What happens to a fan if he or she interfers with a baseball game
Player Close To Going Into Stamds
Anonymous asked: If a fan catches a fly ball that a player was going to catch, what happens if he or she interferes with a baseball game?
Rick answered: Thank you for your question.
Rule (e) (3.16) Spectator Interference...When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball shall be dead at the moment of the interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.
Approved Ruling: If a spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out.
Rule 6.01 (e): Comment (rule 3.16 Comment): There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands, touching a spectator thereby being out of play even though it rebounds onto the field and a spectator going onto the field or reaching over, under or through a barrier and touching a ball in play or touching or otherwise interfering with a player.
In the latter case it is clearly intentional and shall be dealt with as intentional interference as in Rule 6.01 (d)(Rule 3.15). Batter and runners shall be placed where in the umpire's judgment they would have been had the interference not occurred.
No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator's interference.
Example: Runner on third base, one out and the batter hits a fly ball deep to the outfield (fair or foul).
Spectator clearly interferes with the outfielder attempting to catch the fly ball. Umpire calls the batter out for spectator interference. Ball is dead at the time of the call. Umpire decides that because of the distance the ball was hit, the runner on third base would have scored after the catch if the fielder had caught the ball which was interfered with , therefore, the runner is permitted to score.
This might not be the case if such fly ball was interfered with a short distance from home plate.
In the images above, a few different looks at this situation.
Image 1: Player is headed into the stands, the umpire is right on the call so he can determine whether the ball is touched inside the field or outside the boundary, and by whom it is touched, player of spectator.
Image 2: Far right photo, looks like a battle between the outfielder and the fan to the left, with his arms extended. Close call if the fan touches the ball as they are right on the boundary.
Image 3: Ball ends up being caught inside the boundary, had the fan reached over and touched the ball, or the player, it would have resulted in interference.
These situations are toughest on the umpires, mostly because some of the distances and angles, it is hard to see exactly what has occurred.
I believe that should interference be called when the ball is still on the field side, the fan is generally escorted out of the stadium for the day.
If the play happens inside the stands, the players go there at their own risk.
Spectators that go on the field of play are escorted out regardless of obstructing a play or not.
Yours in baseball,
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