Monday, April 8, 2013

Rule 7.09 Part II: A Timeline of Interference

Opening Week has provided several cases of interference and incidental contact alike. From "simple" offensive interference wherein the runner collides with a fielder attempting to field a batted ball, as in Rule
Derek Jeter tags out Miguel Tejada. (WikiCommons)
7.09(j) ["he fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball"] to the slightly more complex case of after-play interference, baseball has simply become more of a contact sport.

As demonstrated in 2012's Rule 7.09: Base or Batter-Runner Interference and again in Case Plays: Infield Interference, Foul Fly or Complete Chaos, this standard case of interference occurs in the timeframe after batted, but before fielded ball. See below for a timeline of potential interference acts and when they might occur:

Pitched Ball
» Catcher's (defensive) or 7.09(a) third strike ("clearly hinders the catcher").
Batted Ball, Legal Disengagement Pickoff and/or Putout Attempt or Pitch Caught by Catcher
» Umpire's interference, hinders a catcher's throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner.
» 7.09(b) Intentionally deflects the course of a foul ball in any manner;
» (c) Batter hinders any fielder in making a play at home;
» (e) Batter who has just been put out hinders or impedes any following play, runner is declared out;
» (f) Base runner intent interference with batted ball or fielder fielding a batted ball for a double play;
» (g) Batter-runner intent interference with a batted ball DP, as in (f);
» (j) Fails to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;
» (k) Fair ball touches batter or runner on fair territory before passing a non-pitcher or touching any fielder.
» Umpire's interference, a fair ball touching an umpire on fair territory before passing any fielder.
Fielded Ball
» (j) Intentionally interferes with a thrown ball;
Play or Attempted Play, Which May Be a Tag or Throw or Running of the Bases
» (e) Runner who has just been put out or scored hinders or impedes any following play, such runner is out.^

*7.09(d) [offensive huddle around a base to confuse the defense] may occur at any time.
*7.09(h) [1B or 3B coach touches or holds the runner to physically assist him] may occur at any time.
*7.09(i) [With R3, base coach leaves his box and acts in any manner to draw a throw] may occur at any time.

On the other hand, not all contact is illegal. Nationals batter Denard Span safely arrived at first base and Danny Espinosa scored after baserunner R1 Roger Bernadina collided with Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano. Replays indicate that contact did not occur until after Solano already had fielded and was in possession of the batted ball. Bernadina was indeed tagged for the inning's second out; the contact between Bernadina and Solano therefore was related to the tag and not subject to Rule 7.09 interference. Had contact occurred prior to Solano's ability to field the batted ball, Bernadina would be declared out; if the umpires determined a secondary motive, Rule 7.09(f) authorizes a double play call, "If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play."

^During the weekend's Marlins-Mets series, Marlins batter Greg Dobbs hit a single to right field, runner Juan Pierre scoring. Because the throw was offline, Mets catcher John Buck received the ball at the third base line extended edge of the dirt circle; as Buck attempted to throw to second base to make a play on Dobbs, the already-scored Pierre ran into the catcher, HP Umpire Jim Joyce ruling Dobbs out for Pierre's actions pursuant to Rule 7.09(e), which requires an interference call when, "Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate."


Lindsay said...

Not sure where to post this -- but did anyone else see how awful Marty Foster was tonight in the ninth inning? -- Downright embarrassing, folks. Downright embarrassing.

Lindsay said...

Foster to Maddon: "Pierzynski caught the ball poorly" ... According to Fox Sports, Foster opined "Had I had a chance to call that pitch again, I would not have called it a strike."

Lindsay said...

that was one of those 'what the hell was i thinking?!?' calls- i think even marty was confused. and he had good mechanics, as in he paused and didn't call it too quickly. he must have just had 'strike' in his head and went with it. in any case, that's beyond terrible, especially on a game-ending call. really embarrassing and unfair for tampa.

Lindsay said...

The Joyce call on Pierre was a gimme. I couldn't believe the manager even left his seat. Pierre's later comment was priceless stupidity - "They basically got rewarded for a bad throw." - No Juan, you got punished for being a terrible baserunner.
The Fairchild call on the Espinosa play was brilliant.Taking the time to determine exactly when and where and how contact was made is why this play was called correctly. I understand why the manager came out; it was all likely to fast for him. I'm just glad he didn't talk himself into an ejection.

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