Monday, June 26th, 2017

Batter’s interference

November 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Catching

Boy, there are so many things to write about concerning this year’s World Series. I’ll be writing about several but today’s is about something you don’t see very often.  And not because it rarely happens.

To leadoff Game 4, Alcides Escobar singled and attempted to steal second base on a two-strike count to Ben Zobrist.  Zobrist swung and missed and was called for batter’s interference when his swing carried him over home plate.  Not everyone was convinced it was actually interference.  Here is how one catcher spoke of it in a USAToday.com article …

At least one expert — former MLB catcher John Baker — pointed out that the contact looked a bit deliberate, suggesting d’Arnaud may have collided with Zobrist intentionally to draw the call.

I mentioned earlier that you don’t see this play often and not because it rarely happens.  It is rarely called because catchers usually decrease their chances of having it called by trying to avoid contact with the batter.  This is not easy to do in the moment but catchers should be taught to NOT AVOID CONTACT when a batter crosses the plate.  Basically, for most umpires, no contact = no call.

Did the Mets catcher go out of his way to make contact with the batter?  He most certainly did.  Exactly as he should have!  Here is the sequence …

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In that instance, with Escobar running and a two-strike count, it is very unlikely Travis d’Arnaud will be able to throw out Escobar at second base.  He sees Zobrist cross the plate and he makes the contact obvious to the umpire – with an exaggerated fall along with it.  

My only criticism of the catcher’s actions is that he never let go of the ball.  Often, if there is no throw, no call is made either.  When I work with catchers I tell them to make contact with the batter and make it obvious that the contact negatively effected your throw.  Don’t throw it into the outfield but leave no doubt that the batter effected your throw.

All things considered, it was a great, heads-up play by the Mets catcher.  Most catchers don’t think that quick in the moment.  Kudos!   

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