Sunday, April 14, 2013

After Instant Replay Review, Fan Ejected due to Interference

A Pirates fan was ejected Sunday following instant replay review that revealed an instance of spectator "fan" interference. With two out and one on in the bottom of the 7th inning of the Reds-Pirates game, Travis Snider
Porter, PIT Manager Clint Hurdle and Layne discuss the play.
hit a fly ball to deep right center field, where 1B Umpire Alan Porter initially ruled the ball alive and in play as it caromed off the upper Roberto Clemente wall (named as such for its 21-foot height). After consultation and instant replay review, 2B Umpire and crew chief Jerry Layne kept Snider's double in order, but changed the reason from a simple hit off the wall to a dead ball caused by fan interference.

Video: Snider's RBI double is technically upheld, though the rationale was changed to interference
Animated GIF: Alternate angles of the reviewed double, ruled fan interference (Compressed size)

As explained in Ball Boy Interference: Judging Intent of Non-Team Persons, Rule 3.16 authorizes umpires to "impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference." Meanwhile, Rule 2.00 [Interference (d)] was modified prior to the 2013 season, with the emphasized text added: "Spectator interference occurs when a spectator reaches out of the stands and over the playing field, or goes on the playing field, and (1) touches a live ball or (2) touches a player and hinders an attempt to make a play on a live ball."

As for the fan guilty of interference, PNC Park's A-Z Guide portrays a "zero tolerance policy regarding fan interference with a ball in play or a player during the game," specifying immediate removal from PNC Park and/or criminal sanctions as possible penalties. All other MLB stadiums have similar policies.

When Joe West ejected Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel in 2011 (Ejections: Joe West 7), it too concerned spectator interference; after review, the offending fans were accordingly ejected from the Florida ballpark.


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