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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 10:46am
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FED Rules. Batter attempts to bunt and pops it up down the first base line. The first baseman, the catcher and pitcher are all running toward the ball. The catcher is getting under the ball, but it is not obvious that he is going to be the fielder to attempt to catch the ball. The BR does the correct thing and goes around the catcher to avoid contact. The batter chooses to go around to the fair side of the line because the first baseman is on the foul side. When this happens, the BR collides with the pitcher and none of the three fielders catch the ball. The umpires called interference on the BR and called him out. Other than get the bunt down instead of popping it up, what should the batter have done to avoid this contact? Are all three fielders protected in this instance?

[Edited by harmbu on May 11th, 2004 at 12:54 PM]
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 11:12am
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Well you have 3 fielders trying for the ball. The umpire must decide who has the play on the ball. Now you have the batter trying to avoid one fielder and interferring with another fielder (what a mess).

At any other base, it could be just a train wreck but because this is B1 going to first so we have to add the running lane. Now, it sounds like B1 may have been past the 45' mark so now he has to stay in the running lane by rule. But B1 cannot do this because someone is making trying to catch the ball in the lane.

So here is where the umpire comes into play. If he decides that F2 had the play, B1 can abandon the running lane to allow F2 to make the play. Now it's just a train werck between B1 & F1. If the umpire decides that F1 or F3 had the play, then F2 has obstructed B1 and there will be an award. It all rests in the umpire who was there.
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 11:19am
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Only one fielder may be protected from interference (not obstruction) at a time, and other fielders thus may be guilty of obstruction. It sounds like your BR did everything he was supposed to, except that it is kind of a mess.

RULING: If the umpire judges that F1 was the protected fielder, "That's interference!" BR is out and the ball is dead, runners return.

If the umpire judges that F2 or F3 was the protected fielder, "That's obstruction!" (against the fielder) Since no one caught the ball, we can sensibly award the batter-runner first base on the obstruction and other runners bases that they would have made, if any. Forced runners would be awarded their force base. Under FED, this is a delayed dead ball, as other runners may try to advance farther than the obstruction would award them, though not likely in your situation.

Follow-up question 1: Suppose F1 obstructs BR, but F3 catches the ball in flight a few seconds later? Do we just quietly ignore the obstruction? Under which rule?

Follow-up question 2: Suppose this was under OBR, and F1 obstructs BR. The fielders were trying to make catch which would result in BR being out, thus the BR was the runner being played on, correct? So the ball should be immediately dead? Again, what if F3 catches the ball in flight after the obstruction?

[Edited by Patrick Szalapski on May 11th, 2004 at 03:44 PM]
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 11:23am
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Quote:
Originally posted by ozzy6900
At any other base, it could be just a train wreck...
Not quite true...runners are almost always obligated to avoid a protected fielder trying to make a play on a batted ball--if they fail to avoid, it is likely interference.
Quote:
but because this is B1 going to first so we have to add the running lane. Now, it sounds like B1 may have been past the 45' mark so now he has to stay in the running lane by rule. But B1 cannot do this because someone is making trying to catch the ball in the lane.
Here we are not dealing with any thrown ball, so the running lane becomes irrelevant.

P-Sz
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 11:53am
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Oops!

Oops! I did what I hate about other coaches and umpires. I confused obstruction with interference. This does remind me of a funny story though. The umpire (hopefully confused) called instruction. I would have asked if it were a combination of interference and obstruction, but he didn't seem to be in the mood for jokes at the time.

Thanks for all of the replies. I know that I can always go here and find the answers to my questions.

I have edited my original post to correct my mistake.
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 12:55pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Szalapski
Quote:
Originally posted by ozzy6900
At any other base, it could be just a train wreck...
Not quite true...runners are almost always obligated to avoid a protected fielder trying to make a play on a batted ball--if they fail to avoid, it is likely interference.
Quote:
but because this is B1 going to first so we have to add the running lane. Now, it sounds like B1 may have been past the 45' mark so now he has to stay in the running lane by rule. But B1 cannot do this because someone is making trying to catch the ball in the lane.
Here we are not dealing with any thrown ball, so the running lane becomes irrelevant.

P-Sz
Ah...Where's Umphater when we need him?

Patrick, there were three fielder here. How many fielders can be protected at one time? What then if the runner runs into a non-protected fielder?
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 01:04pm
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One thing that has been brought up here that I disagree with. I don't believe the running lane has any significance here. Just because it happened in that area, before 1st base, does not mean it was a running lane violation.

If in the opinion of the official, the fielder that had protection was interfered with, then we have interference. Otherwise we have nothing at all.
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 02:41pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by GarthB
Patrick, there were three fielder here. How many fielders can be protected at one time? What then if the runner runs into a non-protected fielder? [/B]
Not sure what you're getting at. One fielder can be protected at any one time, as I said above. If a runner runs into a non-protected fielder, it could be obstruction or it could be nothing.

Please elaborate.

P-Sz
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Old Tue May 11, 2004, 09:21pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by harmbu
FED Rules. Batter attempts to bunt and pops it up down the first base line. The first baseman, the catcher and pitcher are all running toward the ball. The catcher is getting under the ball, but it is not obvious that he is going to be the fielder to attempt to catch the ball. The BR does the correct thing and goes around the catcher to avoid contact. The batter chooses to go around to the fair side of the line because the first baseman is on the foul side. When this happens, the BR collides with the pitcher and none of the three fielders catch the ball. The umpires called interference on the BR and called him out. Other than get the bunt down instead of popping it up, what should the batter have done to avoid this contact? Are all three fielders protected in this instance?

[Edited by harmbu on May 11th, 2004 at 12:54 PM]
The key to this ruling is in your post, ie "he does the correct thing and goes around the catcher to avoid contact". If your opinion is that he did the correct thing then the catcher is the fielder you have identified as the one to be protected,and the other players are not relevent. And the running lane is a non-issue on a pop-up.
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Old Wed May 12, 2004, 04:29am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Szalapski
Follow-up question 2: Suppose this was under OBR, and F1 obstructs BR. The fielders were trying to make catch which would result in BR being out, thus the BR was the runner being played on, correct? So the ball should be immediately dead? Again, what if F3 catches the ball in flight after the obstruction?
If we have Obstruction and the ball is caught after the obstruction, the obstruction would be nullified and BR would be out.
The same would be true if the ball would end up being a foul ball.

Raoul
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Old Wed May 12, 2004, 08:02am
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Quote:
Originally posted by mach3
If we have Obstruction and the ball is caught after the obstruction, the obstruction would be nullified and BR would be out.
The same would be true if the ball would end up being a foul ball.[/B]
That would seem to make sense, but do you have a rule reference?
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Old Fri May 14, 2004, 02:19am
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It is out of the J/R Manual. Under Runling on Obstruction there is a footnote (#38 in the 2002 edition) saying
Quote:
if a batter-runner is obstructed before first base, but his batted ball becomes caught or foul, the obstruction is nullified
Raoul
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Old Fri May 14, 2004, 09:22am
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Quote:
Originally posted by mach3
It is out of the J/R Manual. Under Runling on Obstruction there is a footnote (#38 in the 2002 edition) saying
Quote:
if a batter-runner is obstructed before first base, but his batted ball becomes caught or foul, the obstruction is nullified
Raoul
What if a batter/runner is "obstructed" after he reaches first, then the batted ball is caught in flight? I realize we would probably just casually ignore the "obstruction".

P-Sz
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Old Sun May 16, 2004, 10:26am
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by harmbu
[B]FED Rules. Batter attempts to bunt and pops it up down the first base line. The first baseman, the catcher and pitcher are all running toward the ball. The catcher is getting under the ball, but it is not obvious that he is going to be the fielder to attempt to catch the ball. The BR does the correct thing and goes around the catcher to avoid contact. The batter chooses to go around to the fair side of the line because the first baseman is on the foul side. When this happens, the BR collides with the pitcher and none of the three fielders catch the ball. The umpires called interference on the BR and called him out. Other than get the bunt down instead of popping it up, what should the batter have done to avoid this contact? Are all three fielders protected in this instance?

[Edited by harmbu on May 11th, 2004 at 12:54 PM]

harmbu,

As BU in the A position I had a similiar play last week. Batter pops a bunt along the first base line with a runner at third base. F1 is drifting over, F2 is chasing the pop fly and BR up the line and F3 is coming down the line to make the catch. Just as F3 is reaching for the ball, BR collides with F3, and the ball lands fair and then rolls foul and comes to a stop.

At the point of contact between the BR and F3 my arms are going up to signal dead ball and as I yell "dead ball", my partner who was blocked out on the play by F2 signals foul ball.

Partner and I get together and talk about what we saw. My call stands. Interference, batter is out and the runner returned to third.

Of course I get to have a chat with the offensive teams coach who thinks that because the PU called the ball foul, it's a dead ball with a strike on his batter. I explained that F3 was attempting to catch the ball when his batter collided with the fielder. After the collision the ball went foul and in my judgment his batter is out for interference.

Coach was not happy but to his cedit he handled the conversation well.

Sorry for the length of this post.

Michael
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Old Mon May 17, 2004, 09:08am
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Exclamation Few clarifications

Once the ball is hit, the defense must be given opportunity to field the ball. If the BR thinks that defender is the first baseman then the umpire should probably think the same thing... protect the first baseman's opportunity to field the ball. If the BR runs into F3 then interference; BR is out; other runners return to base at time of interference.

Caught fly ball. BR is ALWAYS out. Obstruction/interference is irrelevant. BR is out - his batted ball was caught on the fly.

BR DOES NOT NEED TO RUN IN THE RUNNING LANE. BR can run wherever he wants. BR is protected from being called out for interference if he is running in the running lane and there is not a fielding activity going on in the running lane. BUT HE CAN RUN ANYWHERE HE WANTS. If he interferes and he is out of the lane, now he should be ruled out.
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