Despite the fact that we have six rules references, umpire interference is pretty simple. Here's a summary:
- If an umpire on the bases is touched by a batted ball before the ball touches or passes an infielder (except the pitcher – just ignore the pitcher for now), you have umpire interference.
- If an umpire on the bases is touched by a batted ball after the ball touches or passes an infielder (again, except the pitcher) you have nothing – live ball, play on.
- If the plate umpire impedes the catcher's opportunity to throw to a base in an attempt to retire a runner, you have another color of umpire interference.
You handle each of these a bit differently.
In the first case, where an umpire is touched by a batted ball before the ball touches or passes an infielder, call interference on yourself immediately. Call "Time! That's interference!" Award the batter-runner first base. Other runners advance only if forced. (Your partner is laughing by now. Do what you can to recover your dignity and move on.)
In the second case, where an umpire is touched by a batted ball after it has passed or was touched by an infielder (again, not the pitcher), do nothing. This is a live ball. Play on.
If you are the plate umpire and, on a steal, you inadvertently bump the catcher or otherwise impede his ability to make a play on the runner, call "Time! That's interference." The ball is dead and any runners moving on the play must return to their original base. (Your parner is laughing on this one, too.)