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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Sun Sep 07, 2003, 12:51am
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Jim Porter and I have had our disagreements regarding which official should make the call of interference when R2 runs into F6 fielding a batted ball. While I feel PU should since he sees the entire play developing and occurring, Jim has advocated that the BU should since he is "closest to the play." My argument to Jim's position is that frequently the BU only sees remnants of what has just occurred behind his back, and he may be left guessing at the needed decision.

An interesting situation occurred in an adult league playoff game this past week.
As PU I could easily follow the path of the ball off the bat and past the pitcher as it was slowing due to high grass (the field was playable but had not been cut due to recent heavy rains). I could also see that R2 going to 3B had clearly crossed the path of the ball, and he had also crossed the path that F6 needed to get to the ball from his starting location on the field.

This was going to be a tough play for F6, and he obviously needed to charge the ball hard to have any hopes of a play at any base. However, F6 didn't charge to field the ball. He altered his charging path to collide with R2 who, as stated, had already passed F6's needed path to the ball. The collision was obvious, and BU had turned with the ball passing him to easily see the action of the collision. I decided to allow the official "closest to the play" to make the call since I felt BU had seen all aspects of the play, but I ready to jump in if no call was made by him.

The BU made the call---but he called interference vs. obstruction.
At that point I realized that he hadn't seen that F6 took a path to cause the collision vs. to field the ball.

As a result of the obvious collision that all saw, there was no argument from the offense on what appeared to them to be the proper call. I felt it was too late for me to come into the call without appearing to be overruling the BU---so I said nothing. Needless to say, I wish I had followed my policy and jumped on the call despite the BU being "closer to the play."

IMO, all the action was easy to see and judge from behind the plate.
While I felt BU had witnessed the veering, he didn't.
In speaking with my partner (an excellent umpire) after the game I told him I felt he was "baited" into the interference vs. obstruction. He indicated that with the play right on top of him---ball passing him plus F6 charging---that perhaps he was TOO CLOSE to call those angles to know F6 had veered into R2. At this time I'd have to agree with him. He didn't blow the call---I did by not being first to jump on it having seen what I did.

So....having not made the call as PU............
Would you have done any differently?
Would you have approached BU to tell him that F6 veered into R2,
or would that be considered as imposing yourself into his call?
(Which, at the time, I thought I would be doing if I approached him).

The play went unchanged, but there's no doubt in my mind a quick thinking F6 came away the winner in this poker hand. I know for sure that if I see that action again that I'm ready to jump on the call. I'll risk the opposing calls if BU happens to come in with a different call at the same time. If needed, we can conference to discuss all aspects of the play before providing our explanations and final decision.

BTW, this ended up being a game won by F6's team driving in the winning run in the bottom of the 7th with 2 outs. I suspect the proper call would have likely had significant impact at that time of the game.

Your thoughts.............


Freix








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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 02:51pm
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Thumbs down Bait

I'm thinking that perhaps the true intent of your post is to bait Jim.

In your shoes, I would likely have overruled my partner. I would really have had to see the collision. I find it surprising the your partner would not have seen that the ball and the fielder were not at the same location... especially with this tall grass/slow progress situation.

If I felt the fielder altered his path with intention to collide (and if I saw the runner try to avoid this collision created by F6) I would have likely ruled dead ball, obstruction, awarded 3rd base, AND EJECTED F6.

Intentional collisions, and obstruction may be alright for players that get paid hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, but intentional collisions are never acceptable in a recreational or school sponsored game. These people are not compensated to exchange their health and physical well being for dollars. Intentional contact will never be tolerated in one of my games.

If the runner was knocked down in this play, I likely would have had F6 ejected before the runner could get up. And if the coach would have tried very emphatically to defend F6's actions, I probably would eject him also.
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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 03:01pm
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"In your shoes, I would likely have overruled my partner."

That's a NO-NO.

Bob
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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 03:33pm
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Thumbs up Valid point

Freix,

You do bring up a valid piont that the Base Umpire, stationed inside the diamond would likely not see the earliy movements of the infielders - in your situation, a lateral movement of F6 away from the ball to create a collision.

And I would say "Yes," it is at this time that you need to come to his rescue. Fans, players, and your partner would understand if you can matter-of-factly plead your case that the call needs to be changed because your partner did not see this initial motion - the fans and the players in the dugouts likely did see it. I don't believe it will take great effort to help your partner realize that this call needs to be gotten right and possibly changed.

An immediate dead ball, some pointing to location of the ball, location of the contact, pointing towards culprit and victim. Everyone is going to get the picture. There may be some screaming when the call is changed but if you don't get it right, I would guess that this kind of contact once allowed will lead to greater and more potentially severe contact in retaliation... and potential player injuries or fighting.

It is during the most difficult times that the players and fans really need to know that you are in charge and not just making ball and strike calls.
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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 04:44pm
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Tony, the fact that F6 didn't charge directly toward the ball doesn't mean that he was significantly away from it. While only veering perhaps 5-6 feet from his direct line to the ball, that action was easy to judge from home plate whereas not as easy for BU to judge it---especially with all the other action of the play within close proximity to him. The judgment was not obvious from other angles of the field.

As for the adult league crowd and what they thought,
we could have polled both people to see what they felt........
but they were girlfriends that were reading different books at the time........ ;-)

My point is not to "bait" Jim Porter, but rather to support the position I advocated---that the PU has the best angle to witness all the action as the play develops and occurs. He sees it all whereas the BU only picks up partial information due to starting with his back to the fielders. My pupose in mentioning the past position Jim took was only to show that it's been discussed before and that there are differing viewpoints on who should take responsibility for that call. Moreso, that the PU should not avoid making call due to the mere fact that the BU is closer to the play. There are more factors than proximity to the play when determining whether or not to jump in and take the call. In this situation, the BU's proximity was actually detrimental to his ability to judge the play.

This was a situation where I felt the BU, who started with his back turned to the play, had the opportunity to react to the ball, see the action, and time to comprehend it for the proper call. It was my mistake in expecting that when, indeed, it was a very simple call to make from behind the plate where the play was obvious to see and judge.

While this bait play is hardly an everyday event, it still supports why the PU should jump on the runner interference call in a 2-man system.


Freix

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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 06:07pm
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I would have to agree Bfair. The PU has the look of the whole play and should make the call. I have done many times with only mild friction from coaches.
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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 09:13pm
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It could be ...

that the base umpire does see and can make the call; however, I have seen this missed so many times by the BU when I was quite sure that PU did see an infraction and failed to make a call.

So I think PU should give BU a chance; however, if BU does not see anything which is very likely then PU can call time and make a ruling based on what he saw.

If I were PU I would call time and conference with BU just to make sure that he did not see anything and then it also would look a lot better to the coaches etc.,

I saw HS playoff game last year that this call was missed and it cost the home team a run. This was with a three man crew, so it could happen then also.

Thanks
David

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Old Mon Sep 08, 2003, 10:27pm
Michael Taylor
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I called it in a HS play-off that ended the game. The BU had no clue and I stepped up and made the call. I was not a popular ump that day. If you read Bfair's earlier post he did exactly what you said and the BU smoked it because he only saw half of it. If you have it then call it. Don't wait for a situation to blow up in your face.
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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 12:40am
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Re: It could be ...

Quote:
Originally posted by David B

So I think PU should give BU a chance; however, if BU does not see anything which is very likely then PU can call time and make a ruling based on what he saw.
In this situation of the baited interference I did just as you said, David. I waited, anticipating that BU would make the call since the contact was obvious---and to me it was obvious that F6 made no attempt at the ball. However, BU rang the interference instead of the obstruction.

What do you do now?
Do you impose yourself into BU's call?
I didn't think that was right.
He already made HIS judgment call....

That's why, in retrospect, I wish I would have jumped on the call initially to assure the person seeing ALL THE PLAY made the call. I blew my chance when I had it because I didn't use it.


Freix

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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 01:57am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bfair
Jim Porter and I have had our disagreements regarding which official should make the call of interference when R2 runs into F6 fielding a batted ball. While I feel PU should since he sees the entire play developing and occurring, Jim has advocated that the BU should since he is "closest to the play." My argument to Jim's position is that frequently the BU only sees remnants of what has just occurred behind his back, and he may be left guessing at the needed decision.
Geez, Steve, at least get my position right. I never said anything about, "closest to the play." I said that when a play occurs right in front of the base umpire's nose, the plate umpire has no business making that call. And, I'm right.
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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 03:13am
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Quote:
Originally posted by David B
So I think PU should give BU a chance; however, if BU does not see anything which is very likely then PU can call time and make a ruling based on what he saw.
Like Bob said, David, that's a NO-NO. BU may actually have seen it and chosen to ignore it by making no call. You shouldn't overrule that decision.

If your BU has made a call then you can't intervene without being asked. You have to let it ride. In the subject situation, IF the offensive coach made a complaint you could surreptitiously let your partner know that you may have seen something that he didn't. IF your partner chooses to ask you what you saw, THEN you can toss in your $0.02c but not before.

Our crews have a simple signal - arms folded across the chest - to let our partners know when we have something to offer on a contentious call. It's then up to the umpire making that call to ask for his partner's input, IF he feels he needs it, AND to decide whether or not to change his call. Using 9.04(c) can get very murky when running only 2-man mechanics - it's more designed for 3 or 4-man systems where the differing calls are made by umpires other than the UIC. The UIC is ALMOST ALWAYS going to believe that he had the better view in a 2-man crew, whether or not he truly did.

Cheers

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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 07:14am
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I'd be extremely annoyed if I made a call (or decided to pass on a call -- and I try to give a safe signal when there's no call) and the plate umpire 120 feet away decides he doesn't like what I called and illegally overrules me.

The only call like this I've ever made as the plate umpire is an obstruction on a steal of third. However, in that play, the base umpire isn't watching R2 after his quick glance back over his right shoulder at the time of pitch. It's totally appropriate to be making that call. On the ground ball, at the time of contact, the BU is looking right at the play and the plate umpire has no business getting involved unless, as has been pointed out, the base umpire asks for help.

Why don't we have the base umpire simply rule on all check swings without being asked, too?

Rich
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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 08:19am
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bfair
Tony, the fact that F6 didn't charge directly toward the ball doesn't mean that he was significantly away from it. While only veering perhaps 5-6 feet from his direct line to the ball, that action was easy to judge from home plate whereas not as easy for BU to judge it---especially with all the other action of the play within close proximity to him. The judgment was not obvious from other angles of the field.

Sometimes, an infielder will run "around" the ball to get a better angle on fielding it and throwing to first.

Apparently, that's what the offense saw.

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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 09:33am
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I don't think I was very clear

I must have been too vague. I agree that PU should not "jump in" to something that he has no business.

But, in the case of the missed call, (usually this is with BU in C and the play is behind him) Now it might not ever happen to you or I but it does happen a lot simply because I have seen it several times in the last few years missed by veteran crews.

In that situation, I'm not calling anything, but I know in that situation the coach is going to be complaining and then BU and PU can get together on what they saw.

Surely, PU never needs to make a call out of thin air, but when the opportunity exists to make the call correct then I think we have an obligation to make sure we get it right.

In the play I saw the runner was obstructed and tehn thrown out at home on a play at the plate. Cost them a run and they ended up losing by one run in state championship game.

Simply a bad call with three veteran umpires.

And I didn't know the umpires, but I'm sure that PU must have seen the obstruction.

That's what I meant to say.

Thanks
David


Quote:
Originally posted by Warren Willson t
Quote:
Originally posted by David B
So I think PU should give BU a chance; however, if BU does not see anything which is very likely then PU can call time and make a ruling based on what he saw.
Like Bob said, David, that's a NO-NO. BU may actually have seen it and chosen to ignore it by making no call. You shouldn't overrule that decision.

If your BU has made a call then you can't intervene without being asked. You have to let it ride. In the subject situation, IF the offensive coach made a complaint you could surreptitiously let your partner know that you may have seen something that he didn't. IF your partner chooses to ask you what you saw, THEN you can toss in your $0.02c but not before.

Our crews have a simple signal - arms folded across the chest - to let our partners know when we have something to offer on a contentious call. It's then up to the umpire making that call to ask for his partner's input, IF he feels he needs it, AND to decide whether or not to change his call. Using 9.04(c) can get very murky when running only 2-man mechanics - it's more designed for 3 or 4-man systems where the differing calls are made by umpires other than the UIC. The UIC is ALMOST ALWAYS going to believe that he had the better view in a 2-man crew, whether or not he truly did.

Cheers

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Old Tue Sep 09, 2003, 03:53pm
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by bob jenkins
Quote:
Sometimes, an infielder will run "around" the ball to get a better angle on fielding it and throwing to first.

Apparently, that's what the offense saw.
Bob, fielders typically loop "around" a ball by staying back and moving sideways (to assure they can get to the ball before it leaves the infield), and then they start to charge it to cut the distance once they are certain they'll be able to get to the ball. They don't usually loop "around" the ball by running forward and then sideways toward the ball.

While I understand what you are saying, Bob, I assure you that was not the case here. The fielder did not "loop." Rather, he went directly toward the ball, but then he angled slightly into the runner who had already crossed the path of the ball. From where the collision occurred, F6 would have had to make a hard left to get to the ball, although only about 5-6 ft to his left side and only slightly in front of him. The collision, although not violent, was considerable with the fielders falling over each other. I think it was the obviousness of the collision combined with the knowledge that the fielder is supposed to have right-of-way on a batted ball that kept the squelches down.

Still, you bring up a good point.
Sometimes fielders do make a slight loop, however, I'm not protecting a fielder who chooses to loop into the running path of the runner when the more appropriate route to take ot field the ball was directly to the ball. After all, I suspect the runner knew he had crossed the path of the ball, and he also knew that the fielder was playing well behind the line. Just how far should the runner have to avoid the fielder if the fielder chooses to loop into a collision path with the runner vs. moving directly to field the ball?

With R3 only, would you call interference if F5, who was playing behind the base, charged forward to contact R3 a step in front of 3B when the batted ball was obviously a soft, humped back liner reasonably beyond 3B in fair territory---and obviously F5's catch to make? Certainly F5 could claim he was interfered with in his attempt to field the ball. IMO, the fielder needs to take a reasonable path to field that batted ball, and he can't intentionally attempt to run into the runner for the purpose of drawing the interference call if taking an unreasonable path to field the ball.

The fielder has the right to field the ball, but that shouldn't mean that he's provided a "halo" around himself when he is not moving directly to the ball. It was obvious from the PU position that the fielder's primary effort WAS NOT to field this batted ball, but was to cause a collision. While I thought the BU also had time to recognize that, I was wrong. The BU had his back to the action too long before turning with the ball. That's certainly not the BU's fault, and it's certainly not a reason for PU not to make the proper call when he sees it.

Bottom line, when the BU starts with his back to the action of the players involved, there is really no way to know exactly what he did and didn't see after he turns. PU should jump on interference when he feels it has occurred and when his partner has had his back to ANY of the action associated with the play.

Hmmmm......isn't that really supported by the concept of angle over distance?


Freix

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