Thursday, January 16, 2020

Teachable - Runner's Interference Swipe

In this edition of Tmac's Teachable Moments, we visit the Northwoods League where HP Umpire Leo Cintron sticks with a play at the plate, calling a runner out even though the catcher appeared to drop the ball...or did he?

The Duluth Huskies bat in the bottom of the 5th inning with none out and runners at second and third. Batter Danny Zimmerman hits a line drive into left field, recovered by Eau Claire Express outfielder Zach Gilles and thrown to catcher Vincent Martinez as Huskies baserunner R2 Max Guzman arrives at home plate. Martinez receives the throw and puts a tag on Guzman as the ball pops free and Cintron signals an out.

With a third base coach in the dirt circle surrounding home plate as the play occurs at home plate, we have Official Baseball Rule 6.01(f) (Coach and Umpire Interference) in the back of our mind—just in case the out-of-position coach does anything to interfere with play, such as drawing a throw or tag—but in this situation, replays indicate that runner Guzman appeared to commit a little interference of his own, swiping at the catcher's mitt and knocking the ball loose.

Cintron properly invokes OBR 6.01(a) (Batter or Runner Interference), akin to Yankees batter-runner Alex Rodriguez swatting at Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS.

Remember, swipe tags are fine, but two swipes don't make a right, and as always, per OBR's General Instructions to Umpires, "keep your eye everlastingly on the ball while it is in play." In this situation, knowing precisely why the ball fell to the ground was key to getting this play correct.

This Teachable sponsored by UMPCourse.com, which can place YOU in the Northwoods League.
Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Teachable Moment - Runner's Interference Swipe and Umpire Timing (CCS)

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