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Old Tue Jul 01, 2003, 10:14am
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I know the batter has to do something intentional in the batters box to get an interference call, and that an act out of the batters box does not have to be intentional to get interference but how would you call this one?

Batter has habit of stepping out of box to clear area around plate when runner is on base, any base not just 3rd. She does not delay the game just her way of making sure she is clear of the catcher/play at home. R1 on 2nd, R2 on 1st pitch comes in in the dirt batter again starts backing up at an angle from the plate toward 3rd base dugout looking at runners running, same movement she has on every other pitch, runners are doing a double steal. Ball that was in the dirt deflects off F2's shin guard and rolls into retreating B3's foot altering it's course back toward the fence instead of further from the plate. Catcher changes her course slightly and IMO has control of the ball at almost the same time she would have had it not contacted B3. I called nothing as the runners were where they would have been anyway IMO. No one questioned, or even mentioned it but I started thinking (working without tools again) What if the ball went further and allowed R1 to score? Would I have interference on batter and runners back to their bases at TOP? Should it have been interference in that case even though I could tell B3 was oblivious to the ball and following her normal "clear the area" routine? What say the experts?
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Old Tue Jul 01, 2003, 11:29am
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Even though the batter has this "routine" on every pitch when a runner is on base, she is still liable for interference when she is out of the box. She is only required to clear the area if there is a play at the plate.

If her contact of the ball with her foot while out of the box caused the ball to ricochet far enough away that the runner from second could score, an interference call is possible.

Judgement call on the part of the umpire and definitley HTBT.
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Old Tue Jul 01, 2003, 08:32pm
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I believe the wording of the rule says something about the batter hindering the catcher. If you think she hindered the catcher, then it's interference.
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Old Wed Jul 02, 2003, 10:17am
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As I said in another thread, fundamental to interference is there must be a play to interfere with. The batter is not automatically out just because she made contact with the ball, after all, it was a poor defensive play (pitch in the dirt not blocked by the catcher) that caused the whole thing.

OTOH, the batter is not protected just because this is her normal between pitch routine. If she steps out of the box with a wild pitch or passed ball, she is at risk for an interference call.

HTBT, but if you judged that there was no play, then there was no interference.
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