The game of baseball is full of little rules that come into play only every so often. And while some of these occurrences are not common, it is important the players and coaches alike understand how the rules work so that they can either avoid breaking them or know how the penalties should be enforced during a game. One such rule, is catcher's interference.
Catcher's Interference Rule
Catcher's interference occurs when a catcher, willingly or unwillingly, interferes with the bat of an offensive player who is legally standing in the batter's box. It is incumbent upon the catcher to allow proper room for the batter to be able to swing at the baseball. When catcher's interference is called, the batter is awarded first base. Any runners who are forced to move will also move up one base.
Catcher's Interference Scoring
In the official score book, the catcher is charged with an error. The batter is not charged with a plate appearance or an at-bat even though they are awarded first base. The official scorekeeper will make a notation next to the batter's score box that he reached first base due to catcher's interference.
According to Major League Baseball Rule 6.08, if catcher's interference occurs in the midst of a play, then the play shall continue until it is over. At the end of the play, the manager may inform the umpire whether he would like to take the catcher's interference call or the result of the play. For instance, if catcher's interference occurs on a wild pitch with a runner on third base and that runner scores, the manager will likely want to keep that result. However, if the runner was tagged out, then the manager has the right to request that catcher's interference be enforced. In that instance, the batter would be awarded first base and the runner would return to third unless he was then forced to score as base runners were moved up.
Waiver of Interference
If the batter reaches first base because of a walk, hit, error or other manner, and the rest of the runners on base also move ahead at least one base, then play will continue without mention of catcher's interference by the umpire. For instance, if catcher's interference occurs but the batter still gets a base hit, the umpire will let play continue and not call catcher's interference.
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