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View Poll Results: When should an umpire make an interference or obstruction call?
Any time you see it, even if it clearly overrules the judgement of a primary umpire. 9 33.33%
Only when it is apparent that it was out of the scope of the primary calling umpire. 10 37.04%
Depends; not in this case. 6 22.22%
Depends; yes, in this case. 2 7.41%
Voters: 27. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Mon May 07, 2007, 04:45pm
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Making the call

There is a major hullabaloo in our area, because of something that happened in an ASA 16A berth tournament. Regardless the ruleset, it has more to do with umpire protocol.

Three umpire system, they enter the 8th, a tiebreaker inning. Runner on 2nd, obviously; U1 in B, U3 in D. Batter bunts, play is made to 3rd to attempt to put out the lead runner. U3 comes up with a major sell out on a close play; and as the dust clears, U1 comes charging across and announces "NO!! I have obstruction!!"

With these contradictory calls, the PU conducts a crew meeting. U3 was right on top of the play, and U1 insists he saw F5 block the runner with a foot before the ball arrives. PU casts his vote with the original calling umpire, U3, right on top of the play, with only that responsibility (U1 is supposed to be watching BR touch first, take her into 2nd if she goes to draw a play, not watching the play at 3rd). PU announces the original "out" call will stand; U1 shakes his head and walks off the field in disagreement, since they "can't overrule him". I don't even want to discuss how I feel about him walking off the field at that point in the game.

Comments would be interesting, but I want to try this as a poll, too. How many of you take literally that any umpire can and should call obstruction or interference anywhere on the field, even if it is obviously an overrule of a judgment that there was no obstruction? How many believe U1 has no business making this particular call from 70', regardless the statement that any umpire can and should call interference? How many think is depends; but not in this case? And finally, how many think it depends, but would do it in this case?
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 05:01pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve
Comments would be interesting, but I want to try this as a poll, too. How many of you take literally that any umpire can and should call obstruction or interference anywhere on the field, even if it is obviously an overrule of a judgment that there was no obstruction? How many believe U1 has no business making this particular call from 70', regardless the statement that any umpire can and should call interference? How many think is depends; but not in this case? And finally, how many think it depends, but would do it in this case?
This reminds me of something I was told when working as an Assistant Referee in soccer once, and I have found this to be useful in the other sports that I work. If you believe that the other official couldn't see it, and if they had seen it, they would have called OBS, then make the call. I'm having trouble thinking of an example where there might be blatant OBS that the umpire with primary calling responsibility couldn't see, but should something like that happen, then by all means, I'm fine with having another umpire call it. But if it's right in front of the calling umpire, and that umpire does nothing, then I don't know how one could assume that they had a better view of it from 70' away.

All that being said, if he was upset with the call, then chew the PU and U1 out after the game is over and everyone else is gone. But the second you leave the field during a game, you can bet you're going to have to answer a lot of questions before I would assign you any games again. Furthermore, if I had a way to blacklist certain partners, you better believe I'd be adding him the second I got home.
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 05:35pm
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I guess I need to ask who was overruling who? It seems to me that he was trying to overrule U3 primary call. If I had anything to say about it he could just keep on walking. We need to check our egos at the door.

Last edited by Ed Maeder; Mon May 07, 2007 at 05:40pm.
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 05:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve
There is a major hullabaloo in our area, because of something that happened in an ASA 16A berth tournament. Regardless the ruleset, it has more to do with umpire protocol.

Three umpire system, they enter the 8th, a tiebreaker inning. Runner on 2nd, obviously; U1 in B, U3 in D. Batter bunts, play is made to 3rd to attempt to put out the lead runner. U3 comes up with a major sell out on a close play; and as the dust clears, U1 comes charging across and announces "NO!! I have obstruction!!"

With these contradictory calls, the PU conducts a crew meeting. U3 was right on top of the play, and U1 insists he saw F5 block the runner with a foot before the ball arrives. PU casts his vote with the original calling umpire, U3, right on top of the play, with only that responsibility (U1 is supposed to be watching BR touch first, take her into 2nd if she goes to draw a play, not watching the play at 3rd). PU announces the original "out" call will stand; U1 shakes his head and walks off the field in disagreement, since they "can't overrule him". I don't even want to discuss how I feel about him walking off the field at that point in the game.

Comments would be interesting, but I want to try this as a poll, too. How many of you take literally that any umpire can and should call obstruction or interference anywhere on the field, even if it is obviously an overrule of a judgment that there was no obstruction? How many believe U1 has no business making this particular call from 70', regardless the statement that any umpire can and should call interference? How many think is depends; but not in this case? And finally, how many think it depends, but would do it in this case?
I didn't vote on the poll because I think your second choice doesn't match the second possibility in your text. As a "none of the above" vote, I say that an umpire can and should call OBS/INT anywhere/anytime but that discretion and it being part of the actual play that is another ump's call means wait to be asked. Call OBS/INT anywhere/anytime applies when the act of OBS/INT is away from another ump's call.
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 07:01pm
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Look in all areas, call in your own. That's been a good, solid mantra. Yeah, I'll call obstruction every time I see it in my area and in a partner's area when I am convinced the partner was screened or looking elsewhere.
In this play, U3 is (probably) in a great calling position with a 90-degree angle and U1 is with a very poor angle and far away. U1 has no business making that call in the play that was described.
As for walking off the field - bye - don't let that door hit your backside 'cuz it is closed behind you and you ain't gonna open it.
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 07:36pm
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Too often we forget that the main thing is to get the call RIGHT. I've seen too much bad officiating this year where umpires are more concerned with how quick they can get the game over, rather than making the right call. There's another extreme too, the guys who feel so self important they won't listen to a partner, or even consider they may be wrong.

Give the guy some credit.... he thought he saw obstruction and felt compelled to call it. Charging across yelling is another issue. A raised left arm and request for conference with the "on top of it" umpire would have been the best way to handle it. We've all been "right on top of it" and still blown a call.

Check egos at the gate, focus on getting in the best position help your partner and let him help you.
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 07:57pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlUmpSteve
There is a major hullabaloo in our area, because of something that happened in an ASA 16A berth tournament. Regardless the ruleset, it has more to do with umpire protocol.

Three umpire system, they enter the 8th, a tiebreaker inning. Runner on 2nd, obviously; U1 in B, U3 in D. Batter bunts, play is made to 3rd to attempt to put out the lead runner. U3 comes up with a major sell out on a close play; and as the dust clears, U1 comes charging across and announces "NO!! I have obstruction!!"

With these contradictory calls, the PU conducts a crew meeting. U3 was right on top of the play, and U1 insists he saw F5 block the runner with a foot before the ball arrives. PU casts his vote with the original calling umpire, U3, right on top of the play, with only that responsibility (U1 is supposed to be watching BR touch first, take her into 2nd if she goes to draw a play, not watching the play at 3rd). PU announces the original "out" call will stand; U1 shakes his head and walks off the field in disagreement, since they "can't overrule him". I don't even want to discuss how I feel about him walking off the field at that point in the game.

Comments would be interesting, but I want to try this as a poll, too. How many of you take literally that any umpire can and should call obstruction or interference anywhere on the field, even if it is obviously an overrule of a judgment that there was no obstruction? How many believe U1 has no business making this particular call from 70', regardless the statement that any umpire can and should call interference? How many think is depends; but not in this case? And finally, how many think it depends, but would do it in this case?
To start, let me state that I don't believe this was a case of contradictory calls. This is not a safe/out call. U3 called what he saw. U1 called what he saw. That is not contradictory, but two calls on two different aspects of the same play, not much different than the missed tag, missed plate scenario. If the premise of the PU's stance was based solely on it being U3's call, the PU didn't do his job.

As the PU, I would have to ask U1 what he saw. Where was U3? Is it possible U3 wasn't in position to see this call? Or did U3 state that he saw F5's foot, but the ball was there in time, yada, yada, yada.

There is a lot more to this than who should be making what call where on the field. Just because U1's primary is the BR in this case, does not necessarily mean he didn't see what he called.

As an umpire, I would never make such a call unless it was terribly, terribly obvious and beyond a shadow of a doubt. Then again, none of us should be "guessing" those calls either. As a UIC, I would expect an umpire not to make such a call unless there was absolutely no doubt.
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Old Mon May 07, 2007, 10:51pm
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From what little I know:

F5 was straddling 3B.

The runner slid into her left foot before F5 recieved the ball at which point U1 in B extended left arm for DDB/OBS, waiting to see how the play developed.

F5 dropped the tag down on R1's foot which was still blocked by F5's foot.
U3 who was positioned about 2-3 feet off the foul line, called R1 OUT.

U1 then began approaching the play, still with left arm extended but saw F5 throw across the diamond on a play on BR. Upon seeing this U1, hollered DEAD BALL - DEAD BALL to kill the subsequent play since the delay was now off.

With the throw coming from F2 only a few feet up the 3B line, U3 may not have been in the best position to determine whether the ball was already in the glove of F5 when R1 slid into F5's foot.

Defensive coach asked U1 about the call.
Coach: "But Blue, F5 was about to recieve the ball."
U1: "Exactly the same thing I saw coach, that is why Obstruction is the correct call."
Coach: started to say something else but was interrupted when both PU and U3 approached the meeting.

PU told U1 that it was U3's call.
U1 was stupified to be confronted by 2 other umpires, interrupting meeting with single coach, but asked, "Why are you out here to give me help, when I didn't request it?"
PU said, "I can't let you take the call away from U3."
U1 said, "We are not having this conversation." And walked back towards B.
Just at that point, PU was near the circle on the way back to HP, and then signalled OUT.

U1 walked off the field at that point.

U1 is probably blacklisted from here to eternity by now.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 12:09am
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My off the cuff comment.


1. If I'm PU on that play, we probably have OBS on that play.
2. If I'm calling BU, we probably obs on that play.. but I'm irritated.. if it was OBS, I would have seen it! Others think the same way as well.
3. If I'm removed BU, I doubt I see OBS unless it was gross.. in which case I call it.

Call what you see, careful what you see.

Stepping on someone else causes more problems than its worth in the long run. Causes trouble with the coaches and partners.

Thats my experience with it anyway.. and I've done it a few times.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 01:56am
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Two questions, and yes these are serious...because I think they can color the potential outcome.

1. Is U3 known as an umpire who won't call obstruction/interference.
2. Is U1 known as an umpire who is "Mr. Obstruction/Mr. Interference."

I know I have no credibility, BUT I believe there are people with at least the reputations of perhaps seeing obstruction/interference when it's likely not there...and by the same token (yes, I know, that is an overused trite phrase, overused and nothing but filler) there are people who don't call it.

As for the umpire leaving the field, THAT is uncalled for. Even sickos like me who are a big brown blotch on this avocation don't do that. This person should not only be blackballed, but also drawn and quartered.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 08:42am
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Based solely on the info offered by Tony, I have no problem with U1's call, coach confirmed it. As stated before, a call like that, the umpire needs to be 110% sure of the call and in this case, apparently the umpire was.

U1 should have killed the play immediately upon U3's call, not waited on the play.

U3 was 2-3 off foul line, but it isn't indicated which side of the line. If foul, and some umpires like to stay in foul territory, U3 was out of position. OTOH, PU & U3 may not know the rules and, from Tony's post, did interject themselves inappropriately. PU's job is to control the situation and should have been concerned with what U1 saw to cause the OBS call, not go with a call just because it occured in the vicinity not covered by the calling umpire.

Although many of us have probably often felt like running away from a game or crew, you just don't walk off the field during a game.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 10:06am
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This was handled very poorly by PU and U3. I probably would not have made that call if I was U1 ... but if I had, I would expect to be backed up by my partners, not overruled. And if a partner had (even if I was U3), I would have not even interjected myself into the conversation - and if pulled in by U1, I would have offered what I saw, and left U1 to make or reverse the call.

I can CERTAINLY see how U3 in foul ground could have missed the OBS, and a U3 out of position should not be complaining about an OBS he easily could have missed.

And you know what ... I might have walked off the field as U1 as well. So blacklist me then.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 12:20pm
JEL JEL is offline
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Was gonna stay out, but..........

I was there also, as a spectator, had no dog in the fight, due to feeling poorly did not work any of the tournie, but was ok to go watch after church the last game, and the "if".

Here is what I saw, and remember it WAS from a spectators standpoint, clear view of the field, but well behind all the play (we were actually standing about 20' behind the backstop).

Two good teams, National berth on the line, ITB. Bunt goes down, U3 is 2'-3" inside the line with a good angle rings up a good sell out. Mechanics good, but IMO wrong call. The umpires standing with me all uttered a "no" or similar. It was clearly to us anyway a safe. U3 saw an out, called an out so it was an out. The 3B coach was headed towards U3 when I saw UI coming from behind the circle with the left arm extended. "No he's not" was one statement from one of the umpire group. Well, if OBS was seen, it shoulda been called no doubt, but I seriously doubt that I would have seen, much less called it, ( I saw no OBS at all). It was called, should have been administered and then allow the friendly chat between the OC and U3. That was the play, I may not agree with either call, but they were properly made.

Here is where things got kinda ugly. U3 starts a march down the 3B line towards PU with a look "that could kill" so to speak. Coaches were trying to get a piece of anybody! After a brief chat between PUand U3, the entire crew met around 2B, alone and discussed the play. I did hear (from UIC) that the discussion was to not allow the OBS call. It was reported that the PU was overturning the U1's call, and as the meeting broke off PU signalled the out. Th U1 then waved a bye-bye towards U3, and left the field, then the park.

What it appeared, and remember this is speculation, and only how it appeared to me, is that U3 missed a call (which was pretty clear), U1 tried to correct an assumed bad call with the OBS, (the initial DDB signal, if there would NOT have been seen by the crowd, all eyes were on the play at 3B), U3 then complained to PU who sided with U1 and overturned U1. U1 just got mad and left. It was definitley not a well oiled crew!


So to answer the poll, I would have to say that ANY umpire MAY call OBS , but protocol and common sense would dictate that maybe it should not be done at times. I think it should not have been called in this instance.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 12:31pm
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Reading the different versions of this situation, U3 and U1 made their calls during the play. PU had time to decide what to do. He screwed up worst of all. He exceeded his authority; he made his crew look worse than they already did. The ONLY way this would have been correct as I see it now would be if U1 admitted during the conference he made a makeup call to fix U3's blown call. THEN sticking with the original judgment was correct, but even at that, it would require U1 to reverse his own call.

If any should be blackballed, it should also include the PU.
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Old Tue May 08, 2007, 12:40pm
JEL JEL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota
Reading the different versions of this situation, U3 and U1 made their calls during the play. PU had time to decide what to do. He screwed up worst of all. He exceeded his authority; he made his crew look worse than they already did. The ONLY way this would have been correct as I see it now would be if U1 admitted during the conference he made a makeup call to fix U3's blown call. THEN sticking with the original judgment was correct, but even at that, it would require U1 to reverse his own call.

If any should be blackballed, it should also include the PU.

The crew obviously was in disagreement. Should the UIC have been called in? How should a "divided crew" situation be handled?
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