Runner’s lane interference is a controversial call. The problem with this call is that usually it happens as the ball is bouncing away from the fielder. One team is all excited thinking they will get more bases on an overthrow only to have a umpire killing the play.
Rule 6.05(k) covers runner’s lane interference. In a nutshell, the runner has to be on the foul side of the line when running the last half of the distance to first. That is why that “lane” is on the field.
To be considered in the lane, both feel have to be it. A foot on the line counts as being in the lane. If a runner is not in the lane and interferes with a throw, he is out and the ball is dead.
The one sticking point against this rule is that the base is in fair territory. How can a runner be expected to run in foul territory if his destination is in fair? The rule interpretations allow for the last step to be outside the lane to get to the base. This is only allowed if the runner had been in the lane up to that point.
This rule is pretty much the same in all codes. One small difference is the quality of the throw. In MLB, the throw has to have a “reasonable expectation” to get the runner. This provision is not in the high school rules.
Few other things about this play:
- Awesome hustle and call by the home plate guy. He was right on top of it, made a strong call and sold it well.
- The announcers were on top of this as well. They pretty much nailed the explanation. This is a rarity.
- Notice the first basemen also was on top of it. He immediately points out the interference as it happens. Again a bit of a rarity.
- Not sure why the manager got ejected. This was a textbook example of a pretty easy to understand rule. I think sometimes managers think they need to be tossed on something controversial to stick up for their team.
This play does not happen much, but it is something that umpires should always be looking for. I did a scrimmage game last night and actually had this play.
Runner’s lane interference is covered on page 45 of RuleGraphics