Monday, September 6, 2010

Rule 7.09(h) and other fun stuff

But Mr. Umpire, sir, I was safe, really I was.

Rule 7.09
It is interference by a batter or a runner when:
(h) In the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base.

My copy of the rules lists that as 7.09(i), but my copy is about 15 years old and they may have tightened up the section. All the stories say 7.09(h), so that's what I'll go with.

Rule 7 is about base running, and 7.09 deals with baserunner interference, (h) obviously with interference by the coaches. 

On the face of it, 7.09(h) gives the umpire discretion. It appears, from the comments in the postgame stories, that in practice, there's a zero tolerance policy.

The Rangers don't argue that the contact between third base coach Dave Anderson and baserunner Michael Young was incidental. They say it didn't happen. 

The crew chief,  Tim Tschida, said bluntly, "They can't make contact."

Ron Gardenhire: "It probably didn't help him stop, or it didn't help him get back, but contact is contact, and that's what Alfonso (Marquez) called." 

My take on it: There was contact, and so what? The rule book should be interpreted literally, and I don't think the hand contact "physically assisted" Young. Bad call.

And as a Twins fan, I'll take it. That same ump jobbed the Twins earlier this season.  


The Twins got no help from the Red Sox this weekend. Chicago swept that series — the White Sox are 6-0 on their current road trip — and had to score four in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon to do it.

Two reasons to expect little from Boston this month. One, they've got injury problems: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron are all out for the season. That's half the infield and two-thirds of the outfield regulars. Second, they've fallen out of contention — 10 games out in the division, 7.5 in the wild card — and veteran-laden teams having disappointing seasons have a tendency to pack it in.

The White Sox have another series late in September against Boston. The schedule again conspires against the Twins.


Poll stuff: 43 votes on who should be AL MVP. Twenty nine — 67 percent — love them some Josh Hamilton. Seven (16 percent) went for Miguel Cabrera, three (7 percent) for Robinson Cano or none of the above; one for Evan Longoria. 

New poll, related to the Monday print column, is  up.


  1. How's an ump suppose to visually tell whether the 3rd base coach helped or not? The touch doesn't need to physically aid the runner to make a difference - the touch allows the runner not to have to try to pick up where the ball is going & allows him to react quicker to return to the bag.

  2. I am a minor league umpire in the Eastern League... You are correct, there was no assisting, but Alfonso (Marquez)is watching the touch of 3rd and what he saw as contact. Whether is was assisted or not, you cannot make contact with the coaches while a play is being made on you. If a play is not being made on you there is a gray area unless it is so blunt, like running over the coach or he physically picks you up and ushers you back to the bag. A lot of times you see the coach after a base hit, put their arm around the player to give instructions or a high five or a hand shake. That is the gray area I am talking about. This play in question, they clearly made contact with their arms if not just the hands. The fact that the coach was putting his arms out to stop young from continuing home before the contact was made is enough in an umpires judgment to say the coach was assisting the runner.

  3. Thank you, Jay. I had a suspicion that the fact that Hudson threw to third was important in that call. That's the play being made.

  4. It looks like it is 7.09(g) now:

    It's a judgment call. I might not have called it, but I also don't have the same angle on the play. The bottom line is if you don't want to be on the wrong end of those types of calls, don't put yourself in that spot.