Ask the Ump!

OBSTRUCTION / INTERFERENCE

QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, catcher’s mitt hinders the batter’s swing by making contact with bat. The pitch is fouled off. Umpire calls interference on catcher. Plate umpire then gives options to the offensive coach; reset the count and continue the at bat or award batter first base. Is this proper rule application?

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ANSWER: Although this is referred to as interference, the correct call is catcher’s obstruction; delayed dead ball until play is over. The proper options are: accepting the result of the play or awarding batter first base. In this play, offensive coach could decline the play result (foul ball) and accept the penalty (first base award). (BB- Rule 8, Sec. 1, Art. 1, e) (SB- Rule 8-1-1, d).

QUESTION: Runner on second base; one out; catcher again obstructs the batter’s swing but batter reaches first base safely as runner advances but is thrown out at home. Are offensive options still given?

ANSWER: If batter reaches first base safely and all other runners have advanced one base, obstruction is not enforced; hence, in above play, runner advanced safely to third but was thrown out , therefore, no option is given. Runners advancing one base safely run at own risk in further advancement. (BB- Rule 8, Sec. 1, Art. 1,e, 1) (SB-Rule 8-1-1, Effect 1-3).