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Baseball Discussion Group / Ask The Umpire / Interference Call
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Interference Call

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Swiggan
07-18-2014 @ 10:11 PM                          
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http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/interference-call-leads-to-confusion-in-nats-crew-game?ymd=20140718&content_id=85134980&vkey=news_mlb

Wow, first day back from the All Star break and then THIS happens. Short summary: runner on first, reaches 2nd base safely on a forceout attempt but then interferes with the throw to first base. After some discussion, eventual resolution is that the runner that made it to 2nd is out for interference, ball is dead, batter gets first base on what I guess would be considered a fielder's choice.

The article attached to the video mentions that if the baserunner is called out for interference then the batter should necessarily be called out too, and quotes 2 rules in support of that opinion, but do either of them actually apply?

The first one, 7.08b, specifically mentions interference with a fielder making a play on a batted ball, which this wasn't. And the second one deals with intentionally breaking up a double play, but that doesn't really work either because there was no DP to be had. So...hmm. Was putting the batter on first base the right call in the end?

Swiggan
07-19-2014 @ 9:22 AM                          
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You know what? Now that I think about it I don't know that any interference at all should have been called. It wasn't interference on a batted ball, and IMO wasn't intentional, so couldn't it just have been "play on", Span safe at 2nd, Rendon out at 1st? Ugh...

JimIsom
07-19-2014 @ 2:06 PM                          
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Seems like a strange call to me.  The BR was clearly out
at first.  Is interference with a thrown ball immediately
dead?  That's the only way I could see the BR being safe
at first.

Swiggan
07-19-2014 @ 3:59 PM                          
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I see they've updated the story now, to include comments from the umpires as to why they did what they did. In a nutshell, they called Span out for unintentionally interfering with a fielder making a throw while standing on a base he legally obtained.

They specifically said that if it had been intentional interference, the batter would have been out also. I agree with that part, but since they agreed that it was unintentional I'm not sure I understand the reason for calling any interference at all.

VTHokieUmp
07-19-2014 @ 9:05 PM                          
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I'm not sure what rational or rule they used. From the replay, I think they may have had it right in the beginning - interference and a double play.  Span appears to come up off the bag and into the Gennett and it doesn't look unintentional to me.

If the contact was "unintentional" then it's nothing.  Span is safe at second and Rendon is out on the throw.

To be called out for interference on a play like this, the act must be judged as intentional.  In this case, if the act was intentional, it was meant to break up a double play and both Span and Rendon should be out.  Looks like they mixed a couple of things together to come up with a ruling that really doesn't have much rule support.  It's either nothing or intentional interference and a double play.

I'm only an amateur umpire, but I don't get this one.

Bill

This message was edited by VTHokieUmp on 7-20-14 @ 9:35 AM

mcollinspb
07-20-2014 @ 11:58 AM                          
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They got it right and then the conference and they then
got it wrong.  Clearly the intentional interference
occurred when Span grabbed the 2nd baseman's arm and
followed through into him.  Should have been an easy
call on the double play since the runner was clearly
out.

Looks to me like a good use of: "What other rules are
we going to ignore."  I'm surprised I didn't see it
used.  I often see it when comments are made about
amateur umpires making mistakes or not knowing the
rules and interpretations.

VTHokieUmp
07-20-2014 @ 2:35 PM                          
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I'm not sure it's a matter of "What other rules are we going to ignore."  It's more like "Let's get together and butcher this call."  

On this type of play, there's no such thing as "unintentional interference."  Span could not be guilty of interference if his actions were unintentional.  If he was guilty of interference, then by rule his actions had to be intentional.  If so, he's out and Rendon is out.

If it wasn't four MLB umpires, I'd say "If you don't know the rules you can always make some up."  I'm sure they know the rule (because they got it right initially).  In this case, they simply created a new form of interference that never existed before.  I'd love to hear Randy Marsh, Director of Major League Umpires, explain this call.

Bill

This message was edited by VTHokieUmp on 7-20-14 @ 2:36 PM

Swiggan
07-21-2014 @ 12:59 PM                          
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Thanks for the insight everyone - I didn't notice Span grabbing the arm of the fielder the first couple times I watched the play, but now have realized that's what happened I agree completely that this should have been intentional interference, both Span and Rendon called out.

I was also hoping for some sort of explanation by the league office on what exactly happened but it doesn't look like it's going to happen.

VTHokieUmp
07-21-2014 @ 1:57 PM                          
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It's difficult to explain the unexplainable...

Bill

mcollinspb
08-07-2014 @ 11:09 AM                          
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Bill,

I think you make my point in your reply to my statement and question about the MLB umpires decision in this play.

This message was edited by mcollinspb on 8-7-14 @ 11:11 AM



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