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Little League goes on

Spring break may decimate our practices, but thankfully war seemed to have no effect. Last night was what should be the last sparsely-attended practice due to family travels. One of the kids who was there had just returned from attending Spring Training in Phoenix. He eagerly recited the games he saw, and mentioned that he’d gotten Benito Santiago’s autograph.

We ran through more batting practice, first with me pitching and then with the kids taking turns on the mound. That was really more like pitching practice, since two of the four had a hard time throwing strikes. Several of the kids who I believe will get the bulk of the innings pitched weren’t there, so if nothing else I’ve got a firmer idea of who probably won’t round out the staff.

Tiffany was at the practice last night. On the way home, she asked me about one of the kids, whom she thought had an attitude problem. I said no, he’s just a hyperactive 10-year-old, who doesn’t have the patience to wait his turn and is always letting you know it. I told her I was a lot like that when I was a kid in baseball camp. I knew a lot about baseball, and I knew that I knew a lot about baseball, and I wasn’t afraid to let the coaches know it if I thought they weren’t measuring up. I’m probably the only kid who ever got tossed out of a game at the Hall of Fame Warrior Baseball Camp for being a pain in the ass. (Note to Mom and Dad: It was Joe Nugent who tossed me. I know you’re just shocked to hear that. I thought he was screwing us on ball/strike calls.)

Telling Tiffany that reminded me of a particular incident from baseball camp. One of the guys on my team had hit a home run, and as he was crossing the plate the coach noticed that the catcher had removed his mitt and was rubbing his left hand. It turned out that the bat had hit his glove during the swing. “Aha!” cried the coach. “Catcher’s interference! The home run is cancelled and the batter goes back to first base!”

(I should point out here that the coach in question was one of the lowly assistant coaches. Bert, Jack, or Larry would never have gotten this call wrong.)

“That’s wrong!” I piped up. I had just come across this particular rule in a Rules Quiz in Baseball Digest magazine. “If the batter reaches base despite the catcher’s interference, the play stands.” It was to no avail. The coach, who knew that I was a little sharpy, insisted that I was making that rule up and that the only possible outcome to catcher’s interference was the batter winding up on first base.

Do I really have to tell you who was right? Here’s Rule 6.08 (c):

The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when-

(c) The catcher or any fielder interferes with him. If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, the play proceeds without reference to the interference. If catcher’s interference is called with a play in progress the umpire will allow the play to continue because the manager may elect to take the play.

I may have been obnoxious, but I knew my rules. And I feel reasonably confident about how to handle kids like that. I had some experience with it before, you see.

UPDATE: To belatedly answer Rich’s question in the comments, catcher’s interference is scored as an error on the catcher.

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  1. Rich says:

    ok, if a player reaches 1st base on a catcher interference call how is it put in the scorebook?…….I was told (its a trick question too) that it is put in the book as a base hit (there is no other way to show it), if this is the case how can someone pitch a no hitter if there was a catcher interference call….this just happened in a little league game…florida vs georgia, someone please e-mail me on this one

  2. Matt says:

    Score it as “CI”. And give the catcher an error. The batter does not get credit for a base hit, but it does not count against him in his official at bats.