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rwest Mon Apr 24, 2006 07:00am

Obstruction vs Interference
 
Some questions regarding obstruction vs interference.

1. How close to the ball does the defensive player have to be in order to be "in the act of fielding the ball"?

2. Are there some circumstances where the defense can position themselves in the base line at the start of the pitch and NOT be called for obstruction?

Case in point: R1 on 1B. F3 in the base line a couple of feet from the bag at the start of the pitch. Slow roller down first base line. F3 never moves but is waiting on the ball. The ball is rolling toward F3. Is F3 in the act of fielding the ball? R1 runs into F3 while the ball is probably 10 - 15 feet away. Is this obstruction or interference? F3 realized the ball wasn't going to get to her so after she became untangled with R1 she moved up to get the ball. She then stepped on first for the out. There was never a play on R1 so there was no obstruction call. Would it matter if the ball was hit sharply to F3 so that she did not have to move up to get the ball? Does R1 have to avoid F3 in this situation? Does F3 have to get out of the way if she has time to get to the ball and still make a play or can she stand in the base line on a slow roller like I've described? Obviously, if the ball had been hit down third base line, this would have been obstruction.

3. If the defense and offense arrive at the same point in the base line/base path at the same time, do we have obstruction, interference or a live ball train wreck? For example, assuming the same play as above except that F3 is playing back and farther in toward second. A ball hit between 1st and 2nd. F3 is moving up to field the ball and R1 is advancing toward 2nd. They both arrive at the same spot at the same time causing a collision? What's the call? If R1 had arrived first and F3 had accidently tripped her, even though F3 was in the act of fielding, would we have Obstruction? If F3 arrived first and R1 ran into her, that's an obvious interference call.

Thanks!
Randall

CecilOne Mon Apr 24, 2006 08:44am

#2. Interference. F3 was in the act from the moment she reacted to the direction of the ball (common sense, not book).
#3. Also Interference.

"Does F3 have to get out of the way if she has time to get to the ball and still make a play or can she stand in the base line on a slow roller like I've described? " no, yes

"If the defense and offense arrive at the same point in the base line/base path at the same time, do we have obstruction, interference or a live ball train wreck?" If fielder is fielding a batted ball or in possession, intereference or just a tag out. If not those, obstruction if the runner's path is altered or if NFHS.

rwest Mon Apr 24, 2006 08:51am

Cecil
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CecilOne
#2. Interference. F3 was in the act from the moment she reacted to the direction of the ball (common sense, not book).
#3. Also Interference.

"Does F3 have to get out of the way if she has time to get to the ball and still make a play or can she stand in the base line on a slow roller like I've described? " no, yes

"If the defense and offense arrive at the same point in the base line/base path at the same time, do we have obstruction, interference or a live ball train wreck?" If fielder is fielding a batted ball or in possession, intereference or just a tag out. If not those, obstruction if the runner's path is altered or if NFHS.

So you place the responsibility on the runner to avoid the defense whenever they are in the act of fielding the ball, regardless of how far away the ball is or how fast the ball is traveling? In my original play where F3 was in the base line at the start of the play, do you have interference since the ball was hit down the first base line and F3 reacted to it, even though she didn't move out of R1's way?

Thanks!

mcrowder Mon Apr 24, 2006 09:34am

I think that was already answered.

A fielder can begin the play wherever she wants.

A fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball has the right-of-way (assuming this fielder is the one who, in the judgement of the umpire has the best play on the ball), and "fielding a batted ball" begins when she reacts to the ball being batted, regardless of speed or distance.

It is not obstruction to just be in the way. At least not yet.

CecilOne Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:08am

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcrowder
It is not obstruction to just be in the way. At least not yet.

OOOHHHH ! :p

4Beemer Tue Apr 25, 2006 09:57am

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcrowder
I think that was already answered.

A fielder can begin the play wherever she wants.

A fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball has the right-of-way (assuming this fielder is the one who, in the judgement of the umpire has the best play on the ball), and "fielding a batted ball" begins when she reacts to the ball being batted, regardless of speed or distance.

It is not obstruction to just be in the way. At least not yet.

I am a HS coach, and I had an ump call OBS on my 2nd baseman for charging the ball to get out of the baseline, and instead of running behind the ball, she ran in front if the batted ball and the umps called OBS. My JV coach then described the same play to me and the umps called INT. Can someone help us out?

CecilOne Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:16am

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4Beemer
I am a HS coach, and I had an ump call OBS on my 2nd baseman for charging the ball to get out of the baseline, and instead of running behind the ball, she ran in front if the batted ball and the umps called OBS. My JV coach then described the same play to me and the umps called INT. Can someone help us out?

Not sure what you are saying. Are you saying the fielder charged forward from the "baseline" and then the runner ran in front of her? If so, and the runner intentionally did that to block or distract the fielder, that sound like INT.
If the fielder did nothing but try to field a batted ball, there can not be OBS.

debeau Tue Apr 25, 2006 02:27pm

I have about a metre (3ft 3 inches ) circle for interference .
1 -This to me is obst . The fielder has made no attempt to field the ball .
A slow roller the payer should be moving towards the ball to make a play
2- Intereference A sharp hit to the fielder .
Here the fielder has to wait and we are talking momentarily.

JFA67 Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:02pm

From ASA state UIC
 
Got the following last year from our state UIC. Good simple guidelines for OBS/INT.

We all might need a reinforcement of the obstruction rule. I have had emails about catcher 's setting up and blocking the base path without the ball many times this season. We as umpires need to be proactive and get that catcher out of the way to avoid an obstruction call on a play at the plate. The whole intent of the rule change was to reduce injuries.

To boil it all down:
About to receive has been removed from the rule book except in the NCAA.
No possession of the ball before a collision = obstruction.
Possession of the ball before a collision = nothing (assuming a legal slide and not USC).
A runner altering her path or slowing to avoid a player without possession of the ball = obstruction.
Runners colliding with or hindering a player fielding a batted ball = interference.
Get the fielders out of the way! Or be ready to enforce the rules.

IRISHMAFIA Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:47pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by JFA67
Got the following last year from our state UIC. Good simple guidelines for OBS/INT.

We all might need a reinforcement of the obstruction rule. I have had emails about catcher 's setting up and blocking the base path without the ball many times this season. We as umpires need to be proactive and get that catcher out of the way to avoid an obstruction call on a play at the plate. The whole intent of the rule change was to reduce injuries.

To boil it all down:
About to receive has been removed from the rule book except in the NCAA.
No possession of the ball before a collision = obstruction.
Possession of the ball before a collision = nothing (assuming a legal slide and not USC).
A runner altering her path or slowing to avoid a player without possession of the ball = obstruction.
Runners colliding with or hindering a player fielding a batted ball = interference.
Get the fielders out of the way! Or be ready to enforce the rules.

Not bad, not complete, but a good place to start. My only problem is the emphasis of "get the fielders out of the way". Did s/he give you any suggestions on how to effect this move?

I will not tell a player where to stand, but I will let them know of the repercussions should they cause obstruction. I would be afraid an over-zealous umpire may take such a statement to heart and begin holding up play and moving fielders, or get a little over-officious in ruling OBS before it actually occurs.

It's hard enough getting coaches to understand that a runner stopping 60' away because a player happens to be what she perceives is in her way is not OBS without having umpires go out there and actually making such a rulling.

rodan55 Wed Apr 26, 2006 01:07pm

ASA Test
 
Let's take that question about interference. The one with bases loaded 1 out, tie score. B4 pops up down the first base line. Inf fly is called. The runner from third scores just before BR collides with 3B preventing the catch to double up the runner from third. Legal play, but hard to swallow.

IRISHMAFIA Wed Apr 26, 2006 03:58pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by rodan55
Let's take that question about interference. The one with bases loaded 1 out, tie score. B4 pops up down the first base line. Inf fly is called. The runner from third scores just before BR collides with 3B preventing the catch to double up the runner from third. Legal play, but hard to swallow.

Joe,

I'm pretty sure we beat the crap out of this one earlier.

Yes, it may be hard to swallow, but thems the rules. Even though many think they are unfair, it is in line with the standard INT ruling and will occur as often as a third-world play.

CecilOne Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:02am

Quote:

Originally Posted by JFA67
Got the following last year from our state UIC. Good simple guidelines for OBS/INT.

... snip ... To boil it all down:
About to receive has been removed from the rule book except in the NCAA.
No possession of the ball before a collision = obstruction.
Possession of the ball before a collision = nothing (assuming a legal slide and not USC).
A runner altering her path or slowing to avoid a player without possession of the ball = obstruction.
Runners colliding with or hindering a player fielding a batted ball = interference.
Get the fielders out of the way! Or be ready to enforce the rules.

No way am I telling a fielder where to be or not to be.
"No possession of the ball before a collision = obstruction. " is not true unless the runner alters his/her approach.
I try to always be ready to enforce the rules.

mcrowder Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:25am

Cecil, can you give me an example of a collision WITHOUT alteration of course? Seems the collision itself is evidence of an alteration of course (either direction or speed or both).

CecilOne Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:43am

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcrowder
Cecil, can you give me an example of a collision WITHOUT alteration of course? Seems the collision itself is evidence of an alteration of course (either direction or speed or both).

1) I read it too quickly and was too conscious of the problem this year of OBS being called just for blocking without runner reaction.
2) How about when a runner runs straight at the base with no alteration and initiates the collision?


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