The Ole Ball Game

Runner touches the ball

by Brian G
(McMinnville )

As the runner was coming into third base, the throw was late and he stood up.

The ball came in on the hop and he swatted the ball into foul territory away from the 3B player.

He did not advance and it didn't affect the play, but it could have?

Is there a rule against him touching the ball while safely on the bag?

Rick answered: Brian, thank you for your question.

Rule 6.01 Interference, Obstruction and Catcher Collisions (a) (7.09) Batter and Runner Interference...It is interference by a batter or a runner when: (10)He fails to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball, or intentionally interferes with a thrown ball.

Penalty for Interference: the runner is out and the ball is dead.

Rule 6.01 (a) Penalty for Interference Comment (Rule 6.01 (a) Penalty for interference Comment (Rule 7.08 (b) Comment): A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out, whether it was intentional or not.

If however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire's judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional. If the umpire declares the hindrance intentional, the following penalty shall apply: With less than 2 outs, the umpire shall declare both the runner and the batter out. With 2 out, the umpire shall declare the batter out.

All the rule book verbiage comes down to, in the umpire's judgment, was the runners' hindrance intentional or not. The action didn't necessarily have to affect the play, it is whether or not he felt it was intentional.

From your description, it sounds like it was an obvious swat of the ball, away from the fielder. If so, based on the number of outs, it could have been the runner was out, or both the runner and the batter-runner.

Quite possibly some excitement was created, no matter which way the call went.

Yours in baseball,


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