Does a defensive player have to actually throw for interference to be called?
by Dan Bollinger, Sr.
(Camilla, Georgia, USA)
Batter is entitled to batter's box on a steal.
Dan asked: Batter leans over the plate causing catcher to not throw to 3rd base to put out a runner advancing from 2nd base.
Does the catcher have to throw the ball and either the ball or the arm of the catcher have to contact the batter in order for interference to be ruled?
Or does the catcher simply have to stop his throwing motion to avoid contact?
Rick answered: Dan, thank you for your question.
Interference: a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder making a play.
The batter has the right to be in the batter's box; but he cannot create a scenario where the catcher is unable to cleanly make a throw.
As you described the situation above, it would become the umpire's decision as to whether the batter leaning in was an actual deterrent to the catcher.
The catcher doesn't have to make contact or make a throw, for the umpire to make the call.
It would all be based on how the umpire saw the batter's lean.
If he felt it wasn't detrimental to the catcher's ability to make a throw, no call, runner safe.
If he felt the batter kept the catcher from throwing, regardless of whether there was contact or not, he can call interference, runner is safe at third.
A play like you described is why catcher's are taught to step behind the batter to throw down to third. Provides them a clear throwing lane.
Yours in baseball,
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