Ask the Ump!


QUESTION: In high school, baseball and softball, batter hits a foul fly ball down the right field line near the stands. Right fielder reaches into stands and is about to catch the ball as a spectator contacts fielder’s glove thereby hindering the possible catch. Fielder drops the ball. Is this spectator interference?

ANSWER: This is not considered spectator interference; hence, uncaught foul ball and strike on batter. Spectator interference occurs when spectator reaches into live ball territory and contacts a batted or thrown ball. The field belongs to the fielders; the stands belong to the fans. (BB- Rule 5, Sec. 1, Art. 1, e; Rule 8-3-3, e) (SB- Rule 5-1-1, f (3); Rule 8-2-12 and Rule 8-4-3, k).

QUESTION: Batter hits a fair ball down the left field line which rolls along the stands and is touched by a spectator reaching over into live ball territory. Live or dead ball? Are all runners automatically awarded two bases?

ANSWER: Dead ball is called due to spectator interference. Umpires will judge base awards from time of infraction. (BB- Rule 5, Sec. 1, Art. 1(f) and Rule 8-3-3(e)). (SB- Rule 5-1-1(f, 3) and Rule 8-4-3, k).

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group