Let me explain how a catcher should deal with a batter who gets in the way of his throw to second base.
This is actually a very simple play, the receiver just has to do his part and trust the umpire will make the right call.
Role of the Umpire
So, the first thing I'd like to do is ease your mind by pointing out that 99 percent of the umpires in the world (at every level) recognize batter's interference and absolutely LOVE to call it. (I think it makes them appear like they know more than they do.)
On top of that, assuming the catcher reacts correctly, this play really puts an ump in the driver's seat. Kind of like, "Bring it on coach...do you really wanna try to argue with me about this one?"
Like I said, it's an easy play, but its up to the catcher to make it easy. How do you do this? Simple. You've got to sell it.
Selling the Play
If a batter crosses the batter's box and gets anywhere remotely close to you as you're trying to peg a stealing runner, you MUST tangle up with him. And you MUST throw the ball.
That being said, in a real game situation, I'm going to tell you what your natural reaction to this play will be. You'll try to avoid contact with the batter and you'll hold on to the ball because you don't want to make a bad throw. DON'T!
If you react this way, even if the batter is jumping up and down right in front of you, the umpire can't make an interference call.
Repeat after me. Get all tangled up with the hitter, throw the ball, scream like a basketball player taking a charge or tripped soccer player, and sell that sucker.
If you do this, trust me, the umpire will smile, puff up his chest, and look right at the opposing team's coach as he calls the batter out and sends the runner back.
Then he'll probably thank you for giving him the opportunity to prove his umpiring worth. It's a thing of beauty and works every time.
Till next time, good luck, have fun, and keep your eye on the ball.
Brent Mayne is a 15-year veteran of the Major Leagues. He ranks 75th in the history of baseball with 1,143 pro games caught, and his .993 career fielding percentage is 4th all-time. Brent is the author of the book "The Art of Catching"--a comprehensive guide to teaching and building defensive catching skills.