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Old Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:11pm
sp279
 
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Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
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Some Interference/Obstruction opinions please

For years now, every year we seem to have this debate. Referring to NFHS fastpitch here. You've all probably answered this 100's of times, but I just re-joined after a few years.
I've always tried to simplify a play at the plate. Catcher has the ball, she has a right to the basepath and the tag out on a runner coming home. Some argue it is interference on the runner if the ball is coming into the catcher but not yet in her glove and the runner makes contact. Some still call interference if the ball is 10 feet away "Because the catcher was about to make a play". Some don't call interference (myself included) if the catcher doesn't have the ball and the runner makes contact. Likewise, if the catcher without the ball is blocking the base path without the ball I call obstruction. Can I hear some of your opinions on how you handle these situations?
Thank you
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Old Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sp279 View Post
For years now, every year we seem to have this debate. Referring to NFHS fastpitch here. You've all probably answered this 100's of times, but I just re-joined after a few years.
I've always tried to simplify a play at the plate. Catcher has the ball, she has a right to the basepath and the tag out on a runner coming home. Some argue it is interference on the runner if the ball is coming into the catcher but not yet in her glove and the runner makes contact. Some still call interference if the ball is 10 feet away "Because the catcher was about to make a play". Some don't call interference (myself included) if the catcher doesn't have the ball and the runner makes contact. Likewise, if the catcher without the ball is blocking the base path without the ball I call obstruction. Can I hear some of your opinions on how you handle these situations?
Thank you
Speaking NFHS & USA, if the defender does not have the possession of the ball or fielding a batted ball and they impede the runner from advancing, it is OBS all day long.
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Old Thu Mar 29, 2018, 07:57pm
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Defensive players have absolutely no right to a thrown ball. If they are receiving a throw and get in the way or impede a runner it is obstruction, period.
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Old Thu Mar 29, 2018, 08:18pm
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I think Irishmafia pretty well hit the nail on the head. Couldn’t have said it better.
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Old Thu Mar 29, 2018, 08:29pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
Speaking NFHS & USA, if the defender does not have the possession of the ball or fielding a batted ball and they impede the runner from advancing, it is OBS all day long.
the bolded is also needed, not mentioned in the OP
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Old Thu Mar 29, 2018, 08:30pm
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Originally Posted by Umpire@1 View Post
I think Irishmafia pretty well hit the nail on the head. Couldn’t have said it better.
yep!
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Old Fri Mar 30, 2018, 06:34am
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With obstruction I think the key is did the runner alter, change, modify her chosen path. In your play I’d note where the catcher was standing (without the ball), and watch the runner for any deviation in her path, speed, etc. When Fed changed their obstruction rule a few years back they emphasized that the benefit of the doubt should go to the runner.
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Old Fri Mar 30, 2018, 10:50am
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Editorial (rant) comment.....

Every season, I seem to see the same questions/comments on obstruction (NCAA Rules excluded)

Some of you are in the FB groups for the various umpire groups and it continues to amaze and disappoint me how many umpires still think that:

1. Obstruction only protects the runner to the next base, period.
2. The runner has to try for the next base in order to be protected and/or awarded that base.
3. If a fielder is going after an errant throw and contacts the base runner, it's just a wreck because "she is doing what she's supposed to be doing"
4. You wait until the entire play is over and then figure out where the runner should end up.

What is it going to take to get proper interpretations and consistent enforcement of the Obstruction rule out there? (rhetorical)

/rant off.....
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Old Fri Mar 30, 2018, 12:40pm
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Andy, well at least we finally got the argument over when obstruction is actually cancelled settled. Apparently only about 6 people on one of the groups was capable of actually reading the entire rule. 98% of the responses were obstruction was cancelled as soon as the runner touched the base they umpire judged they would have reached.
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Old Fri Mar 30, 2018, 04:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy View Post

What is it going to take to get proper interpretations and consistent enforcement of the Obstruction rule out there? (rhetrulesorical)
Rhetorical, yet I still have a response, go figure!

Speaking of USA Softball, but the general idea should apply to all associations.

A) All State/Metro UICs should attend the UIC Clinic.
B) All State/Metro UICs should converse regularly with their RUIC
C) State/Metro UICs should make every effort to convey USA mechanics, rules and interpretations as directed and use his/her deputy UICs to be his/her voice.
D) Even if there are differences the UICs may have with any of the rules or mechanics, their job is to teach and support the USA system.
E) Those tasked at any level with teaching this information from a local rules interpreter to a Deputy Directors should all be on the same page.
F) Anyone who cannot accommodate these points should probably refrain from accepting any of the positions noted.

As an aside, in the 90's I felt I could walk onto any field and comfortably work a game with any other ASA umpire

About midway through my second game of a national in Lakeland, FL a coach from some state in the North came up to me between innings and told me how grateful he was to finally get a tournament with FL umpires so he knew every game would be umpired the same. He said we all must be from the same area since we were working a good game and barely speaking to each other. I sort of snickered and told him we were all from different states and had only met for the first time a few hours earlier. I don't think he believed me, but IMO that was a testament to the success of the ASA umpire program.
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Old Fri Mar 30, 2018, 09:32pm
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Originally Posted by RKBUmp View Post
Andy, well at least we finally got the argument over when obstruction is actually cancelled settled. Apparently only about 6 people on one of the groups was capable of actually reading the entire rule. 98% of the responses were obstruction was cancelled as soon as the runner touched the base they umpire judged they would have reached.
OK, I must have missed that. Where is it?
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Old Fri Mar 30, 2018, 10:07pm
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Originally Posted by Tru_in_Blu View Post
OK, I must have missed that. Where is it?
It was on one of the facebook umpire forums, I believe it was the NFHS softball umpires site. Sorry, going to be long to explain it.

It started last October with a play someone posted that as I recall was a state playoff game. There was a runner at 2nd who got too far off base and a pick off throw went down to 2nd. The runner was obstructed going back into 2nd, touched 2nd and then attempted to advance to 3rd and was thrown out. The umpires ruled that when the runner touched 2nd it had cancelled the obstruction and the out stood at 3rd. The offensive coach took exception and there was a UIC on site who was consulted and agreed the obstruction was cancelled and the out stood. The discussion went on for hundreds of posts with the majority of respondents agreeing it was cancelled. At some point the few that did actually read the rule got the original poster to admit possibly they screwed up and that the UIC was also wrong as the exception to cancel obstruction had not been met, namely a subsequent play on a different runner.

After that had been hashed out I decided to post a play I had in a game several years before to see if everyone really understood the rule. The play was, no runners, ground ball to F6 should be easy out at 1st. F6 throws ball in dirt and F3 cant handle it and ball goes to fence. F9 is in position to back up the throw and batter/runner attempts to round 1st base and runs face first into F3. She then starts to head to 2nd, thinks better of it as F9 already has the ball and she returns to 1st base. The ball is thrown to F1 who is outside the circle. Suddenly the base coach tells the runner I had called obstruction and she gets 2nd base. The runner begins to trot to 2nd and F1 runs over and tags her out. Again, the exception to cancel the obstruction has not been met and the runner cannot be put out between the 2 bases.

After thinking it had all been hashed out in the first play posted, this one was even worse. Literally 98% of the people insisted the obstruction was cancelled, the play was over cancelling the obstruction or the exception did not apply because there were no other runners on base to make a play on. I think it went on for nearly a thousand posts as I recall.

I tried to get our rules interpreter to submit it to get a national ruling, instead he gave me his interpretation which was the obstruction was cancelled and the exception didn't apply, refused to send it to national and took exception when I told him I did not agree with his interpretation. Apparently one of the other posters, who by the way was adamant the obstruction was cancelled got her state UIC to submit it to national NFHS. Last week they finally responded that the obstruction was not cancelled and that the exception was the key to the ruling and there had to be a subsequent play on a different runner after the obstructed runner reached the base they would have. Only then is the obstruction cancelled.
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Old Sat Mar 31, 2018, 07:40am
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Originally Posted by RKBUmp View Post
Last week they finally responded that the obstruction was not cancelled and that the exception was the key to the ruling and there had to be a subsequent play on a different runner after the obstructed runner reached the base they would have. Only then is the obstruction cancelled.
Hell, anyone who can read a rule book knows that.
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Old Sat Mar 31, 2018, 09:03am
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Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA View Post
Hell, anyone who can read a rule book knows that.
Apparently not because the vast majority of respondents insisted the obstruction was cancelled as soon as the runner returned to the base. Several posters claiming to be UIC's said the same thing, my rules interpreter said it was cancelled and I'm not going to put any name to it, but while he did refuse to send it on to national he did send it to a fairly well known person who also agreed that the exception did not apply because there were no runners on base to make a play on.

Some people were still arguing it even after national issued their ruling. I have no idea how you can continue to argue something after national tells you what the correct ruling is. One comment was he didn't care what national said, he was going to continue to call it how he interpreted the rule because he knew what the "intent" of the rule was. Always love that comment about knowing the intent of the rule, was not aware there were so many authors of the rules.
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Old Sat Mar 31, 2018, 06:17pm
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Well, there are those who read the rule book, and those who READ the rules in the book including the RS, attend as many clinics as they can, check on monthly clarifications, etc. But the clinics and clarifications don't mean much without understanding the basis of the rules.
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