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Incorrect Rule Interpretations - a running list

Aug 1, 2019
164
28
South Carolina
To add to my last above, this is the interpretation I mentioned. The first is by Wendelstedt, and the second by Evans, who are two authors of pro rule interpretations:

"A runner that is running the entire distance outside of the running lane will not be protected if he interferes with a play at first base, even if it is in his last stride or step to the base. In order to be protected, this last step must be when he first exits the running lane" (recall that in order to exit, one must first be within)."

"A runner who has advanced the entire distance from home plate to first in fair territory making no effort to run within the lane is not extended the same leniency as the runner who runs in the lane as required and then cuts into fair territory near the base to touch it."

BTW, this interpretation is also endorsed by NCAA Softball. Here's a play from their case book. Note what they say at the end under (3):
A.R. 12-46. A slap bunt results in the ball quickly being scooped up by the
catcher right in front of home plate. The catcher is ready to throw, but seeing
the batter-runner in her way with one or both feet out of the runner's lane, she
hesitates, eventually throwing accurately to first base but the throw:
(1) arrives late.
(2) hits the batter-runner two strides before the base.
(3) hits the batter-runner on her last stride before the base.
RULING: In (1), the batter-runner has not interfered if a fielder
does not throw or hesitates before throwing. For interference to
apply, the batter-runner must be guilty of interfering with the fielder
taking the throw at first base. If the fielder does not throw, hesitates
and then throws late, or makes an errant throw, it is not possible to
determine if the fielder taking the throw would have been interfered
with. For example, if the catcher throws the ball three feet above the
outstretched glove of the first baseman, the batter-runner will be safe
by virtue of the throwing error, not because of interference with the
first baseman taking a throw.
In (2) and (3) the batter-runner is out because she interfered with the
first baseman taking the throw at first base. In (3), the rule allows the
batter-runner to leave the lane on her last stride in order to touch first
base. If she has not been running in the runner's lane, this would not
apply since she can not leave the lane if she was not in the lane.
(Rule 12.17.1.5.2)
I don't know if the same is true under softball sanctions that allow for a single-first base.
 
Jun 6, 2016
1,045
63
Chicago
It's strange that that play is never called on a wild throw from 2B/SS where the 1B has to come down the line to receive the throw and there is contact (or, even if no contact, the runner causes the 1B to miss the ball). Gurriel almost certainly wasn't going to catch that ball anyway, which is why I think they still got the call wrong. The runner didn't prevent him from catching the ball. The bad throw did.

Hopefully the rule is removed because in no other situation is the runner penalized for getting hit with a throw if they're just running in their set path. In fact, we teach runners, especially on third base, to run at an angle that will most likely disrupt a throw home. And, in fact, if we had this same exact play with a bad throw to the catcher where the runner clips the catcher's glove as he/she is trying to catch the ball (but doesn't actually have it), the runner would not be called out. It's very dumb to have a different rule for this situation, especially since it requires the (right-handed) batter to do something unnatural by forcing them to deviate from a straight-line path to the bag.
 
May 30, 2013
1,349
63
Binghamton, NY
my issue with this particular call, is the Runner ran ON the chalk line straight to the bag. its not like he was in the grass. if he did run “in the lane” and then veered into fair territory with his last few steps to the bag, (as the rule allows) he would have STILL made contact with the first baseman attempting to field the errant throw.

I was really surprised that after review the call stood. my only guess is that while reviewing, they realized it is NOT a “reviewable play” and then simply instructed the field umps to stay with the call made in the field
 
Aug 1, 2019
164
28
South Carolina
Hopefully the rule is removed because in no other situation is the runner penalized for getting hit with a throw if they're just running in their set path.
It’ll never happen. This rule has been around forever. The main reason it’s been in place is to prevent a bunter from gaining even more of an advantage on a sacrifice. When the batter bunts to move a runner over, they’re giving themselves up. They should not be allowed to make the play more difficult when their intent is to only advance the runner. It’s why it’s called a “sacrifice”. The BR has no business running outside the lane. So I just don’t see the rule ever changing.


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May 29, 2015
1,750
113
Runner’s lane interference is nowhere near as difficult as people are making this out to be ... but then the overly ignorant broadcasters and talking heads are not helping on this commonly misunderstood rule.

A batter runner is provided a “runner’s lane” for the last half of the distance to first base. Running in this lane (3 feet wide, in foul territory) provides the batter runner with protection from a potential interference call IF the runner and fielder tangle up while the fielder is catching the throw (not the throw itself, not a player hesitating or not throwing). Running outside the lane is not illegal. However failing to run in this lane opens the batter runner up to the potential interference call.

The batter runner is allowed to exit the lane to reach the base in the final steps. If the runner NEVER enters the lane (which is what happened in the World Series), the batter runner has no protection.
 
May 29, 2015
1,750
113
It's strange that that play is never called on a wild throw from 2B/SS where the 1B has to come down the line to receive the throw and there is contact (or, even if no contact, the runner causes the 1B to miss the ball) It never should be called on an obviously errant throw.

Gurriel almost certainly wasn't going to catch that ball anyway, which is why I think they still got the call wrong. The runner didn't prevent him from catching the ball. The bad throw did. Possibly ... but we won’t know, hence the reason for the call. It was not an obviously errant throw.

Hopefully the rule is removed because in no other situation is the runner penalized for getting hit with a throw if they're just running in their set path. The batter runner has a prescribed runner’s lane to run in. The batter runner’s “set path” is irrelevant. The runner’s lane does not exist at any other base because those plays are fundamentally different — the runner is not running through the play at other bases. Getting hit with a throw was not what the batter runner was called out for. He was called out for interfering with the catch.

In fact, we teach runners, especially on third base, to run at an angle that will most likely disrupt a throw home. If that is your style ...

And, in fact, if we had this same exact play with a bad throw to the catcher where the runner clips the catcher's glove as he/she is trying to catch the ball (but doesn't actually have it), the runner would not be called out. The runner should be called out if the runner interferes with the play (not saying that this is interference without seeing it). It’s not the exact same play as it occurred at home, where there is no runner’s lane and no protection afforded.

It's very dumb to have a different rule for this situation, especially since it requires the (right-handed) batter to do something unnatural by forcing them to deviate from a straight-line path to the bag. Agree to disagree. The runner’s lane applies whether the batter is left handed or right handed and benefits the runner, not the defense. Running outside of it is a choice with costs and benefits.
 
May 29, 2015
1,750
113
my issue with this particular call, is the Runner ran ON the chalk line straight to the bag. its not like he was in the grass. if he did run “in the lane” and then veered into fair territory with his last few steps to the bag, (as the rule allows) he would have STILL made contact with the first baseman attempting to field the errant throw.

I was really surprised that after review the call stood. my only guess is that while reviewing, they realized it is NOT a “reviewable play” and then simply instructed the field umps to stay with the call made in the field
I’m not sure where your chalk line is ...
1572571882804.jpeg
... I’ve got him on the dirt/grass line all the way. He was never even close to the runner’s lane.

Yes, he probably would have still made contact had he run in the runner’s lane ... and he would have been safe and headed to second because he would have been protected. Choosing to run outside the lane is giving up protection against that interference call.

Correct that it was not reviewable ... they were checking the rule to make sure they applied it correctly. They absolutely did.
 
Aug 1, 2019
164
28
South Carolina
my issue with this particular call, is the Runner ran ON the chalk line straight to the bag.
Not sure what you mean by “ON the chalk line”. The batter-runner is in the lane when both feet are between the foul line and the three-foot line to the right of the foul line. If their left foot is completely to the left of the foul line, or their right foot is completely to the right of the three-foot line, they are out of the lane and liable for the call. As long as some part of the left foot touches the foul line or part of the right foot touches the three-foot line as they’re running toward first, they are in the lane. Turner was nowhere near complying with this requirement.

its not like he was in the grass.
The grass has nothing to do with this. The runner’s lane is defined by the lines. Like I said, if the left foot is completely to the left of the foul line, that’s being out of the lane. Bringing the grass into this discussion is irrelevant.

if he did run “in the lane” and then veered into fair territory with his last few steps to the bag, (as the rule allows) he would have STILL made contact with the first baseman attempting to field the errant throw.
Be careful here. It’s not the “last few steps”. It’s the last step or stride in the immediate vicinity of the bag. But if Turner did run in the lane, and then exited on that last step/stride, and caused Gurriel to miss the throw, that would not be a violation. The rule clearly allows this.

I was really surprised that after review the call stood. my only guess is that while reviewing, they realized it is NOT a “reviewable play” and then simply instructed the field umps to stay with the call made in the field
I wasn’t surprised by the decision in the least because it was the correct call. My only surprise was why the crew chief stayed on the headset for over four minutes. It should’ve taken the time to answer just three questions:

1. Did Turner hinder Gurriel’s opportunity to catch the throw? Yes
2. Was he out of the lane when he did so? Yes
3. Was he ever in the lane to start and then exit the lane to touch the bag? No
Then he's out, by rule and interpretation.






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Last edited:
Sep 9, 2019
57
18
What's the rule in softball with the red bag? I've been told 2 different things.
1 the runner must stay in running lane through
2 the rule is the same as if there is no bag. It's there for safety only
 
Jul 22, 2015
298
43
I've been amazed at the "controversy" about the World Series call. May have been the easiest call the plate ump had all night. He NEVER entered the running lane and DID interfere with the catch. Pretty simple.
 

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