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When there is spectator interference with any thrown or batted ball, the ball is dead at the moment of interference and the umpire will impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference. If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire will declare the batter out.
There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands touching a spectator and a spectator going onto the field or reaching over, under or through a barrier and touching a ball in play or otherwise interfering with a player. In the latter case it is clearly intentional and shall be dealt with as intentional interference as in Rule 6.01(d). The batter and runner(s) will be placed where, in the umpire’s judgment, they would have been had the interference not occurred. No interference will be called when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batter should be called out for the spectator’s interference.
- If the fielder reaches into the stands, he does so at his own risk.
- The umpire will award any outs or bases that would have been achieved had the interference not occurred.
- There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands touching a spectator and a spectator reaching over and touching a ball or player.