is a base runner allowed to talk, clap, move arond on the base path during the delivery of a pitch?
by Coach Troy
Runner At Third Base
Troy asked: I am a 13U travel league coach.
During a tourney I had a base runner scolded by an umpire for constantly moving in out out from third base while the pitcher was delivering the pitch.
The ump told me he was trying to cause the pitcher to balk. He said the runner is not allowed to clap his hands, stomp his feet, dance around, your cheer his own batter on during the at bat.
Is this a rule?
Rick answered: Troy, thank you for your question.
Section 21 Interference - Offensive, umpire, spectator.
Art. 1...Offensive interference is an act (physical or verbal) by the team at bat,
a. which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.
My guess is that the umpire is referring to the rule above.
Runners at third base have the right to move up and down the baseline, at any distance or speed that they wish.
Technically speaking, often times it is an attempt to rattle the pitcher, never have seen it called in my 41 years of coaching. It is a part of the game.
The umpire was correct, he probably was trying to get the pitcher to balk, or lose his composure.
There is leeway in the way this rule is written, which could be the basis for the umpire speaking to your runner, depends on what he or she determines to be hindering or confusing.
This rule is out of the Federation Rule Book. It is possible there are some travel ball tournaments which have a rule specific to this.
Yours in baseball,
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