Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Teachable - Catcher's Interference on a Check Swing

In our latest Ask the UEFL turned Tmac's Teachable Moments, we answer the question, "can you have catcher's interference on a check swing?" As Tmac explains, yes such a call is possible and we visit HP Umpire Nick Mahrley in Seattle for an example of such a play.

After Mariners batter Tom Murphy attempts to check his swing on a 1-2 offering from White Sox pitcher Dallas Keuchel, HP Umpire Mahrley hears two sounds as the baseball enters catcher Yasmani Grandal's mitt as immediately calls "Time" to acknowledge the dead ball.

As we view the play in slow motion, it becomes apparent that the batter's bat made contact with the catcher's mitt and we turn to the rulebook for an answer.

The Official Baseball Rule's definition for interference states, "defensive interference is an act by a fielder that hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch" and as we wrote in Case Play 2018-3, a batter need not actually swing for catcher's interference to be called. In this situation, the batter's check swing is arrested by contact with the catcher's paraphernalia before the catcher actually catches the pitch, suggesting that interference did indeed occur.

CI is enforced through OBR 6.01(c) ("batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out; if a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play").

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Can an Umpire Call Catcher's INT on a Check Swing? (CCS)


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