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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 01:13am
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Play at the plate

Gentlemen:

I have been lurking on this site for a year now and have now decided it's high time to ask a question. So here goes.

Boys 13,14, & 15 year old, house league. I'm working the dish. R3 with 1 out. BR flys out to F9 for 2nd out. R3 tags up and heads for home. F2 sets up to receive the ball from F9. He blocks the plate with his leg as he receives the ball. R3 is sliding in feet first at the same time. I'm in 1BLX. Catcher receives the ball and tries to apply the tag but drops the ball. He still has the plate blocked with his leg so R3 never makes it to the plate. Players do not move. The catcher is blocking the plate and the runner is on his back with his foot stretched towards the plate. I don't make a call yet because I have nothing. No out and no safe. In what seemed like 5 seconds, but could have been shorter, the catcher reaches over, picks up the ball and touches R3. I call him out. Of course I heard a lot of "He dropped the ball blue". So I followed up with "Runner did not touch home and was tagged out".

Now my question. Could this have been obstruction on the catcher since he did not have the ball (he dropped it) but was still blocking the plate? I checked my J/R but could not find a definitive answer.

Thanks,
Steve

Sunny CA
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 01:22am
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i have obstruction here, as the catcher isnt fielding the ball anymore. now that he has fielded the ball, but has dropped it, his blocking the plate would be obstruction
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 01:23am
ggk ggk is offline
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good call. catcher was making a play on the ball. after he dropped the ball he didn't do anything additional to restrict the runner from touching the plate did he? the runner still had a chance to reach out and touch home.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 01:26am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggk
good call. catcher was making a play on the ball. after he dropped the ball he didn't do anything additional to restrict the runner from touching the plate did he? the runner still had a chance to reach out and touch home.
he doesnt have the ball anymore and he is stopping the runner from moving since he is still blocking the plate
"After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the "act of fielding" the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner." -- while the ball didnt pass the catcher, he completed the act of fielding and then delayed the progress of the runner towards home.

maybe im reading it wrong, but the way im seeing this has obstruction written on it

Last edited by briancurtin; Tue May 16, 2006 at 01:40am.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 01:54am
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It sounds like from the post that the runner just sat there and waited to be tagged. If he had made an attempt to touch home, and the catcher had continued to impede him, then I have obstruction. If he is just going to sit there I don't know how much "obstructing" is actually going on.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 02:25am
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yeah thats where im kind of rethinking what i posted about earlier. i cant picture a runner just laying there doing nothing at all, which brought me to my OBS call.

if he really does just lay there motionless, then i have an out once hes tagged.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 06:12am
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Steve:

Your answer will depend on what organizational rules set was being used. Little League, for example, has gone the way of the NCAA wording on obstruction by removing the verbiage "in the act of fielding" from the definition of obstruction.


OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. A fake tag is considered obstruction. (NOTE: Obstruction shall be called on a defensive player who blocks off a base, base line or home plate from a base runner while not in possession of the ball.)

This makes this an easy call. Simply put, if the fielder doesn't have possession of the ball he cannot be in the basepath to block the runner off of the plate. There are provisions whereby he can move into the basepath to field an errant throw, but in your play it doesn't sound like that happened.


In other youth organizations playing under modified OBR the wording is the same as pure OBR.


OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

Official Notes - Case Book - Comments: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered "in the act of fielding a ball." It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the "act of fielding" the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.



If you were playing under straight OBR then this wasn't obstruction until, as Brian first said, the fielder missplayed the ball. I think Brian should have stuck with his initial call because as soon as the catcher missplayed the ball we now have type A obstruction and a dead ball. It doesn't matter that the runner didn't make it to the plate. The moment the catcher played on him after the drop the play should have been killed and the runner should be awarded home.



Tim.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 08:27am
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I have obstruction BEFORE the tag - he blocked the plate without possession of the ball.

However, if he had the ball before contact occurred (thus no OBS at that point), and then dropped the ball during contact, then what matters is what happens next. Blocking the plate now would only be obstruction if he prevented R1 from attaining the plate ... which requires some sort of effort by the runner. If runner just sat there (either stunned, confused, or assuming he was already touching the plate), then there is no effort to be obstructed with, and we have an out on the tag. If runner made ANY attempt to get to the plate, and that effort was blocked by the catcher without possession of the ball, we have OBS.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 08:39am
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Guys, let's look at this situation.

The catcher dropped a throw, while the runner was sliding into the plate. The runner was blocked from the plate, so he never touched it. Catcher dropped the throw and during continuing action, reached for the ball and tagged the runner.

For the F2 to not obstruct in your interp he would have to move away from the plate to pick up the ball that is still within arms reach away? Seems like obstruction is a stretch in this sitch.

Bob P.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 08:52am
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I have heard and understand from veteran officials in my area, that on a misplayed throw and the ball is within a "Step and a reach" of the fielder, the "continuning action" mantra prevails. If the ball is outside this area, call the obstruction and award the runner home. Generally, this is between 24 and 36 inches (2 to 3 feet) from the fielder.

In your sitch, it sounds like the ball was within reach of the catcher for the play to be made. There was nothing stopping the runner from sitting up and reaching over to touch the plate.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 09:51am
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Doesnt matter how far away the ball rolled, if the runner does nothing I have no OBS. If the two separate cleanly (F2 to the ball, runner to the plate) I have nothing also.

If the runner is now impeded/hindered from regaining his feet (or crawling) to the plate as F2 is attempting to get the ball, now I may have OBS.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 10:56am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shickenbottom
I have heard and understand from veteran officials in my area, that on a misplayed throw and the ball is within a "Step and a reach" of the fielder, the "continuning action" mantra prevails. If the ball is outside this area, call the obstruction and award the runner home. Generally, this is between 24 and 36 inches (2 to 3 feet) from the fielder.

In your sitch, it sounds like the ball was within reach of the catcher for the play to be made. There was nothing stopping the runner from sitting up and reaching over to touch the plate.
I see both yours and Bob's point. If the game were being played under straight OBR then the fielder would still be protected from obstruction if the ball was within a step and a reach.

In Little League and NCAA this would be obstruction, as the fielder was set up in the basepath without possession of the ball.


Tim.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 12:28pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigUmp56
I see both yours and Bob's point. If the game were being played under straight OBR then the fielder would still be protected from obstruction if the ball was within a step and a reach.

In Little League and NCAA this would be obstruction, as the fielder was set up in the basepath without possession of the ball.

Tim.
Good point Tim, straight OBR and Fed (High School) allows the fielder to set up in the immediate act of fielding a thrown ball. NCAA was the odd man out until this past year when LL changed their ruling to mirror the NCAA. How long is it going to be until Fed changes theirs also to mirror NCAA and LL.

All these different rulings, and case plays. Pretty soon each of us will need to have a subscription to the baseball rules equivalent of the IRS Tax Code.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 12:50pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shickenbottom
Good point Tim, straight OBR and Fed (High School) allows the fielder to set up in the immediate act of fielding a thrown ball. NCAA was the odd man out until this past year when LL changed their ruling to mirror the NCAA. How long is it going to be until Fed changes theirs also to mirror NCAA and LL.

All these different rulings, and case plays. Pretty soon each of us will need to have a subscription to the baseball rules equivalent of the IRS Tax Code.

I doubt we'll be seeing a change by FED anytime soon. I know there's been a push to re-structure the FED obstruction rule to model the two type's defined in OBR, but according to Tim C the NFHS rules committee has no intention of implementing the change.


Tim.
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Old Tue May 16, 2006, 12:54pm
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FYI, my pea brain is still in FED mode, and will be until the end of the week!!

Bob P.
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