June 16, 2023

Meyers Not Called for Batter-Runner Interference

Replays indicate Meyers failed to run within the Runner's Lane and likely interfered

Meyers Not Called for Batter-Runner Interference

The Nationals and Astros played at Minute Maid on June 14, 2023. In the bottom of the ninth, the Astros were batting with one out and the bases loaded with the score tied 4-4 when Jake Meyers grounded to shortstop C.J. Abrams, who threw home for the second out. Catcher Keibert Ruiz tried to turn the double play by throwing to first to end the inning, but his throw went off Meyers’ helmet. The ball went awry and allowed José Abreu  to score the winning run.

Nats’ manager Dave Martinez argued with plate umpire Jeremy Riggs but to no avail that Meyers was running out of the Runner’s Lane and therefore interfered with first baseman Michael Chavis who was taking the throw from Ruiz.  Martinez began his post-game press conference by holding up a picture that showed Meyers running on the grass (out of the Runner’s Lane) on his way to first base.

“There it is right there,” Martinez said. “Take a look at it. Is that on the line? I don’t think so. I’m over this play. Seriously. They need to fix the rule. If this is what the umpire sees that he’s running down the line, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it. Fix it. We lost the game, and he had nothing to say about it, because he can’t make the right call. Brutal.”

Ruleball Comments

  1. In my opinion this was a blown “no call.” Meyers should have been called out for batter-runner interference.
  2. Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11) states, “A batter is out when, in running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, they run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interfere with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead.”
  3. Replays indicate Meyers failed to run within the Runner’s Lane and likely interfered with Chavis.
  4. By running out of the lane, Meyers hindered the vision of the first baseman for a good period of time and impeded the throw to first base when he neared the base.
  5. If Meyers had clearly beaten the throw to first base, I would not call interference. But this was a bang-bang play and I would protect the defense on this play.
  6. With that said, if Chavis took the throw from the stretch position, Meyers would have been out, and the game would have gone into extra innings. By taking the throw from the stretch position on slow developing plays, the ball will get to the first baseman sooner and he would be out of Harm’s Way of the batter-runner.

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.  

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