To begin the analysis of this play, consider Schroeder's factually inaccurate remarks:
And both feet have to be out of the batter's box in order for Maldonado to be out...both feet have to be out, not just one...the foot was in the air, but not out of the confines of the batter's box.
|Out for interference, Rules 6.05(g), 7.09(k)|
Emmel ruled Maldonado out under the auspices of Rule 6.05(g), which states that a batter is out when:
His fair ball touches him before touching a fielder. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 6.03, and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball;Ah yes, one of those rules that cross-references another rule. Rule 6.03 simply states, "the batter's legal position shall be with both feet within the batter's box." The attached approved ruling allows for the lines defining the batter's box to be "within" the box. In other words, the batter's legal position shall be with both feet within or extending no further than the outer edge of a line defining the batter's box.
The MLB Umpire Manual further states Rule 6.03 applies when a batter assumes a batting stance, while Rule 6.06(a) is the box position rules reference for when a batter hits a ball. 6.06(a) states that a batter is out for illegal action when "He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter’s box." Accordingly, 6.06(a) allows for a batter to hit a ball when (1) either foot is in contact with the line, but otherwise extends out of the box; and (2) either foot is in the air above dirt fully outside of the batter's box as this is legal as long as the batter's foot doesn't touch the ground.
So what of Rule 6.05(g) and batter's interference by virtue of being touched by a fair ball? The rule cross-referenced, after all is 6.03, not 6.06(a). Why the discrepancy?
Recall that upon hitting fair ball, the batter becomes a runner; his time at-bat is over (Rules 6.04 and 6.09).
Therefore, as a runner, Rules 6.03 and 6.06(a) become irrelevant—except for the specific case of Rule 6.05(g) interference, wherein Rule 6.03—and not 6.06(a)—is referenced as the foul ball exemption.
Accordingly, Emmel correctly declares Maldonado out, as he is not in a legal position within the batter's box, as defined solely by Rule 6.03, when a fair ball touches him. Rule 7.09(k), "a runner is out when a fair ball touches him on fair territory before touching a fielder" confirms the ruling as the batter had become a runner by virtue of hitting the fair ball.
Video: Padres snap Milwaukee's win streak via offensive interference to end the Brewers' 9th inning
Related: Rules 6.05(g) & 6.05(h): Batted Ball Batter's Interference
> Example 1 contains a case of a bunter still squared and legal within the box when struck (no interference);
> Example 1A similarly contains a depiction of compliance with the Rule 6.03 exemption to 6.05(g);
> Example 2 depicts accidental contact with a baseball while outside of the box, this is interference;
> Examples 6 (foul ball) and 7 are also relevant to the adjudication of this particular play.