I'd like someone with more detailed knowledge to weigh in on this for me.
Saw a game yesterday in which there were 2 outs and a runner on 2nd. With the pitch, runner broke for 3rd. Pitch called a ball, so batter not out to that point. Catcher went to throw to 3rd. HPU immediately called batter for interference -- very loudly and demonstratively. (I thought the interference call was absurd, but the call was made.) Play continued and base ump called runner out on catch/tag at third as well.
My understanding of that situation is that batter should be out for interfering. Runner would be sent back to 2nd, except inning has ended. Because batter was out, next inning would properly begin with next batter in the lineup.
As next inning began, same batter returned to the plate. He walked. Defending team asked him to be called out for batting out of order. HPU ruled that the play on the field took precedence over his call, and that the same batter should therefore return to start the next inning, and he therefore allowed the batter to remain on first base via his walk.
To my understanding, this is a key difference between obstruction (by the defense, often mistakenly referred to as "interference") and interference (by the offensive player). With obstruction, play continues and umpires await the play's outcome before enforcing the rule. This allows the offense to get the benefit if, say, a snowball fight breaks out and runners are moving up all over the place.
In contrast, to my understanding, upon the interference call by HPU, the batter was out immediately. Runner would have been returned to 2nd, but for the fact that the inning ended. Deferring to the play made on the field is a silly approach, because (a) the inning has already ended before that play was made, akin to when a base stealer is tagged out on a throw down made after strike 3/out 3 had been called, and (b) runner might well have slowed down when he heard the interference call anyway. Therefore, to my understanding, in the next inning, the out should have been awarded for batting out of order.
Anyone want to educate me on this?
BTW I could use more illumination about what happens to the lineup when someone bats out of order. I'm never sure who the next batter is supposed to be!