July 28, 2021

Crazy Play at Home Plate – Three Rules Questions Raised in One Play

Blocking the Baseline? Legal Tag? Team Member Interference?

Crazy Play at Home Plate – Three Rules Questions Raised in One Play



Regarding the on deck hitter interference, I think the rules are confusing.
The on deck hitter is clearly physically assisting the runner touch home. However, the rule that explicitly deals with physically assisting the runner is 6.01(a)(8): “In the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base,” That rule seems limited to interference by the base coach (not another offensive teammate, such as an on deck hitter) and to when the runner is leaving or returning to first or third base (not when he’s trying to tag a missed home plate).

The rule cited n the video is 6.01(a)(4): “Any member or members of the offensive team stand or gather around any base to which a runner is advancing, to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate or teammates” I guess the argument is that by physically assisting the runner, he has “added to the difficulty of the fielders.” A problem with that argument is that a runner who hasn’t already scored is allowed to physically assist another runner, but 6.01(a)(4) doesn’t distinguish between runners and on-deck batters; it just says “any member . . . of the offensive team.”

To make it clearer, MLB should amend 6.01(a)(8) to forbid any physical assistance of a runner by a member of the offensive team except another runner.

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.