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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 06:53pm
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Obstruction or not?

In a 14 Y/O travel game today, I was BU. A throw to first on an infield grounder pulled F3 off the bag and into the runners path about 5 feet down the line toward home. The ball was thrown too high for F3 to catch and after it sailed over his head to the 8 foot high fence, the batter-runner collided with F3 and BR falls to the ground gasping for air because the wind was knocked out of him.

I called obstruction at the time of the collision, then I immediately call time because I thought that BR may have been seriously hurt (which fortunately was not the case).

My partner who has much more experience than I, and who I respect alot, said that since F3 was going for the ball there should have been no obstruction call.

I told him that I called obstruction so I could award BR first base in case he had gotten tagged while laying on the ground. My reasoning is that if the BR gets leveled in a collision on a play like that, he belongs on first base and the only way I can do that is to call obstruction. That way if a fielder picks up the ball and tags the BR out while lying on the ground, I award him first base.

Should I have called obstruction?

BTW we were playing High School rules, which I admittedly don't know very well.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 07:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTQ_Blue
In a 14 Y/O travel game today, I was BU. A throw to first on an infield grounder pulled F3 off the bag and into the runners path about 5 feet down the line toward home. The ball was thrown too high for F3 to catch and after it sailed over his head to the 8 foot high fence, the batter-runner collided with F3 and BR falls to the ground gasping for air because the wind was knocked out of him.

I called obstruction at the time of the collision, then I immediately call time because I thought that BR may have been seriously hurt (which fortunately was not the case).

My partner who has much more experience than I, and who I respect alot, said that since F3 was going for the ball there should have been no obstruction call.

I told him that I called obstruction so I could award BR first base in case he had gotten tagged while laying on the ground. My reasoning is that if the BR gets leveled in a collision on a play like that, he belongs on first base and the only way I can do that is to call obstruction. That way if a fielder picks up the ball and tags the BR out while lying on the ground, I award him first base.

Should I have called obstruction?

BTW we were playing High School rules, which I admittedly don't know very well.
Your partner was correct.

The first baseman has the right to attempt to field the thrown ball.

From your description of the incident, you do not have obstruction.

It is what is commonly referred to as a "train wreck".
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 07:21pm
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Ditto. Train wreck. It's unfortunate, but if he is laying there and gets tagged he's out. He does not "deserve" first base, because he didn't make it there safely, and as Doug said, F3 has every right to go after an off-line throw.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 07:34pm
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Yes 1B has a right to go after and errant throw - but this was posted ALSO as a throw WAY over 1B's head. 1B does NOT have the right to throw his body around on a ball he has no chance of catching.
IF the throw is one so high that 1B never had a chance to catch, obstruction. Otherwise I'm on board with both of you.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 09:26pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTQ_Blue
In a 14 Y/O travel game today, I was BU. A throw to first on an infield grounder pulled F3 off the bag and into the runners path about 5 feet down the line toward home. The ball was thrown too high for F3 to catch and after it sailed over his head to the 8 foot high fence, the batter-runner collided with F3 and BR falls to the ground gasping for air because the wind was knocked out of him.

I called obstruction at the time of the collision, then I immediately call time because I thought that BR may have been seriously hurt (which fortunately was not the case).

My partner who has much more experience than I, and who I respect alot, said that since F3 was going for the ball there should have been no obstruction call.

I told him that I called obstruction so I could award BR first base in case he had gotten tagged while laying on the ground. My reasoning is that if the BR gets leveled in a collision on a play like that, he belongs on first base and the only way I can do that is to call obstruction. That way if a fielder picks up the ball and tags the BR out while lying on the ground, I award him first base.

Should I have called obstruction?

BTW we were playing High School rules, which I admittedly don't know very well.
From the OBR 2.00 definition of OBSTRUCTION:

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.

Based on the information in your post that I have boldfaced above, and this citation from the OBR definition of obstruction, I would say you were perfectly justified in judging (and obstruction IS a judgment call) obstruction and awarding the obstructed runner 1B. You have not only rulebook support for the judgment, as I've noted, it's also the CS&FP (common sense and fair play) call, given the circumstances you described. The defense shouldn't expect it can butcher a play that badly, knock the runner senseless in the process, and pull an out out of the rabbit's hat.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 09:54pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hensley
From the OBR 2.00 definition of OBSTRUCTION:

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.

Based on the information in your post that I have boldfaced above, and this citation from the OBR definition of obstruction, I would say you were perfectly justified in judging (and obstruction IS a judgment call) obstruction and awarding the obstructed runner 1B. You have not only rulebook support for the judgment, as I've noted, it's also the CS&FP (common sense and fair play) call, given the circumstances you described. The defense shouldn't expect it can butcher a play that badly, knock the runner senseless in the process, and pull an out out of the rabbit's hat.
I don't agree at all. He said, "The ball was thrown too high for F3 to catch and after it sailed over his head to the 8 foot high fence, the batter-runner collided with F3 and BR falls to the ground..." It sounds to me like the BR collided with F3 immediately after the ball passed F3. F3 wasn't "lying on the ground delaying the runner's progress" or anything remotely similar.

The fact that the ball was too high is irrelevant. This isn't football, and it's not the same thing as a Pass Interference "uncatchable ball" scenario. There is no precedent for saying that the fielder could not possibly catch the ball. The ball "sailed over his head to the 8 foot fence..." To me, that shows that the ball wasn't that far out of F3's reach, if it hit a fence behind him which was only 8 feet high. You make it sound like the ball should have gone over the fence and out of play, the way you are saying they "butchered it that badly."

I picture it more like: The throw was off-line and too high, the fielder had the right to try to catch it nonetheless, incidental contact with the runner. Not obstruction. Had F3 purposely remained in the baseline to obstruct the runner, then yes, you would have something. But this did not occur "after a fielder has made an attempt to field the ball and missed." It occurred during a play where he made a legal attempt to field the ball.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 10:15pm
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I have to agree with Dave: when the defense misplays, the fielder has to "disappear" or risk an obstruction call. F3's protection ended when he failed to glove the throw. I seem to recall this view in J/R (my copy has mysteriously vanished).

Don't confuse this play with the standard "train wreck" scenario. In the garden-variety train wreck, F3 CATCHES the high throw and comes down into a collision with the runner. We say "that's nothing," even though both sides want something called, because both players are doing what they are supposed to do: the fielder is fielding, and the runner is running to the base.

In the OP, the fielder was trying to field the ball, failing, and subsequently obstructing the runner. I'm not sure that I agree with the original rationale for the obstruction ("he belongs on 1B") -- depending on what happened on the overthrow, he might "belong" on 2B -- but I agree with the call.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 10:16pm
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I'm enjoying the discussion. Can someone post the definition of "obstruction" from the Fed rulebook, if it is different from OBR?

Also, does any rule actually say that the fielder has the right to step into a runner's path to field a thrown ball?
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 10:19pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbyron
I have to agree with Dave: when the defense misplays, the fielder has to "disappear" or risk an obstruction call. F3's protection ended when he failed to glove the throw. I seem to recall this view in J/R (my copy has mysteriously vanished).

Don't confuse this play with the standard "train wreck" scenario. In the garden-variety train wreck, F3 CATCHES the high throw and comes down into a collision with the runner. We say "that's nothing," even though both sides want something called, because both players are doing what they are supposed to do: the fielder is fielding, and the runner is running to the base.

In the OP, the fielder was trying to field the ball, failing, and subsequently obstructing the runner. I'm not sure that I agree with the original rationale for the obstruction ("he belongs on 1B") -- depending on what happened on the overthrow, he might "belong" on 2B -- but I agree with the call.
It seems you have been inbibbing in the left-wing propaganda trough again!
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 10:31pm
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There is a NCAA interpretation from Dave Yeast which, while not an official OBR interpretation, is a good rule of thumb as far as I'm concerned:

"While a fielder may not block the base without the ball, a fielder may move into the path of a runner if he must do so to make a play, i.e., glove a throw."

And the NCAA play example which illustrates this interp is as follows:

Play: R2 tries to score on B1's short single. The right fielder's throw is errant, and the catcher moves up the line to grab it. He collides with R2 but tags him out. Ruling: The play stands. "Both players were doing what they should be doing." - Yeast.

In my opinion, F3 was doing what he should be. The BR, although entitled to do what he should be doing, should see that the throw is off-line (as F3 moving towards him off the bag should be a clue), and attempt to avoid colliding with F3, if he wants to avoid getting the wind knocked out of him.
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Old Sun Oct 15, 2006, 11:19pm
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my vote is for "nothing". this is a classic trainwreck. as steve said, both players are doing what they should be doing.
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Old Mon Oct 16, 2006, 05:52am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTQ_Blue
I'm enjoying the discussion. Can someone post the definition of "obstruction" from the Fed rulebook, if it is different from OBR?

Also, does any rule actually say that the fielder has the right to step into a runner's path to field a thrown ball?
2006 FED 2-22-1 ... Obstruction is an act (intentional or unintentional, as well as physical or verbal) by a fielder, any member of the defensive team or its team personnel that hinders a runner or changes the pattern of play as in 5-1-3 and 8-3-2; or when a catcher or fielder hinders a batter as in 5-1 -2b, 8-1 -1 e, 8-3-1 c and 8-3-2. When obstruction occurs, the ball becomes dead at the end of playing action and the umpire has authority to determine which base or bases shall be awarded the runners according to the rule violated (Exceptions 3-3-1 o, 8-4-2c Note, 8-4-2d).

2006 OBR 2.00 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.

Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: 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: If 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.
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Old Mon Oct 16, 2006, 06:45am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanDiegoSteve
In my opinion, F3 was doing what he should be. The BR, although entitled to do what he should be doing, should see that the throw is off-line (as F3 moving towards him off the bag should be a clue), and attempt to avoid colliding with F3, if he wants to avoid getting the wind knocked out of him.
You have ignored black-letter rule in forming this opinion. Although obstruction is a matter of umpire judgment in general, the rulebook definition of obstruction specifically states that a fielder who has misplayed a ball can no longer be in the act of fielding. Thus, at the time of the collision (in the OP) F3 is NOT doing what he should be, he's obstructing.

I recognize that it might seem harsh to demand that a fielder "disappear" upon a defensive miscue, or risk an obstruction call. However, anything less risks punishing the offense for the defense's mistakes.
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Old Mon Oct 16, 2006, 07:33am
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Sorry mbyron but I disagree.

The way I understand the situation, F3 attempts to catch the ball and then is then is immediately run into by BR. If F3 was simply standing on the basepath after the ball has gone by without any attempt to run and get the overthrown ball, by all means call obstruction.

However, in this case F3 can't immediately disappear from the baseline as soon as the baseball goes past him. You have to give the defense the chance to land and then vacate the baseline to get the ball.

If they are slow in leaving the BR path call obstruction but immediately after an attempted play this is a train wreck.

As for your last line about punishing the offense for the defense's mistakes, this is perfectly legal if for example the defense is trying to throw a runner out and it hits the runner in the head and knocks him out. The defense is perfectly entitled to simply walk over pick up the ball and tag the runner out. Obviously, in this example the umpire would have to determine that the defender wasn't throwing AT the runner but simply hit him by mistake.

Last edited by tibear; Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 08:58am.
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Old Mon Oct 16, 2006, 08:54am
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No need to immediately disappear

Under OBR intepretations, a fielder does NOT need to immediately "disappear" after attempting to field a thrown ball (as opposed to a batted ball).

From J/R:

"A fielder's "try to field" a thrown ball is a similar concept to a 'try to field' a batted ball, excepting that a 'try to field' a thrown ball includes the actual possession of the thrown ball, and the fielder's actions immediately after a miss or deflection of the ball. Therefore, a protected fielder on a thrown ball need not 'disappear' after deflecting or missing a thrown ball, and if fielder-runner contact is instantaneous, there is not obstruction. (emphasis added).

Thus, in order to answer the OP's question I think one would have had to have been there and seen the play described. If the collision occured immediately as F3 returned to the ground after jumping for the ball, then I would not have called obstruction but rather would have adjudged it to be a "train wreck". However, if the throw to F3 was so high, that F3 didn't even make an attempt to catch it (by jumping, etc.) but rather just stood there and watched it sail by, then I'd have obstruction, as F3 was never in the act of fielding the thrown ball.

My post is limited to OBR and does not include any refrence to Fed rules.

Last edited by lawump; Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 10:31am.
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