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Old Wed Oct 29, 2014, 08:01pm
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Groundball to fielder ON the bag

Just saw an interesting play while watching game #7 of the World Series.

With 2 outs and R1, a high-bouncing grounder is hit up the middle. The shortstop positions himself on the bag so that as soon as he fields the ball he is in contact with the bag for the immediate force out.

This didn't happen - but it could have - what if R1 goes sliding into 2nd base and knocks the feet out from under F6 who is standing on the bag at the time, thus preventing F6 from fielding the ball?

Last edited by David Emerling; Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 08:15pm.
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Old Wed Oct 29, 2014, 08:31pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Emerling View Post
Just saw an interesting play while watching game #7 of the World Series.

With 2 outs and R1, a high-bouncing grounder is hit up the middle. The shortstop positions himself on the bag so that as soon as he fields the ball he is in contact with the bag for the immediate force out.

This didn't happen - but it could have - what if R1 goes sliding into 2nd base and knocks the feet out from under F6 who is standing on the bag at the time, thus preventing F6 from fielding the ball?
The runner would be out for interference, unless somehow he was in contact with the bag and the contact with F6 was unintentional.
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Old Wed Oct 29, 2014, 08:54pm
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Originally Posted by Matt View Post
The runner would be out for interference, unless somehow he was in contact with the bag and the contact with F6 was unintentional.
I'm thinking these two conditions would be very likely. Since F6 is standing on the bag and R1 is sliding into the bag - the chances that R1 would be in contact and not intentionally upset F6 are quite likely.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 08:15am
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Originally Posted by David Emerling View Post
I'm thinking these two conditions would be very likely. Since F6 is standing on the bag and R1 is sliding into the bag - the chances that R1 would be in contact and not intentionally upset F6 are quite likely.
I disagree entirely for pro ball. Runners go to the fielder, not the bag. In this case, the location of both happens to be the same. If there's ever contact by R1 on a MI, it's intentional.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 09:10am
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Originally Posted by Matt View Post
I disagree entirely for pro ball. Runners go to the fielder, not the bag. In this case, the location of both happens to be the same. If there's ever contact by R1 on a MI, it's intentional.
Disagree.

Are you saying the runner can't slide into the base if the fielder is standing on it waiting to make a play on the ball?
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 09:41am
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Originally Posted by Matt View Post
I disagree entirely for pro ball. Runners go to the fielder, not the bag. In this case, the location of both happens to be the same. If there's ever contact by R1 on a MI, it's intentional.
First of all, since there were two outs, R1 would not have any need to "break-up" a double play.

The way this play developed was this: the batted ball was a high bouncer up the middle. It just so happened that the ball was going to pass directly over 2nd base. F6 decided that he would position himself on the bag and field it while in contact with the bag - that way, the instant he fielded it, R1 would be forced out. Yet, this was going to be close and R1 was in a race to the bag in an attempt to beat the ball. In the actual play, as it happened in the game, the ball arrived a split second before R1 came sliding into 2nd. An easy call with no controversy. R1 was called out and the inning was over.

But, my question is this: What if R1 beats the grounder to the bag? R1 slides into 2nd and makes significant enough contact with F6 that he cannot field the ball. Obviously, if R1 does something that is overtly intentional, he would be called out for interference. But it's hard to call contact intentional when the fielder is on the bag and the runner is sliding into the bag.

I guess the question is this: Is the fielder protected when he chooses to field a batted ball while positioned on a base? Or, what if F6 chose to field it slightly to the 1st base side of 2nd base - completely blocking R1's access?

I realize that runners have the burden of avoiding interference with any fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball. In fact, the rules allow the runner to actually leave the baseline in an effort to avoid such interference. But that's not really an option when the fielder is standing directly on the bag or slightly to the side of the bag the runner needs to gain access. Remember, this is a force play - so the runner is trying to take the most expeditious route to the bag. He's not going to go around the fielder. It seems particularly unfair to the runner when the fielder is clearly choosing such positioning when he has other options for fielding the ball successfully.

F6 could have easily moved into the infield and fielded this groundball. Yet, he chose to have the ball come to him for the convenience of forcing out R1.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 09:48am
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7.08(b ) Comment: . . . If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire’s judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional.

Does anyone really think the runner would have to give up?
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 10:08am
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This brings up another interesting point. Can a fielder lose his protection by not making a direct effort to field the ball? Rather, he hangs back with the clear intent of "obstructing" the runner's path. In other words, he seems to be using his fielder protection as a tool to hinder the runner. Or, the fielder takes a curiously circuitous path to the ball that hinders a baserunner's progress.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 10:08am
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Originally Posted by Rich Ives View Post
7.08(b ) Comment: . . . If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire’s judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional.

Does anyone really think the runner would have to give up?
Yep. Shit happens. Fielder has a right to the ball, with that exception.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 10:11am
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Originally Posted by David Emerling View Post
First of all, since there were two outs, R1 would not have any need to "break-up" a double play.

The way this play developed was this: the batted ball was a high bouncer up the middle. It just so happened that the ball was going to pass directly over 2nd base. F6 decided that he would position himself on the bag and field it while in contact with the bag - that way, the instant he fielded it, R1 would be forced out. Yet, this was going to be close and R1 was in a race to the bag in an attempt to beat the ball. In the actual play, as it happened in the game, the ball arrived a split second before R1 came sliding into 2nd. An easy call with no controversy. R1 was called out and the inning was over.

But, my question is this: What if R1 beats the grounder to the bag? R1 slides into 2nd and makes significant enough contact with F6 that he cannot field the ball. Obviously, if R1 does something that is overtly intentional, he would be called out for interference. But it's hard to call contact intentional when the fielder is on the bag and the runner is sliding into the bag.

I guess the question is this: Is the fielder protected when he chooses to field a batted ball while positioned on a base? Or, what if F6 chose to field it slightly to the 1st base side of 2nd base - completely blocking R1's access?

I realize that runners have the burden of avoiding interference with any fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball. In fact, the rules allow the runner to actually leave the baseline in an effort to avoid such interference. But that's not really an option when the fielder is standing directly on the bag or slightly to the side of the bag the runner needs to gain access. Remember, this is a force play - so the runner is trying to take the most expeditious route to the bag. He's not going to go around the fielder. It seems particularly unfair to the runner when the fielder is clearly choosing such positioning when he has other options for fielding the ball successfully.

F6 could have easily moved into the infield and fielded this groundball. Yet, he chose to have the ball come to him for the convenience of forcing out R1.
Take the bag out of the play for a moment. We protect the fielder whether he chooses to charge a ground ball or stay back and play the bounce. He gets that luxury; after all, the offense is who put the ball there.

Now let's add the bag back in. The only difference is that now there is the exception for unintentional contact.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 01:43pm
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Yep. Shit happens. Fielder has a right to the ball, with that exception.
But in David's question the exception has probably been met.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 01:44pm
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Originally Posted by David Emerling View Post
This brings up another interesting point. Can a fielder lose his protection by not making a direct effort to field the ball? Rather, he hangs back with the clear intent of "obstructing" the runner's path. In other words, he seems to be using his fielder protection as a tool to hinder the runner. Or, the fielder takes a curiously circuitous path to the ball that hinders a baserunner's progress.
No.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 01:50pm
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But in David's question the exception has probably been met.
Probably. I didn't catch the number of out.
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Old Thu Oct 30, 2014, 02:03pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Emerling View Post
This brings up another interesting point. Can a fielder lose his protection by not making a direct effort to field the ball? Rather, he hangs back with the clear intent of "obstructing" the runner's path. In other words, he seems to be using his fielder protection as a tool to hinder the runner. Or, the fielder takes a curiously circuitous path to the ball that hinders a baserunner's progress.
The way you worded that, ... sort of.

You say "by not making a direct effort to field the ball".

The rule says nothing about direct. If the fielder is trying to field the ball, no matter how ineptly, and he is the fielder that is protected, then he has the right to field that ball.

Saying "not making a direct effort..." if he, in the umpire's opinion, is not making an effort to field the ball, but instead is TRYING to get in the runners way - now we have obstruction.

The "direct" (vs indirect) is not really the criteria. The moment the fielder is doing something other than fielding the ball, though, he's no longer protected.

(Hence my answer of "sort of")
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Old Sun Mar 15, 2015, 06:39am
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If the runner is sliding straight into the bag he has every right to try to beat the force. If the runner beats the ball, the fielder should lift his foot, just like if he was waiting for a feed from another infielder. Just like a catcher can't deny access to the plate without the ball in his possession, a fielder can't deny access to the base without possession. If the runner is simply trying for the base, I don't have interference on the play. If the 2B was camped in the baseline to the right of the bag and was waiting for a slow roller to come to him in an obvious attempt to alter the runner's path, I might have obstruction. He's not 'making an attempt' on the ball. There is a big difference between pausing to field a grounder and hanging out waiting for it. I'd still expect the runner to avoid contact in this example. If the fielder's action resulted in enough alteration of the runner's path, I would award the base.
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