The Ole Ball Game

fielding coach interferance

by DJ

Overthrow At First Base

Overthrow At First Base

D.J.asked: Batter hits a ground ball to the outfield where the outfielder tried to throw him out but the ball evades the first baseman and goes into foul territory where a coach for the fielding team is standing.

The ball goes behind this coach and is fielded by the catcher.

The runner is screened from the ball and the catcher by the coach and starts to head to second before seeing the catcher had the ball.

He is caught off base and tagged out. What should be the ruling? Thanks

Rick answered: D.J, thank you for your question.

Defensive Interference, by definition is an act by a fielder that hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch. Not the case here.

Obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding a ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

Technically speaking, a coach of the defensive team who is wandering out into foul territory while the ball is live, becomes a part of the play and the cause of visual obstruction, which causes the runner to be thrown out.

Rule 7.06...When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call "obstruction"

a) If a play is being made on an obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead, and all runners shall advance without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpires judgment, if there had been no obstruction.

The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had already touched before the obstruction.

I have to say, this must have been one wild discussion.

Don't believe in all my 40 years of coaching, that I have seen a defensive team coach wander out of the dugout area, onto foul or fair ground, and get mixed up in a live ball play.

What was the actual call in real time, on the field? At what level did this occur?

Based on your description of the play, there is much room for "umpire judgment" as to what happened and what the penalties were.

Be interested in hearing back from you with additional information.

Yours in baseball,


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