Chase Utley was out

By jes. on October 11, 2015

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LOS ANGELES (Herald de Paris) — ¬†Last night’s loss by the New York¬†, in NLDS game 2 with the Dodgers in Los Angeles was tainted by a blown interpretation on the Major League Baseball Rule Book by MLB umpires.

In the 7th inning, with the Dodgers rallying, Howie Kendrick hit a ground ball to Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy.  Murphy flipped the ball to Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, who was in the process of turning a double play when the runner moving from first base to second, Chase Utley, slid not towards the base, but instead directly at the spinning Tejada.

Chase Utley broke Ruben Tejada’s leg. ¬†Almost more shockingly, however, Utley was also ruled safe.

This was a gross violation of MLB rules.  The rule book states:

Interference

There are 4 types of interference:

  1. Offensive
  2. Defensive (This only applies to interfering with the batter. Hindering a runner is called OBSTRUCTION)
  3. Umpire
  4. Spectator
  1. Offensive interference is an act by a member of the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make aplay.

Note that interference may be caused by any member of the offensive team. A batter, runner, base coach, player in the dugout, or in the bullpen.

Note however, that the act of interference must be with a fielder “ATTEMPTING TO MAKE A PLAY.”

A “PLAY” is an act of throwing, a tag attempt of a runner or a base. An out is not called unless the fielder is hindered while actually attempting to make a play. An out is not called simply because the fielder could have, or should have, or would have, or might have, had a play.

A fielder chasing after an overthrown, loose ball, is not a play. However, an out could be called if the offense did something intentional and blatant to hinder the fielder. Otherwise, it is nothing.

It is not interference, if the fielder starts to throw and then stops because an offensive player is in his way. Also, interference on a thrown ball, or throw attempt, or tag attempt, must be intentional.

Interference is judged and penalized several different ways, depending on where the interference occurs and who caused it. There are many different offensive interference situations:

  1. batter in the box after a swing
  2. batter in the box after a pitch is caught
  3. batter in the box after a pitch is missed by the catcher
  4. batter out of the box
  5. coach interference
  6. on-deck batter or other player interference
  7. runner interference with a batted ball

The runner must avoid a fielder who is attempting to field a batted ball. The fielder’s protection begins the moment the ball is hit. That protection continues as he completes his initial play, up through the act of throwing. His protection ends if he misplays the batted ball and has to move more than a step and a reach to recover it. Umpire school manual.

Contact with the fielder is not necessary for interference to be called. If the runner does not avoid the fielder, the ball is dead and he is out. No other runners may advance beyond the base they last held at the time of the interference. Rule 7.09(L). If the batter-runner has not reached first base, runners remain at their bases held at the time-of-pitch. 7.08(b)

If a fielder is in the base path and attempting to field a batted ball, the runner must avoid him. The fielder is protected even if he is not in the path and then moves into the path. The runner has the responsibility to avoid the fielder wherever he may move to try to field the ball. If the runner does not avoid the fielder, it is interference whether the act was intentional or not. 7.08(b).      

If a fielder is not in the base path, the runner is considered to have avoided the fielder, if the runner stays in the path. Running in the base path in front of a fielder, who is not in the path, is NOT interference. The runner has a right to the path when the fielder is not in the path. However, the runner must simply run in the path. If he does something while in the path that, in the umpire’s judgment, was intent to hinder or interfere with the fielder, he may be called out even while in the path or after having avoided the fielder.

Chase Utley should have been ruled out, which would have drastically altered the outcome of the game.



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