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MLB New Rule Fan Catches Ball

By Biraj Khanal / 14 August 2023 03:36 AM

White Sox Yoan Moncada flyiing onto catch the fly ball crashing with the fans.
Source : instagram

MLB New Rule Fan Catches Ball is the batter is ruled out if the spectator prevents fielder from catching a fly ball. It is called Spectator Interference rule.

The ball is declared dead in case of spectator interference with a batted or a thrown ball during the game, with the baserunner's position to be determined by the game umpires. 

Fan interference MLB has been part of baseball games from past time intervals. Jeffrey Maier is considered the Yankee folk hero after he stretched out in the right field to steal a home run for Derek Jeter during the 1996 ALCS game.

There have been many fan interference incidents in MLB history which decided the course of the game, including the famous Steve Bartman Incident, which is considered one of the controversial plays that occurred during the Cubs and Florida Marlins game on 14th October  2003.

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.

Mariners J Rod trying to rob a home run jumping up the outfield fences.
Source : instagram

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

MLB Fan Interference Ejection

MLB fan interference ejection is done by the game umpires if the fans interfere with the ball during the play or any other indisciplined actions during the game.

Ejection is the act of Umpire officials removing any player or coach or spectators from the game if they are found in violation of the disciplinary rules.

MLB fan interference during the game between Astros and Mariners
Source : youtu

Once ejected, they are not allowed to enter the whole game. Rare occasions are there when the fan's ejections happen in MLB but have been a part of MLB over the years. Behaviors including incessant jeering, cursing from the stands, throwing objects in the field, and obstructing the play through interference with the batted ball are the main causes for the fans to get ejected on some occasions.

One of the ejections occurred during the Chicago Cubs game when a Cubs fan interference with the ball during the play which is known as one of the famous Fan Interference Cubs called the Steve Bartman Incident.

The ball was traveling toward the outfield where Cubs left fielder Moises Alou was approaching. He jumped into the wall and reached for the ball but the fan catches ball Cubs game where Bartman was one of the fans who failed an attempt to catch the ball which was deflected away from Alou's glove.

Cubs fan catches the ball and loses game due to the field interference called by the umpire distracting the field of play. MLB rule fan interference home run is that the umpire always checks whether it is a legal catch or not and whether the audience was up from his seats while interfering or not. Then the necessary actions are taken by calling it a dead ball and the fan might get ejected for the entire game due to the disciplinary actions.

If A Fan Catches A Foul Ball Is It An Out?

Fan catches a foul ball and the ball is considered dead and umpires decide where the baserunners will be placed.

However, there is a Banana Ball Rule No. 8 in Savannah Bananas which states that if the fan catches a foul ball on the fly then the batter is out.

Major league has updated the rules and regulations with the new rules being introduced as spectator interference which states that the baserunners can be placed where the umpire calls after the ball is declared dead due to interference by the fans.

Savannah Bananas fans cheering during the game from the stands
Source : instagram

Catching a fly ball interrupting the fielder from reaching the ball can lead to the batter being ruled out and also fans can face ejections if they tried to reach onto the field of play.

During the 2018 season between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox game, the fan interference caused a controversy as Jose Altuve home run was turned out claiming the fan interfered with the ball while Red Sox Mookie Betts attempted to catch the ball.

Though the rule also suggests that no interference is called if the fielder reaches over the fence or the railings to catch the ball as he does at his own risk.

Due to this, the first-inning home run by Altuve was dismissed by the umpire officials which caused a controversy in the 2018 season. 

On the other hand, Savannah Bananas plays on their own rule created calling it the Banana Ball featuring rules including sorts of off-the-wall rules, showdown rule where pitcher and batter face off with no defense.

The rule regarding Savannah Bananas states that the batter is ruled out if the fan catches a fly ball during the fly. The recent incidents happened during the ninth inning of the game in July where Dustin Baber interfered with a line drive into foul territory which was past the third base snagging it with their glove.

Under Banana Ball rules it was counted as the final ruled out of the game with deciding the game winner.

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