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A Rules Question?


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While switching to the Brewers-Nationals game, I saw something I've never seen before. There was a runner on 2B when an infield pop up came down directly towards the 2B bag. The SS moved to catch the ball but ran into the runner standing on 2B, and dropped the ball. The umpire called interference and the hitter was called out.

I would think that the bag would belong to the runner. And in this case, if the runner moved off the bag to allow the SS to catch the ball, he would have been called out if the SS, who also had a foot on the bag, had caught the ball.

It seemed an odd play, but the announcers barely discussed it. I'm going to look for a replay, but I'm curious about the ump's call. Any ideas?

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The baserunner is entitled to the bag if he's standing on it. If the play happened as you say it did, there's no way the runner could be called for interference. I would think any manager worth his salt would storm out of the dugout and bring a copy of the rule book with him.

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Rule 2.00


(a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with,

obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.

If the umpire declares the batter, batter-runner, or a runner out for interference,

all other runners shall return to the last base that was in the judgment of the

umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference, unless otherwise

provided by these rules.

Rule 7.08

7.08 Any runner is out when—

(b) He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to

make a play on a batted ball;

Rule 7.08(b) Comment: A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is

attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not.

If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he

shall not be called out unless, in the umpire’s judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or

foul territory, is intentional. If the umpire declares the hindrance intentional, the following penalty

shall apply: With less than two out, the umpire shall declare both the runner and batter out. With two

out, the umpire shall declare the batter out.

(d) He fails to retouch his base after a fair or foul ball is legally caught before he, or his

base, is tagged by a fielder....

You are correct in that if the runner was off the base, and the fielder caught the ball while in contact with the base, he would be out, pursuant to Rule 7.08(d). The umpire must have declared the runner's interference intentional, pursuant to Rule 7.08(b). If the umpire thought the interference was unintentional, the runner would not be called out. I presume there already were two outs in the inning, since you said the batter was called out but the runner was not.

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