April 24, 2023

Catcher’s Interference: All Runners Advanced on the Play

In two recent Red Sox games the catcher’s interference rule played a major role in victories


Catcher’s Interference: All Runners Advanced on the Play

In previous reports, I covered the topic of catcher’s interference and how the increase in calls is concerning and is an underrated problem in the game. In two recent Red Sox games the catcher’s interference rule played a major role in victories for the Sox.

In the April 15, 2023 contest between the Angels and Red Sox at Fenway Park, Angels’ catcher Matt Thaiss was twice called for catcher’s interference in the eighth inning when the Red Sox scored three runs to erase a 7-6 deficit. Raimel Tapia and Reese McGuire both were awarded first base on catcher’s interference calls during the inning and both scored that frame as the Sox rallied for three runs to win the game 9-7.

Then in the April 18, 2023 game between the Twins and Red Sox, McGuire again was the recipient of the catcher’s interference rule. McGuire was batting in the bottom of the eighth with one out and Kiké Hernández on first base when his bat made contact with catcher Christian Vázquez’s mitt despite putting the ball in play. Plate umpire Jordan Baker properly kept the ball alive.

McGuire tapped a ground ball to third baseman Jose Miranda who tossed to Donovan Solano at first base. When Hernández  saw that third base was not defended, he sprinted to the base. This apparently distracted Solano who never tagged first base. The Red Sox now had runners on first and third and one out. Hernández eventually scored on a fielder’s choice tying the game, 2-2. The Sox would win the game in extra innings, 5-4, adding more importance to the catcher’s interference play.

Ruleball Comments

  1. It’s a myth that when catcher’s interference is called the ball is dead. As long as all runners, including the batter-runner advance one base on the play, the interference is nullified and the defense should play it like any other ball that is put in play. Credit Baker for signaling the interference but keeping the ball alive.
  2. Solano should have tagged first base. If McGuire was thrown out, Baker would have put McGuire on first base and Hernandez on second base with one out because runners advance only if forced or unless advancing to the next base when the pitch is delivered such as an attempted steal. Instead, Boston had runners on first and third and one out.
  3. McGuire appeared to be under the impression that the ball was dead. He pointed to Vázquez (a common reaction) as he jogged with bat in hand toward first base.
  4. As the Red Sox broadcaster said, “It’s catcher’s interference again, we’ve had a ton of them.”
  5. In both of the above situations, the interference occurred in the eighth inning. In my opinion, catchers should not be overly aggressive as to where they set in late game pressure situations with runners on base.
  6. There will be many more catcher’s interference calls this season. I hope your team isn’t victimized by the rule.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  Angels, D’backs, Dodgers, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees, Bally Sports, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  

Have a question or comment for one of our experts?

Don't strike out!

Become a part of the largest baseball rules community in the world!

Get free access to baseball forums, rules analysis and exclusive email content from current and former Major League Baseball players and umpires.