Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Did Gomes Interfere with Adames in Brewers-Cubs ST?

When Cubs baserunner R2 Yan Gomes stood in Brewers shortstop Willy Adames' way during a ground ball in the 5th inning of Tuesday's Milwaukee-Chicago game, 2B Umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled no interference had occurred. You've asked us to review the play to see if a call could have been made and our answer is 'yes'—in two different ways.

By now, you should be familiar with our right-of-way axiom: a fielder has the right to field a batted ball while the runner has primary right of way at any other time (other than a batted ball). Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(3) puts a runner out for interference when "they intentionally interfere with a thrown ball; or hinder a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball."

OBR 6.01(a)(10) reinforces this: "It is interference by a batter or runner when they fail to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball..." The intent requirement on the runner's part only applies to interference with a thrown ball or fielder attempting a throw (remember the runner has primary right of way on non-batted ball situations, so to get interference on a throw requires actual intent to commit wrongdoing), but intent is irrelevant for a batted ball situation.

Accordingly, if your judgment deems the fielder was hindered or impeded from fielding batter Mike Tauchman's batted ball due to the actions of baserunner R2 Gomes, then Gomes is guilty of interference.

The second way to get this call is in OBR 6.01(a)(11), which puts a batter or runner out when "a fair ball touches them before touching a fielder. If a fair ball goes through, or by, an infielder [not including the pitcher], and touches a runner immediately back of them, or touches the runner after having been deflected by a fielder [including the pitcher], the umpire shall not declare the runner out for being touched by a batted ball."

On this play, the pitcher did not touch the ball nor did it pass any non-pitcher infielder prior to contacting runner R2 Gomes, so OBR 6.01(a)(11) would apply and put R2 out for the touched-by-a-batted-ball brand of interference.

One final question pertains to whether R2 Gomes was "protected" by having a foot in contact with his base at the time he was touched by the batted ball. Leaving the issue of timing aside (e.g., was he really touching 2B or did the ball touch him before he got back), the rules answer here is found in the MLB Umpire Manual which states, "The fact that the runner had contact with the base when struck with the batted ball has no bearing on the play. (An exception to this is when the runner is hit by an Infield Fly while on base)."

A ground ball is not an Infield Fly, so the exemption here does not apply and R2 Goes, thus, is not protected from interference simply because he is in contact with a base.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Runner Gomes steps in front of fielding Adames, but ump no-calls the play


Post a Comment