Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Discussions: Video Interference

A fairly obvious call, as far as fan interference calls go, has brought on an interesting discussion point regarding instant replay review. Anonymous writes:
Anyone see the play tonight in the top of the 5th inning during the Braves/Pirates game? I think it deserves its own post.

With a runner on first, Chipper Jones hit a long fly ball to right center. The ball fell in play but was interfered with on the way to the ground by a fan trying to catch it. The umpires went to the replays to determine whether or not the runner from first would come home on the play. However, based on the MLB rules in place, how was this allowed? MLB says that replays are only for homerun boundary calls. Since this clearly wasn't a homerun call, how was replay allowed? Does this mean that on a ground ball down the first base line that goes into foul territory then is touched by a fan can be replayed?
In the top of the 5th inning of the 5/24/11 Braves-Pirates game, with one on and two out, Braves batter Chipper Jones hits a fly ball to deep center field. A fan reaches over the wall and undoubtedly interferes with play. 2B Umpire Jeff Kellogg and his crew use instant replay to verify the interference and two base award, keeping R1 and third base. By rule, instant replay review may only be used on home run calls, and the decision regarding the placement of runners only applies to a home run call on the field being overturned by instant replay.
Instant replay will apply only to home run calls -- whether they are fair or foul, whether they have left the playing field, or whether they have been subject to fan interference. The decision to use instant replay will be made by the umpire crew chief, who also will make the determination as to whether or not a call should be reversed.
Any decision regarding the placement of runners, should a home run call be reversed, will be made by the crew chief. As is done in cases of fan interference, the crew chief will place the baserunners where he believes they would have been had the call been made properly
Discussion point: Undoubtedly, the umpires employed instant replay in accordance with these rules, but did the umpires really appear to use "the replays to determine whether or not the runner from first would come home on the play" or, rather, did the umpires simply use instant replay to confirm the call on the field of spectator interference as defined by Rule 2.00 INTERFERENCE (d)? Were the umpires proper in awarding the batter second base and awarding baserunner R1, from first base, third base? Rule 3.16 deals with spectator interference:
3.16 When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.


Anonymous said...

This play shouldn't be reviewable by replay. It had nothing to do with a homerun. The ball was clearly falling into play and therefore the question was not whether or not it was a homerun. Perhaps that's why they didn't award the runner home plate, the call couldn't be overturned via replay.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if they really thought that might be a HR or not, but... really? How could that be seen as a possible HR? That'd be the only way replay is justified here. Nonetheless, it doesn't look like the crew used replay to decide placement... at least not overtly.

Penwhale said...

They have changed the link to the video to

Anon 2: It's still CC's discretion to place runners.

highschoolump said...

I could be wrong, but seems to me by rule once they go to replay the only possibly placement is 2nd and 3rd. If they get together on the field they could award Prado home based on the fan intereference rule but to use replay to judge homerun or not limits what they can do as far as placement.

Adam & Katie said...

While I detest the use of any instant replay in the game of baseball, I agree with it's use in this case according to the rules.

The call on the field doesn't have to be a HR for them to review. I see the rule "Home Run calls" as calls that involve what COULD BE a HR. While this particular case isn't near as close as what a normal replay could be used. I've seen replay being used when a ball hits off the foul pole. It's pretty much a no-brainer, but they checked it out anyway. The crew decided that it would be best to check if, in fact, it was fan interference. They confirmed the call. Placement of the runners only allowed to be changed if the call is reversed. The call wasn't, therefore the play stands as called.

In this case I believe the original ruling wasn't that bad. The fielder was close to being under the ball, so I think would have had the ball in quite quickly. So while being put on 3B was a given, I don't think scoring would have been. My guess is there would have been a play at the plate had the interferance not occured.

Jon Terry said...

First and foremost, the link is leading to the wrong video. Here:


If a ball to the wall can be interfered with by a fan, then I think it is fair that an umpire 250+ feet away consider the possibility that it might have been a home run. After all, the view is real time, from field level, and only once.

Anonymous said...

Right call on the field, but was replay necessary? Who knows.

Anonymous said...

From tonight's Phillies/Reds game. Here is an example of when replay CAN be used. A potential homerun situation:


Matt said...

This seems a bit off topic, but since we're all umpire fans maybe someone else noticed HP ump Mark Carlson wasn't wearing his normal Shock FX helmet with the extended throat piece, and was instead wearing a traditional mask. Does anyone know when he switched, and/or why? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous, you mean the Phillies/Reds game that lasted 19 innings?

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