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. 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:
- Offensive Interference
- Defensive Interference
- Catcher's Interference
- Kicker's Interference
- Referee's Interference
- Spectator Interference
IMPORTANT: Depending on the level of play and the rules of the league, interference rules may be different. Please refer to your league's rulebook for more information.
Offensive interference most often occurs when a runner or kicker-runner intentionally tries to hinder the fielders' ability to field the kickball and/or execute a defensive play. In cases of offensive interference, the kickball becomes dead and the player who committed the interference is out. Other runners may be out as well, depending on the circumstance. Baserunners may also have to return to their previously occupied base.
Defensive interference most often occurs when a fielder intentionally interferes with the baserunner's ability to run between the bases in the baselines. If defensive interference occurs on a play, the baserunner is automatically safe on-base.
Catcher's interference occurs when the catcher makes contact with the kicker during a pitch, and/or hinders the kicker'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 kicker's bat. Catcher's interferences result in a dead kickball and the kicker being rewarded first base.
One form of referee's interference is when the home plate referee hinders the catcher's ability to throw the kickball, either to the pitcher or to a fielder in order to prevent a stolen base. If the catcher still successfully throws the runner out, an referee's interference is not called. However, if there was referee's interference and the runner was not thrown out, the kickball is dead and any advancing runners must return to their original base.
Another form of referee's interference is when a fair kickball accidentally touches a referee before touching or passing a fielder. If this happens, the kickball is dead and the kicker is automatically awarded first base. Any other runners only advance if forced.
Obstruction occurs when a fielder, who does not have the kickball 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 kickball or in the middle of fielding the kickball. The referee determines whether or not a fielder is in the process of fielding the kickball or not.
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 kickball is dead and the referee awards a base to any baserunners who would have otherwise advanced without the interference. This is up to the referee's discretion. In addition, the fan who committed the interference is often ejected from the game.