Video: Kansas City ball boy unintentionally commits Intentional Interference against visiting team's Davis
|Video: Davis is interfered with.|
Rule 3.15 Comment takes it a step further, stating: "The question of intentional or unintentional interference shall be decided on the basis of the person's action." The Comment then provides examples:
- Unintentional Interference: A bat boy/attendant/policeman/etc. tries to avoid being touched by a thrown or batted ball but is still touched by the ball. Penalty: ball is alive and in play.
- Intentional Interference: The bat boy, etc. kicks, picks up the ball or pushes it, regardless of his thought process (e.g., even if he "innocently" thought the ball was dead). Penalty: Dead ball; umpire discretion.
2011's Case Play: Cop on Field provides a hypothetical scenario in which Unintentional Interference would be a proper ruling. Because the Royals ball boy initiated contacted with the ball and moreover clearly did not attempt to avoid being touched by it, this constitutes Intentional Interference, subject to the remedies described above.
Rule 3.16 (Spectator Interference) specifies this similar remedy of dead ball/penalties to nullify the act, indicating for all intents and purposes, 3.15 Intent INT is akin to fan INT with regard to enforcement.
Returning to Kansas City and Meals' ruling of "foul ball," as demonstrated above, Rule 3.15 authorizes an umpire to employ discretion in imposing penalties to nullify the act of interference. This is not a rule interpretation call, but one of judgment, as HP Umpire and crew chief Tim McClelland explained to Blue Jays manager John Gibbons; QOC for this particular judgment call, however, is up for debate.