Sunday, June 4, 2023

Cronenworth Runs Into Umpire, Ruled Out at 2nd Base

Padres baserunner Jake Cronenworth ran into 2B Umpire Ryan Wills on an infield ground ball as he tried to reach second base, falling over and allowing the Cubs plenty of time to get the out. Should this have been umpire interference or is this nothing...and where should an umpire stand on a play at second base?

To begin, this collision is not umpire interference as there are only two forms of umpire interference in the rulebook: one, when the umpire interferes with the catcher's throw to retire a runner (or interferes with the catcher returning the ball to the pitcher); and, two, when the umpire working inside (as Wills did here) gets hit by a batted ball before the ball has passed an infielder, provided it did not first touch the pitcher.

Thus, there is no umpire interference and no reason to declare the ball dead: 2B Umpire Wills is considered part of the field as Cronenworth runs into him and the out call prevails.

As for position, although an initial stance of Deep B along the infield grass is proper, perhaps we can borrow from the wild pitch principle of clearing the catcher to, instead, "clear the base path" (or potential base path, which includes the baseline) and thus avoid the likelihood of a runner running into the back of an umpire preparing to take a play at the action base.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Cronenworth stumbles after running into Umpire Wills; no call puts him out


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