problematic. Rule 8-5-6 is the prevailing rule, and makes NFHS no different than the other rule sets in stating that the plate umpire can only interfere with a throw to retire a runner attempting to steal, or a throw on a pick-off play.

Another typical example of how Rule 5 muddies the water is in the Table under 29 where it says it's an immediate dead ball for a "Batted ball hitting runner while touching base." You cannot just use that language and rule that all batted balls that hit runners on a base are immediate dead balls. If they hit the runner after passing a fielder in front of the base, the ball is live.
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