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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 06:57pm
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New NFHS Fielder Obstruction

Earlier we had discussed the new NFHS rule on a player obstructing a base without the ball.

We know the new rule is very similar to the NCAA rule now.

There was some concern by some on this page that the simple "trainwreck" situation would now be obstruction.

I was in a group that went through the official NFHS Power Point presentation Saturday and there is a slide that is specific to the "trainwreck" situation.

The slide says that "trainwrecks" can happen and if both players are doing their job there should be NO obstruction called.

Hope this eases some of your concerns.

Regards,
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 07:19pm
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Thanks for the info,Tim. As usual, I don't get my books until March at our first meeting. I've been following all the FED rule posts that you have been involved with to try and get a jump on things.\

Regards
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 07:34pm
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Here's an exerpt from the 2008 NFHS Preseason Guide regarding the new obstruction rule:

"The new definition puts the fielder in jeopardy for obstruction when certain "train wreck" plays occur. A "train wreck" play is when both the defensive and offensive player are doing what is expected and they collide anyway.

Play 3: F6 fields a ground ball and throws to F3 in an attempt to retire B1 at first. The ball is thrown wide. F3 lunges toward the ball and B1 tries to reach the base, there is a collision that denies B1 access to first. The collision is not malicious.

Ruling: F3 is guilty of obstruction and B1 would be awarded first base. F3 must have possession of the ball in order to deny B1 access to the base. Even though some would argue that is just a baseball play where the ball, runner and fielder all came to the same spot at the same time, it is important to note that F6's bad throw caused the problem."


I haven't yet had the priviledge of seeing the Power Point presentation (my state meeting is in three weeks and I'll see it then).

The exerpt from the guide would seem to contradict the slide you are referencing. It sounds like the ruling hinges on a better definition of the ethereal phrases "both doing their job" and "doing what is expected".

Last edited by BretMan; Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 07:36pm.
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 08:32pm
JJ JJ is offline
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[QUOTE=Tim C]The slide says that "trainwrecks" can happen and if both players are doing their job there should be NO obstruction called.
[QUOTE]

At the NFHS meeting last week we discussed this at length, and the above statement is true IF THE FIELDER DOESN'T DENY ACCESS TO THE BASE for the batter-runner. Here's an example - in the play at first base, if the collision occurs (and the first baseman does NOT have the ball) and the batter-runner goes down in a heap, or is in some other way denied some access to the base, it is obstruction.
If, however, there is a collision where the batter-runner is NOT DENIED ACCESS, there will be no obstruction.
Now, practically speaking, the odds are the first instance is the one that will happen, but that's not to say that the second instance will NEVER happen.
That's why there are apparently conflicting statements from the NFHS.
Personally, I don't think this will be a big deal. When the trainwreck occurs I will look to see if the runner was denied direct access to some portion of the base by a fielder without the ball. Then I will make my decision.

JJ
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 09:44pm
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Cool

Hmmm...

While I will certainly defer judgment until I hear the IHSA pronouncement at the certified clinic in March, this strikes me as a strong candidate for this year's "pitcher going to his mouth while on the mound" award in terms of lack of clarity in the desired ruling.

JMO.

JM
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 10:12pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmpJM (nee CoachJM)
Hmmm...

this strikes me as a strong candidate for this year's "pitcher going to his mouth while on the mound" award
Which is cleared up quite well this year.
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 10:29pm
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Conflicting statements from Fed?? Noooooooo
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Old Mon Jan 21, 2008, 10:32pm
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OBSTRUCTION: Rule 2-22-3 (NEW)

It is obstruction when the fielder, without possession of the ball denies access to the base the runner is attempting to achieve.

There are three situations to consider.....

-(A) Fielder in the base path with the ball in possession.

-(B) Fielder in the base path without the ball, but the play is imminent.

-(C) Fielder in the base path without the ball, and the play in not imminent.

-(A) Not obstruction.

_(B) Obstruction/judgment

_(C) Obstruction/judgment

In the past, situations A & B allowed the fielder to block the base legally; situation C was obstruction if the fielder hindered the base the runner or changed the pattern of the play.

With this rule change:

-(A) Fielder can legally block the base.

_(B) Fielder can be in the base path, but must provide the runner some access to the base.

-(C) Obstruction if the fielder hinders the runner or changes the pattern of the play.

Pretty much spells it out in a nutshell.
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 02:53am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GarthB
Tim was addressing how FED explained the rule in its online clinic. Have you seen that powerpoint presentation? If so, do you believe that there is any deviation in FED's powerpoint from FED's rulebook?

Also, if you have seen it, has your state edited any of the text? Some states do and do not report that they have done so to the "average" umpires taking the clinic.
Garth,

What I do have is more of a photocopy of the NFHS PowerPoint presentation done by Kyle McNeely. He was at the state clinic this weekend and he talked about 2008 rule changes and he did the three and four man mechanics clinic. I have photocopies of that PowerPoint presentation also.

I'm quite certain that the handouts are the same as on these two powerpoint presentations. I doubt if any of the text was edited since Kyle was the one presenting his own PowerPoint presentation. It was quite good really and the text was very information. Kyle did a good job on his presentation, also.

The way Kyle described trainwreck pretty much summed up Tee's definition also. No deviation from the PowerPoint to rule book.
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Last edited by Steven Tyler; Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 02:58am.
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 03:24am
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Pray your state doesn't permit protests during the regular season, 'cause this is going to be a nightmare.

As I see this from the early view, there are three major problems:

1. Any time a throw is least bit off line runners are going to crash fielders in an attempt to draw an obstruction call and in most cases are going to succeed.

2. Every close tag play the offense is going to scream "He didn't give my runner access blue!".

3. Far too many simple train wrecks will result in obstruction calls and ejections. "He knocked my runner down blue. That just HAS to be an ejection! You eject my runner if he causes it".

Poorly worded rule, poorly worded and inconstant interpretation = disaster.

Better Fed to have copied NCAA or Little League on this. Both rules work and are very simple to understand and enforce.
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 08:56am
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Garth:

The NFHS Power Point is rather clear. The issue we are dealing with on the new obstruction rule is another FEDlandia definition.

The NFHS rules state "the fielder must allow access to the base" (my paraphrase).

There is no definition as to "how much" base needs to be made available.

Our SRI was not at our meeting but many of us that had sent e-mails to Elliot feel the rule is clear and we won't "over interpret" the issue.

Regards,
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 09:43am
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Here's the conondrum I'm contemplating...

Fielder blocks "most" of the base without the ball, leaving some small portion open to the runner. Runner is heading for the blocked portion of the base. Runner is forced to alter his path/slide away from his original trajectory, toward the unblocked portion.

By the definition that the fielder has allowed "some access" to the base, this is not obstruction.

Yet the runner is forced to "alter his path" to avoid the blocking fielder. The blocking has "hindered the runner and changed the pattern of the play", to paraphrase the FED definition of obstruction.

To me, the runner should be free to take whichever path to the bag he chooses and that chosen path should be free of any defenders without the ball.

As the 2008 rule is being presented, it seems to encourage the defense to push the envelope on blocking a base and thus might lead to unnecessary contact. It also forces runners to alter their slide at the last second, not a good thing from a safety standpoint, especially when you consider that most baseball injuries are the result of slides.
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 10:01am
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Socal, you assume that the coach's will read the rules this year. Most don't even know the difference between interference and obstruction, and they will argue both in this situation.

In the play described, the 'train wreck' caused by F3 being pulled wide of the base and a collision occurs, if the BR while on the ground tags first, do we trully have a 'train wreck' no call situation?
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 03:27pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim C
The NFHS Power Point is rather clear. The issue we are dealing with on the new obstruction rule is another FEDlandia definition.

The NFHS rules state "the fielder must allow access to the base" (my paraphrase).

There is no definition as to "how much" base needs to be made available.

Our SRI was not at our meeting but many of us that had sent e-mails to Elliot feel the rule is clear and we won't "over interpret" the issue.

Regards,
You are confusing me with someone who disagrees with you. My post to PWL was pointing out there is a wording difference between the written rule and the explanation in the powerpoint.

According to the powerpoint, what constitutes access to the base is in the judgment of the umpire. This is where the ejections will come from.
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Last edited by GarthB; Tue Jan 22, 2008 at 10:57pm.
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Old Tue Jan 22, 2008, 05:47pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalblue1

Better Fed to have copied NCAA or Little League on this. Both rules work and are very simple to understand and enforce.
The FED IS using the NCAA rule. If you're unclear about the way the FED has printed out their material, read the NCAA material on this rule. They have the same rule.

JJ
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