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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 12:19am
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What's the call?

Had the following recently in WRECK ball (youth). What's the call?

Play 1: Bases loaded, 2 outs. Ground ball to F5, who runs over and touches 3rd 15 feet before the runner arrives. While the runner was running between 2nd and 3rd, she had to run around F6 who was parked in the middle of the base path.

Play 2: Batted ball is popped up about 10 feet in the air and comes down, off the catchers glove and in between her chest protector and her uniform, from which she grabs the ball securely

(my play she never secured it and it went all the way to the ground)- so I ruled a Foul ball as it was touched in foul territory.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 12:37am
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1. Obstruction safe at third.
2. Catch as ball never touched the ground.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 07:25am
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Looks like outs in both cases to me. I'm not calling obstruction as that play is described. Grounded out to 3b.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 07:55am
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The crux in play 1 is whether it was OBS and no exceptions.
Assuming it was, the runner can not be out between 2nd & 3rd.
Even if judged not to reach 3rd w/o OBS; the other runners are safe at 2nd & 1st, so 3rd must be awarded.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 07:56am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueDevilRef View Post
I'm not calling obstruction as that play is described.
Why?
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 09:02am
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A fielder not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding a batted ball may not impede the progress of a runner. In the play described F6 neither had the ball nor was in the process of fielding a batted ball and cannot impede the runner. How are you going to explain to a coach your reason for not calling obstruction? You may not like the rule in this particular situation, but it is our job to enforce the rules as written.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 11:38am
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I would call obstruction on this play as described because the OP expresses the judgement that the fielder's position cause the runner to have to alter her path.

That said, there is an element of judgement to this call without contact between the runner and fielder, which makes it possible that there isn't obstruction on this play. I realize contact isn't required to make the call, but without contact we have to consider the runner's path and the fielder's actions. I've always looked at it how imminent contact is based on the fielder's actions if the runner continues on the same path. In other words, if F6 has her back to the runner, is completely stationary and in the runner's path to 3rd, then I'm giving the runner the benefit of the doubt if she has to alter her path to get to 3rd base. Conversely, if F6 is moving into position to field a potentially thrown ball (read as not immediately in the act of receiving a throw) from the outfield and cuts across the path of the runner who then alters her path in some way, I've got to determine how necessary it was for her to alter her path.

Again in the situation from the OP, I'm deferring to the judgement of the umpire that was there and my interpretation is that obstruction is the OP's assessment. In general, though, the runner altering her path like this doesn't automatically lead to an obstruction call as I see it.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 12:26pm
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"Conversely, if F6 is moving into position to field a potentially thrown ball (read as not immediately in the act of receiving a throw) from the outfield and cuts across the path of the runner who then alters her path in some way, I've got to determine how necessary it was for her to alter her path."


Not relevant, Boomer. As others have stated in previous posts, not in possession and not fielding a batted ball= OBS
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 02:46pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
"Conversely, if F6 is moving into position to field a potentially thrown ball (read as not immediately in the act of receiving a throw) from the outfield and cuts across the path of the runner who then alters her path in some way, I've got to determine how necessary it was for her to alter her path."


Not relevant, Boomer. As others have stated in previous posts, not in possession and not fielding a batted ball= OBS
Although, "determine how necessary it was for her to alter her path" is part of judging whether the fielder caused the alteration.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 03:02pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoomerSooner View Post
I've always looked at it how imminent contact is based on the fielder's actions if the runner continues on the same path.
You're putting a LOT of stuff into the rule that simply isn't there. The rule is simple.

Assuming we're not talking about a fielder fielding a batted ball...
A) was the fielder, without possession of the ball, in the way of the runner;
If so...
B) did the runner alter their course (change direction or slow)

If so ... it's obstruction. No need to determine how imminent contact would be based ... yadda yadda... Keep it simple.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 03:46pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmkupka View Post
Not relevant, Boomer. As others have stated in previous posts, not in possession and not fielding a batted ball= OBS
While not specifically mentioned, the pitcher in the OP was not in possession of or fielding the ball. Is she guilty of obstruction? Not in possession and not fielding the ball does not equal Obstruction. While these conditions are necessary for obstruction to be called, they are not sufficient. The equation should be:

Not in possession of the ball + not fielding a batted ball + caused (whether through some action or inaction) a runner's movement to be impeded in the umpire's judgement = obstruction

A runner is welcome to change her direction and/or speed as she feels necessary, but her judgement that she might be impeded by a fielder isn't the basis for me making my judgement. If a runner alters her path to avoid a fielder and I determine the alteration wasn't necessary, I'm not calling obstruction. The point of my post was to educate anyone reading this so they understand that a fielder isn't automatically guilty of obstruction just because a runner alters her path to the next base.

In the OP, the description (which I accept as being fact in the spirit of not criticizing another umpire's judgement) was that the runner "had to run around F6" and the word had implies no other option. As such, I would say this is obstruction. If the fielder was just close to the runner's path and thus the runner decided to go around the fielder, I'm not calling obstruction unless I'm certain there would have been contact.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 03:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoomerSooner View Post
While not specifically mentioned, the pitcher in the OP was not in possession of or fielding the ball. Is she guilty of obstruction? Not in possession and not fielding the ball does not equal Obstruction. While these conditions are necessary for obstruction to be called, they are not sufficient.
This is irrelevant, but I get that you're trying to make a point via hyperbole. Unfortunately, in this case you are completely omitting the FIRST half of the requirement... the pitcher was not in the path of the runner. THAT is what makes the pitcher not guilty of obstruction.

Quote:
A runner is welcome to change her direction and/or speed as she feels necessary, but her judgement that she might be impeded by a fielder isn't the basis for me making my judgement. If a runner alters her path to avoid a fielder and I determine the alteration wasn't necessary, I'm not calling obstruction.
That's not what the rules say; and not what clinics say. You don't have to determine whether the alteration was necessary or not... and if you are doing so, you shouldn't be.

Was the fielder in her path? Yes.
Did the runner change that path? Yes.

Obstruction.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 03:57pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD Longhorn View Post
You're putting a LOT of stuff into the rule that simply isn't there. The rule is simple.

Assuming we're not talking about a fielder fielding a batted ball...
A) was the fielder, without possession of the ball, in the way of the runner;
If so...
B) did the runner alter their course (change direction or slow)

If so ... it's obstruction. No need to determine how imminent contact would be based ... yadda yadda... Keep it simple.
I agree that keeping it simple is best, but we all know there is constant movement on the field and our judgement has to come into play. Is F5 standing near 3rd base guilty of obstruction if a runner rounding 2nd base decides to stop at 2nd base because F5 was in her way? Can she request time and then tell the umpire I would have kept going to 3rd base, but F5 was standing there so I stopped at 2nd base? If we agree to accept that F5 was in the path of the runner and that the runner altered her course because of F5's position regardless of the runner's location on the bases, is this sufficient to call obstruction?

Again, I agree the rule is simple. What makes it challenging is how we apply our judgement to what we see and how our judgement of a play may not match that of the runner who alters her course because she thought the fielder might be in the way.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 04:04pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoomerSooner View Post
If the fielder was just close to the runner's path and thus the runner decided to go around the fielder, I'm not calling obstruction unless I'm certain there would have been contact.
"Would have been contact" is not the rule, but whether the runner was impeded in the path she was on to where she was going.
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Old Wed Jul 27, 2016, 04:25pm
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I guess I've been calling it wrong all these years.

I've missed a lot of obstruction calls on base hits to the outfield where the runner rounds 1st base and retreats to the bag while F4 or F6 was standing on or in front of the base waiting for a throw from the outfield. All those runners that would have kept running had there not been a fielder covering 2nd base have gotten screwed by me not calling obstruction.
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