Batter's Interference on Catchers Throw

NFHS rules...Georgia high school...

Had a conversation with an umpire the other night and he said for a batter to interfere with a catchers throw on a steal attempt that physical contact was neccessary under Georgia high school rules. Specifically, we were talking about how hitters will fall towards the plate after a swing into fair territory...he also said that if one foot was still in the box interference would not be called. He said he could show me in the interpretations that contact had to take place.

Is this true nationally, just in Georgia or was he full of hot air?
Original Post
Under NFHS rules, which should apply in Georgia, neither physical contact nor an actual throw is necessary. The catcher does need to attempt to throw. The batter is entitled to the box, but having just one foot in the box doesn't qualify as being in the box. From the Casebook:

7.3.5 SITUATION A: With R1 going to third, B2 steps across home plate to hinder F2 who is fielding the ball or throwing to third, or attempting to throw to third.
RULING: If R1 is tagged out despite the hindrance, the interference is ignored, and with less than two outs, the ball remains alive. If R1 is not tagged out, B2 is declared out, and when there are less than two outs, the ball becomes dead immediately and all runners must return to the bases occupied at time of the pitch.
I would agree with PIAA, standing up is not really an attempt but some type of arm movement pobably is. It is possible to stay totally in the box and have interference but is less likely. This is a call that happens much more than it is called. Either the umpire doesn't truly understand it, as in your case, or they don't want to make an unpopular call.
Lets say that R2 is attempting to steal 3rd. The batter takes the pitch and does not move in the box at all. The catcher comes up to throw but does not because the batter is in direct line with him and third base. I have heard coaches say that next time throw it through the batters ear hole. What would you have if the catcher does not throw and if he throws and it hits the batter in his ear hole while never moving at all. Again I am not arguing just wanting to see what more veteran umpires would have in this situation. I am always trying to listen and in this case read and learn.
The batters box offers the batter some limited protection. He can not be expected to disappear.

It does not mean that he can not interefere while still in the box, he certainly can, but just standing still is not interference......

Catchers need to throw around the batter....if the batter does nothing....I have nothing...If he throws and hits the batter.......then play on........

If he throws the ball through the batters ear hole deliberately then Im getting at least 2 ejections....(Catcher and coach who told him to do it.)

Actually standing still is the best thing the batter can do.....many times I have seen interference calls come from the batter trying to get out of the way of the catcher...........
piaa_ump,

WAR D*MN EAGLE....BEAT BAMA!!!

Thanks to everyone for the clarification....I knew I was right but this guy was pretty full of himself that day. I did tell him he might want to take another look at the case book. As if we need something else to make Georgia look bad....
As dash stated, the majority of such interference calls is when the batter's momentum carries him into the path of the catcher attempting to throw to 2nd. My question: is there ever a time when the batter's momentum carries him into the line of the catcher's throw and it's not interference? The reason I ask is that there are many swings that cause the batter to lose balance and fall that direction and it seems evident that the batter was not trying to interfere....or is it automatic interference if batter's momentum puts him in the way? No contact is made just blocking the line of sight of the catcher...?
All that is required is the hindering of the catcher. Accidental or on purpose it makes no difference. When you work enough games you will rarely see a batter step accross the plate on a swing without a runner. It happens occasionally and is nothing, but with a runner it is a taught action.
Michael - is the Fed rule different than OBR? The comment in 6.06(c) of OBR says that if a swing unintentionally causes the batter interference that the runner is returned but no out called. This situation happened to Derek Jeter about a month ago in a Yankee game.
No, it's basically the same but I will give the defense the benefit of doubt. I will call the BI more times than not. I have seen many guys not call very obvious BIs. I have seen ones that I almost didn't make a call at second because I knew they were going to make the call at the plate and then didn't. It drives me crazy.
6.06c says nothing about intentional. I contend that even if you require intention, I would default to it being intentional unless I have evidence to the contrary.
I have a running argument with a good friend of mine that believes the batter needs to be able to complete his swing. I tell him I agree and I will allow him to do so if he stays in the box doing it. As you work a game take note how many times you see a batter step accross the plate with no runners on. I feel fairly certain you will see at best a 90/10 split. I think I am being generous in that number.
quote:
Originally posted by HawksCoach:
Michael - is the Fed rule different than OBR? The comment in 6.06(c) of OBR says that if a swing unintentionally causes the batter interference that the runner is returned but no out called. This situation happened to Derek Jeter about a month ago in a Yankee game.

Yes it is different. Jeter was called for "backswing" or soft interference (you quoted the correct rule). It occurs when the bat contacts the catcher after the swing. Strike, dead ball, return the runner(s). Neither FED nor NCAA has a similar provision.
quote:
Originally posted by dash_riprock:
Neither FED nor NCAA has a similar provision.

Well, FED has a provision, and it isn't similar--the batter is out. Casebook:
7.3.5 SITUATION F: With R1 on third, one out and two strikes on B3, B3 swings at and misses the pitch. The ball bounces off F2’s glove into the air, where it is hit by B3’s follow-through. The ball rolls to the back stop. B3 reaches first base safely and R1 scores. RULING: The ball is dead immediately. B3 is out for interference and R1 returns to third base. A batter is entitled to an uninterrupted opportunity to hit the ball, just as the catcher is entitled to an uninterrupted opportunity to field the ball. Once the batter swings, he is responsible for his follow-through."

"8.4.1 SITUATION H: B1 swings and misses a pitch for strike three. As F2 is attempting to catch the pitch, B1 hits F2 with the bat on the follow-through, hindering F2’s attempt to catch the ball. RULING: B1 is out for interference."


NCAA has a provision and it is very similar to OBR:
6-2d
"(2) If the catcher is in the act of making a throw to retire a runner and the batter is in the batter’s box and his normal follow-through unintentionally strikes the catcher or the ball while the catcher is in the act of throwing, “Time” is called and runners return (unless the catcher’s initial throw retires the runner)." 6-2 is too long to quote here, but it also says the batter could be out if the pitch was strike 3, but the ball wasn't caught.

The BRD can be useful at times!
OK, about the soft interference....the examples cited for FED were a strke 3 situation and makes sense. What on a swing/miss strike 1 or 2 and the follow through disrupts the catcher's attempt to throw out a base runner? My guess would be interference but I've been wrong before....

Hello

 

Had a scrimmage recently where an umpire called interference on batter. Runner stealing third, batters takes a step back on an inside pitch, still in the box. The catcher goes around  and makes a throw to third.  It was unintentional by the batter but it did look to  interfere with the catcher. Batter called out. 

Originally Posted by calistars:

Hello

 

Had a scrimmage recently where an umpire called interference on batter. Runner stealing third, batters takes a step back on an inside pitch, still in the box. The catcher goes around  and makes a throw to third.  It was unintentional by the batter but it did look to  interfere with the catcher. Batter called out. 

I'm not educated on these things but to me it would seem if he is still in the batters box he wasn't doing anything wrong...anyone else going to drop by who is more educated?

Originally Posted by CaCO3Girl:
Originally Posted by calistars:

Hello

 

Had a scrimmage recently where an umpire called interference on batter. Runner stealing third, batters takes a step back on an inside pitch, still in the box. The catcher goes around  and makes a throw to third.  It was unintentional by the batter but it did look to  interfere with the catcher. Batter called out. 

I'm not educated on these things but to me it would seem if he is still in the batters box he wasn't doing anything wrong...anyone else going to drop by who is more educated?

The batter's box is where the batter conducts his business as a batter, but it's not his turf the way a goalie's box/crease may be in other sports. It's where he has to be when the pitch is delivered. It's where his feet need to be when he bats the ball. And it marks off a corner of fair territory where he is exempt from being called out if he is hit by his batted ball.

 

Other than that:

 

He can be out for interference if he leaves the box, as when his swing carries him over the plate when a runner is stealing second.

 

He can be out for interference if he moves somewhere within the box unnecessarily, as when he steps back and gets in the way (either intentionally or not) of the catcher's throwing lane on a steal of third.

 

He can be out for interference if he stands still like a statue within the box, as when there is a steal of home and the pitcher steps off the rubber and throws home.

 

He's allowed to do his business as a batter, but the defense is also allowed to do their business. That consideration often matters more than lines marking the box.

 

Does this help?

Boy I wish the plate umpire in my sons HS playoff game last season had all this advice ;-)   Lefty batter misses bunt attempt, pitch down/inside, gets away from catcher to his right and behind batter... batter almost looks like he's drag bunting instead of plain sacrifice (don't ask - they're HS players) - mostly though, lost his balance and was circling back around unaware that the catcher gets ball, sees runner straying off 1B, throws and hits batter square in the back.  No call.  Coach argues to no avail.  I saw the umpire over the summer (he approached me) and he still believes he made the right no call with the explanation being catcher's throw wasn't going to be anywhere near 1B. He's had much more experience than I, so I just respectfully disagreed with him...

Originally Posted by JohnF:

Boy I wish the plate umpire in my sons HS playoff game last season had all this advice ;-)   Lefty batter misses bunt attempt, pitch down/inside, gets away from catcher to his right and behind batter... batter almost looks like he's drag bunting instead of plain sacrifice (don't ask - they're HS players) - mostly though, lost his balance and was circling back around unaware that the catcher gets ball, sees runner straying off 1B, throws and hits batter square in the back.  No call.  Coach argues to no avail.  I saw the umpire over the summer (he approached me) and he still believes he made the right no call with the explanation being catcher's throw wasn't going to be anywhere near 1B. He's had much more experience than I, so I just respectfully disagreed with him...

That sounds like the right call to me (if not the right explanation).  Maybe I'm misreading it.

 

And, no, I am not the umpire involved in the play)

Originally Posted by JohnF:

Boy I wish the plate umpire in my sons HS playoff game last season had all this advice ;-)   Lefty batter misses bunt attempt, pitch down/inside, gets away from catcher to his right and behind batter... batter almost looks like he's drag bunting instead of plain sacrifice (don't ask - they're HS players) - mostly though, lost his balance and was circling back around unaware that the catcher gets ball, sees runner straying off 1B, throws and hits batter square in the back.  No call.  Coach argues to no avail.  I saw the umpire over the summer (he approached me) and he still believes he made the right no call with the explanation being catcher's throw wasn't going to be anywhere near 1B. He's had much more experience than I, so I just respectfully disagreed with him...

The requirements to get interference on this play changed when the pitch became a passed ball. Now we need intent to interfere from batter / offensive personnel. Judging from your description, I would say there was no intent and it was the right call.

Originally Posted by Forest Ump:
The requirements to get interference on this play changed when the pitch became a passed ball. Now we need intent to interfere from batter / offensive personnel. Judging from your description, I would say there was no intent and it was the right call.

 

I've often wondered what I'd rule if a similar play happened in one of my games. It matters less to me now that it was my son's playoff game, but I'm always trying to learn and have data to help just in case it does happen to me!

 

Interesting - judging "intent" throws a curious wrinkle into other interference type situations, but is not in the words of the rule (1-21-1a - "...an act (physical or verbal) by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders, or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play..."). 

 

On this play, batter knows the ball went down and knows his offensive situation. He was attempting a bunt with a runner on first & second. So that runner either is going to second or need to retreat to first if he misses. All pretty normal stuff. Now I have to decide whether the batter knowing he missed the ball in the dirt intended to make a right hand turn just in case the catcher tries to throw to first so perhaps the umpire will not make an interference call because he judges I didn't intend to get in the way. The batter could/should have very easily looked around to find the ball as well and decide which way to go so as to not possibly get in the way. On other wild pitch or passed ball situations batters routinely look around to find the ball to tell the runner(s) to go to the next base. I guess there's part of me that just believes it's still the batters responsibility to make sure he doesn't get in the way. 

 

Consider the play where there is a wild pitch with R1 on the move on the pitch. Coach tells runner to keep coming to 3rd base. Batter has backed up out of the box, only watching runner (he's excited as that's the winning run), catcher retrieves ball, throws ball, hits batter. You still don't have interference here? That run could score now depending on where the ball goes. It's not all that different of a play as the batter was out of the box, not intending to interfere, but yet he impeded the catcher's attempt to make a play.

This type of interference is spelled out in the rule book and the case book under 7.3.5

 

Essentially the batter has interfered with the catcher's throw.  In HS contact does NOT have to be made.  It does NOT matter if the batter accidentally or on purpose (intentional/unintentional) steps in the catcher's way.  If the catcher attempts a throw it's interference.

 

So the best thing the batter can do is NOT move!

 

The catcher has to clear him.  To 2nd base this is easy.  To 3rd, the catcher needs to step forward (risky) or step around and behind (best).

 

If the batter moves he will probably end up interfering, even if he stays in the box --  although this is trickier and you will really have to pay attention -- but most likely he is gonna move into the catcher's throwing lane and then you'll have interference.

 

It's a delayed dead ball under 5.1.2.  If the runner is put out, then the interference is ignored and play continues.  If the runner is not put out by the defense, then the batter is called out and ALL runners return to their base at time of pitch.

 

Because it's a delayed dead ball with a guaranteed out to the defense it is possible -- although unlikely -- that a preceeding or following runner could advance and maybe even score!  However, the defense has to get the out.  If they don't then "Time" is called and ALL runners will retreat and the batter is out.

I would not criticize that umpire for making the call for the reasons PIAA_ump gave.

However, I would not have made this call.

It looked like like the catcher was lining up for the foul-side throw anyway. It doesn't appear he altered his throw at all because of the batter's movement. And it sure didn't appear that the catcher thought he had been interfered with. He was just derping along after the play with no sense of awareness that interference had occurred.

I look for stronger indications of interference, such as contact, obvious alteration of foot or arm work, or a reaction to the interference by the aggrieved party.

In this case, everyone on both sides seemed surprised by the call.  If I'm the only one in the park who perceives the technical possibility of interference, I'll probably keep it to myself. 

On further review, maybe I'll criticize the umpire a little bit.

His explanation to the player doesn't inspire confidence that he made a determination that the batter hindered the catcher.

It sounds like he said, "The rule is you stay in the box. You stay in the box. If you step out of the box and he throws the ball, you're out."  

That's not exactly what the rule says. 

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