Fan Interference Call Revisited

“No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk.”
Note the man on the lower far right. His left hand is holding the yellow rail that marks the spot where the field of play ends and the stands begin. Then note the deeper stands site to where the ball is landing near his palm up right hand. The NY “out” call should’ve been ruled a HR for Altuve. Fielder Betts was in the fans area at his own risk. (Bottom of 1st, ALCS Game 4, 2018)


“Rule 3.16 Comment: There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands, touching a spectator thereby being out of play even though it rebounds onto the field and a spectator going onto the field or reaching over, under or through a barrier and touching a ball in play or touching or otherwise interfering with a player. In the latter case it is clearly intentional and shall be dealt with as intentional interference as in Rule 3.15. Batter and runners shall be placed where in the umpire’s judgment they would have been had the interference not occurred.

“No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator’s interference.”



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


4 Responses to “Fan Interference Call Revisited”

  1. Sumner Hunnewell Says:


    Since I am a Red Sox fan and the guy who got in the way of Betts looks like your brother, I’m not sure if you’re qualified to make this call.

    I’m just hoping that they aren’t beat up on the way out. I’m listening to it on the radio & I went to see it on TV and told my wife “Bartman ball.” Then, of course, I had to explain that.

    If the Astros win, no one will remember. If they lose, they will remember like I remember Ed Arbrister in 1975 when I was 13 years old.


  2. Michael McCroskey Says:

    Absolutely correct, Bill. Umpire Joe West gave it his best shot, and with all the technology currently available to the baseball world, there was not a centerfield fence shot to provide conclusive evidence for the “experts” in New York to overturn what should have been an easy call after viewing the replay. You saw it, I saw it, even the TV announcers saw it. Only the “experts” couldn’t see it well enough to overturn it, and Altuve is robbed of a home run.
    Its anybody’s ball once it crosses over the fence, and the fans knocked it back into the field. This is not the first time this year the “experts” have failed us. I’m not faulting Joe West, it was a tough call, but these “experts” are getting to be a bit tiresome.

  3. Baseball as Life Strikes Again | The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    […] Astros, Baseball History, and other Musings of Heart and Humor « Fan Interference Call Revisited […]

  4. Fred Soland Says:

    That call was brutal. Only a Red Sox fan would agree with the ruling. Once the ball is outside of the playing field boundaries, it does not matter that the played may or may not have been able to extend and catch the ball, it is fair game for all. The fan did not extend beyond the fence and therefore was not guilty of fan interference….PERIOD!!

    Joe West blew the call. The useless bunch in NY botched yet another review.

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