Ken Vanderpoel, MSBL National Umpire-In-Chief 2002
(This article appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of HardBall Magazine)
Rule 7.08(f). Any runner is out when…he
is touched by a fair ball in fair territory before the ball has touched or passed an infielder. The ball is
dead and no runner may score, nor runners advance, except runners forced to
a runner is struck by a batted ball, he has committed interference and is
declared out. Right? Well, not necessarily. Several situations must be considered
before applying this rule as it seems to be written.
The Pitcher A Fielder?
pitcher is not considered a fielder for the purposes of this rule, unless he
touches the ball. In that case, the rule
is enforced as if the pitcher were any other infielder.
Passes Fielder #1, but Fielder #2 Has Chance
ball passes the third baseman untouched, then strikes a runner advancing from
second base while he is in front of the shortstop who has an obvious chance to
make a play. In this case, the ball is dead and the runner is out.
Touched by Fielder, Strikes Runner
when any fielder touches a batted ball which then strikes a runner, the ball
remains live and the runner is not out. A baserunner can not be expected to
avoid a deflected ball while running.
Touched by Fielder, Runner Lets it Touch Him
the umpire judges that a runner intentionally lets a deflected ball hit him in
order to prevent another fielder from making a play on the ball, he shall be
declared out and the ball becomes dead. In addition, the batter-runner will be
Ball Strikes Runner Standing On Base
a runner standing on third base in fair territory is struck by a batted ball,
also in fair territory, he is out. The base provides no protection, unless the
batted ball is declared an Infield Fly by the umpire. In that case, the runner
is not out; the batter is out by virtue of the Infield Fly Rule.
Chooses Not to Make a Play
batter bunts a ball down the third base line. If the defense allows the ball to
roll with attempting to field it and the ball strikes third base before
contacting the runner sliding into third, the runner is safe and ball remains
in play. Even though the ball has not actually passed a fielder, the runner
shall not be in jeopardy of committing interference, because the defense has
chosen not to field the ball.
with all this information, make a ruling on the following play: Runner on
second base, one out. Batter hits a ground ball to the left side of the
infield. The third baseman charges in on the grass to cut it off and the
shortstop breaks deep toward the hole as the runner advances.
ball is deflected by the third baseman in the direction of the shortstop, who
would have had a play, but the ball struck the runner and no play was possible.What is the ruling?
runner is not out and the ball remains alive and in play (assuming no
intentional interference by the runner). The fact that the shortstop would have
been able to make a play had the ball not struck the runner is disregarded,
because the ball was first deflected by the third baseman.