Baseball Interference

What happens when a fan interferes with a game? What happens when a player interferes with another play? Get ready to learn about interference in baseball.


We've already learned about interference, or when a person (be it coach, player, or fan) illegally disrupts the game or changes the course of the play in ways that are not allowed or expected to happen.

Baseball Interference

Interferences vary in degrees of severity, and different rules decide the penalty for different kinds of interference. There are few types of interference you should know:

In this tutorial, we will learn about the various types of interference that can occur in a baseball game and their consequences.

Offensive Interference

Offensive interference most often occurs when a runner or batter-runner intentionally tries to hinder the fielders' ability to field the ball and/or execute a defensive play. In cases of offensive interference, the ball becomes dead and the player who committed the interference is out. Other runners may be out as well, depending on the circumstance.

Defensive Interference

Defensive interference most often occurs when a fielder intentionally tries to hinder the batter's ability hit a pitch. There are two (2) types of defensive interference we will cover:

  1. Catcher's Interference
  2. Spectator Interference

Catcher's Interference

Catcher's interference occurs when the catcher makes contact with the batter during a pitch, and/or hinders the batter's ability to swing at a pitch. This can happen if the catcher is squatting too close to home plate, and his mitt touches the batter's bat. Catcher's interferences result in a dead ball and the batter being awarded first base.

If a batter reaches first base due to a catcher's interference, his turn at home plate only counts as a plate appearance, not as an at-bat.

Batter Interference

There are lots of ways a batter can interfere with play in a baseball game. an example of batter interference is if the batter deflects the foul ball or if he hinders the catcher making a play at home plate.

Batter interference results in the batter being out and the baserunners returning to base.

Umpire's Interference

One form of umpire's interference is when the home plate umpire hinders the catcher's ability to throw the baseball, either to the pitcher or to a fielder in order to prevent a stolen base.


Obstruction occurs when a fielder, who does not have the ball or is not in the process of a fielding attempt, hinders the path of a baserunner. This includes a fielder blocking a base or the catcher blocking home plate, when they are not in possession of the ball or in the middle of fielding the ball. The umpire determines whether or not a fielder is in the process of fielding the ball or not.

Spectator Interference

You do not have to be playing on the field to be charged with interference. Spectators, including fans and staff members who are not a part of the team itself, commit interference when altering a play in progress. This occurs when a spectator touches a player trying to execute a play, or reaches over the fence separating the field and the stands and touches a live ball. In these cases, the ball is dead and the umpire awards a base to any baserunners who would have otherwise advanced without the interference. This is up to the umpire's discretion. In addition, the fan who committed the interference is often ejected from the stadium.

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