Fan interference Baseball Rule
MLB Fan interference rule declares the ball as a dead ball if the fan interferes with the batted or the thrown ball in the game.
The rule was kept in place in 1931 for preventing fans from involving themselves in the game. The umpire provides the right to call the ball dead if the fans interfere with the ball during action in the game.
Interference can be of different ways in the game including the touching of the fair ball or a catchable foul ball flying towards the outfield fences for a potential home or ground rule double.
One of the punishments fans face is ejection from the stadium for their interference in the game because controversial decisions have been taken in the MLB games history due to the interference calls.
Umpires need to provide their game-impacting decisions during the play for the interference calls made. First, they should check whether the touched ball was a hit or a foul ball and whether catchable to the outfielder running beneath the ball.
Second, if the runners will reach their targeted base or not, and if the fans stayed on their seats while catching or reaching out to the field of play during the interference should be analyzed.
If the fan prevents the fielder from catching a ball then the batter is called out regardless of which team is at bat. The fan is taken out for the whole game if the interference is intentional but if it is accidental then the fan won't get ejected from the game.
Fan interference in MLB is not considered the ground rule double because the ground rule double can be caused by many factors including fan interference but spectator interference can result in getting the batter out of the game.
Here are the games with the fan interference mentioned below:
- Philadelphia Phillies Vs St Louis Cardinals, 3rd May 2010
- New York Yankees Vs Boston Red Sox - 14th April 2005
- Los Angeles Dodgers Vs Chicago Cubs - 23rd June 2015
- Cleveland Indians Vs Texas Rangers - 4th June 1974
- New York Yankees Vs Royals - 14th October 1976
- Hank Aaron 715th Homer Game - 8th April 1974
- Baltimore Orioles Vs New York Yankees - 10th August 1996
- Chicago Cubs Vs Florida Marlins, Steve Bartman Incident - 14th October 2003