Can a call of foul ball made by the home plate umpire be changed if the base umpire declares catcher's interference?
by Jim Caudle
Interference Or Foul Ball?
Jim asked: The batter swung and fouled the ball back, hitting the catcher's mask, and then rebounded into fair territory.
The home plate umpire declared "foul ball" (dead ball).
The team at bat protested the call, saying the batter's swing made contact with the catcher's mitt, and therefore "catcher's interference" should be charged.
The two umpires conferred and the base umpire said the bat did touch the catcher's glove. After a protracted and heated dispute, the "foul ball" ruling stood.
The batter resumed his turn at bat. The basis cited for the ruling was that once a foul ball was declared, the ball was dead negating any further action.
Rick answered: Jim, thank you for your question.
Once the dust settled on both those events, the catcher's interference happened prior to the foul ball off the catcher's mask.
When the base umpire came into the picture and said he saw catcher's interference, a conference between the two umpires should have taken place, and the first infraction should take precedence over the second.
If both umpires agreed on the interference call, then that should have been enforced, putting the batter on first base, new hitter at the plate.
If the home plate umpire didn't see the interference, he could still defer to the base ump, as generally on those 2 man crews, the home plate umpire is the crew chief.
If he didn't see the interference himself, he could rule as he did, although most crew chiefs I have seen would go with his partners call, if it occurred first, which this one did.
For all umpiring crews, the concept is to get the call right. The foul ball call came a split second after the interference occurred, they have the authority to call the interference and put the batter on first.
Yours in baseball,
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