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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 11:21am
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Obstruction question from the NFHS board

I believe it was Tom who mentioned that there was a spirited debate on the NFHS forum regarding whether there was enough information in the following picture to rule obstruction.

http://suwanneesports.smugmug.com/ga...2667451#P-6-15

I usually keep my mouth shut since I'm still green (being a green blue makes me...what?), but for the purpose of discussion, at that point in time in the picture, I do not have obstruction. I know Tom also does not have obstruction from what is shown. WMB was on the opposite side, and because of my enormous amount of respect for his opinions, I would like to know how others feel and what they see or do not see to support their reason for making/not making the call.
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 11:56am
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I cannot imagine calling OBS on that play (assuming nothing outrageous occurred a moment before).
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 12:21pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greymule
I cannot imagine calling OBS on that play (assuming nothing outrageous occurred a moment before).
Personally, I would not call obstruction on this play but I can see where one could rule obstruction based on the newer, more stringent standards.

Somehow, I don't think this is the type of play the rulesmakers intended to eliminate when they revised the obstruction standard.

An umpire who would call obstruction in this scenario, in my opinion, is looking to make a call. Ticky tack.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 12:43pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greymule
I cannot imagine calling OBS on that play (assuming nothing outrageous occurred a moment before).
I could, but only if the ball is NOT caught by the defender and her foot kept the runner from contacting the base. It is nothing at the point of the photograph since it seems the runner is advancing in the proper fashion. The defender's foot is irrelevant to the play UNTIL it's placement actually keeps the runner from obtaining the base while the defender does not have possession of the ball.

It would not be "ticky tack", it would be making the appropriate call for the situation since you have no idea of what subsequent action may take place. The call also deters arguments with the coaches since it demonstrates that you saw it and are not afraid to make the call. Remember, the call is to protect the umpire as much as the runner and there is no possible down side to it.
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 01:55pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlitzkriegBob
I believe it was Tom who mentioned that there was a spirited debate on the NFHS forum ....
No, it wasn't me who mentioned that thread here, but I did participate in the discussion on the NFHS board.

I was primarily responding to a member over there who was (as I understood his posts) saying that the slide itself in this picture is sufficient evidence of the runner being impeded, because you, as the umpire, cannot be sure that the runner did not slide merely because the defender's foot was (partially) blocking the base.

Here is an exerpt of my response to that notion:

Quote:
In the picture, there is no obstruction evident from the still picture. Yes, the defender's foot is blocking part of the base, but what is the runner's path? From the position of the ball, she was sliding all the way, regardless of the defender's position. ... From this picture, all you can say is you will be looking for obstruction, but you would need the several frames ahead of this picture, and at least a frame or two after to make the call. In other words, see the complete play.
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 04:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota
I was primarily responding to a member over there who was (as I understood his posts) saying that the slide itself in this picture is sufficient evidence of the runner being impeded, because you, as the umpire, cannot be sure that the runner did not slide merely because the defender's foot was (partially) blocking the base.

But then again, how would the umpire know FOR SURE that she did slide because of the foot? What could he have been thinking about


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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 04:53pm
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strictly from that pic, at that instant - no OBS
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 11:28pm
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no obs... but since when, don't we have to take off our face masks (in this case his helmet face mask thingy "ugly damn things" imho..lol) to make a call down at third? or is this some new safety rule i didn't get a memo about.
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Old Sat Jan 05, 2008, 11:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
I could, but only if the ball is NOT caught by the defender and her foot kept the runner from contacting the base. It is nothing at the point of the photograph since it seems the runner is advancing in the proper fashion. The defender's foot is irrelevant to the play UNTIL it's placement actually keeps the runner from obtaining the base while the defender does not have possession of the ball.
Although I agree that "the defender's foot is irrelevant to the play UNTIL it's placement actually keeps the runner from obtaining the base", I believe that the photo is taken at a point in time where that is not the case. This runner has already begun her slide and is unquestionably in close proximity to the base. When blocked out, runner's will typically slide toward a location that insures they will make contact with the bag, and not jam up against some body part of the fielder. Consequently, their slide is affected. That's obstruction because the runner is hindered because the fielder is dictating how the runner is going to obtain access to the base. Once the runner gets to the point where they are sliding, the fielder best not be blocking the base. That is the case in the photo. It is not too soon to be obstructing.

Having said that, I still wouldn't call obstruction on this play, not because the runner is too far away, or that the fielder's position is "irrelevant", rather, for the simple fact that the fielder's "obstruction" is so minuscule (as it appears in the photo), that it's not worth making the call.

But that's just my personal opinion. I would understand if another umpire called it differently. Unquestionably, it is marginal.

A debate over that photo would be more one of style and personal predilections than it would be a debate over a RULE. It would be tantamount to arguing whether a close pitch on the outside portion of the plate caught the corner for a strike, or, was bit outside. One umpire may call it a strike whereas another might not. Whose to say that one is right or wrong on something so marginal? It could reasonably go both ways, depending on the umpire.

In this photo, Felix Unger would rule obstruction whereas Oscar Madison would not.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Sun Jan 06, 2008, 12:02am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3afan
strictly from that pic, at that instant - no OBS
I wouldn't use the word "strictly."

Strictly speaking, it is obstruction.

Is the fielder's foot in front of the base? YES!

Does the fielder have the ball? NO!

And the runner is just inches from the bag, so she is clearly in close enough proximity for these to be factors.

And yet, from a practical point of view, I would not call obstruction on this play. But I don't think I'd be having a long discussion about it. And I certainly wouldn't say "strictly speaking" ... more like "practically speaking."

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Old Sun Jan 06, 2008, 12:10am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
I could, but only if the ball is NOT caught by the defender and her foot kept the runner from contacting the base.
If she doesn't catch it, the obstruction call is moot. Unless, of course, it's your intent to award her home for being obstructed into 3rd.

Uh oh - here we go again.

David Emerling
Memphis, TN
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Old Sun Jan 06, 2008, 11:19pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Emerling
If she doesn't catch it, the obstruction call is moot. Unless, of course, it's your intent to award her home for being obstructed into 3rd.
David, you make excellent points, but if I understand you to say that you would not call obstruction if the fielder did not catch the ball and her foot prevented the runner from reaching third, I would have to disagree with you. Even if you have no intention of awarding the runner home, I believe it is necessary to make the call in that situation.
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Old Sun Jan 06, 2008, 11:34pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota
I was primarily responding to a member over there who was (as I understood his posts) saying that the slide itself in this picture is sufficient evidence of the runner being impeded, because you, as the umpire, cannot be sure that the runner did not slide merely because the defender's foot was (partially) blocking the base.
I understood that member to be saying that also. I was trying not to raise that point of view to see if anyone else shared that opinion, but since it's now out there I still can not understand how a runner can not be expected to slide in this situation. Especially as a former coach (and I know this shouldn't influence my opinion), I see both the offense and the defense doing exactly what I would have coached...except for the foot placement of F5. Defense has the inside, offense has the outside.
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Old Mon Jan 07, 2008, 12:51am
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Talking

I was one of the people for the obstruction call. I hate it when these discussions happen when I am camping away from my computer.

It is true that from a picture it is hard to know if the runner has 'altered her path'.

What you can tell from the picture is that the defensive player is blocking the front part of the bag and she is not in possession of the ball.

I would call obstruction and award the runner 3B if she didn't reach it safely.

Putting your hand out to signal DDB and letting everyone know that you saw the play is similar to the safe when there is a crash w/ nothing to call. It lets coaches and players know that you are seeing what is happening and that you are in the game.

I am sure that the obstruction 'call' will lead to nothing, but getting in the habit of calling the obstruction when you see it will lead to a good habit and less of reaction time when it is necc. to call it and make it an award.

I also agree that the umpire in the shot needs to have his lid in his Left hand and not on his head. That was the primary point to my original post, which was hijacked to a discussion on OBS.
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Old Mon Jan 07, 2008, 01:10am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlitzkriegBob
I believe it was Tom who mentioned that there was a spirited debate on the NFHS forum regarding whether there was enough information in the following picture to rule obstruction.

http://suwanneesports.smugmug.com/ga...2667451#P-6-15

I usually keep my mouth shut since I'm still green (being a green blue makes me...what?), but for the purpose of discussion, at that point in time in the picture, I do not have obstruction. I know Tom also does not have obstruction from what is shown. WMB was on the opposite side, and because of my enormous amount of respect for his opinions, I would like to know how others feel and what they see or do not see to support their reason for making/not making the call.
(being a green blue makes me...what?)

AQUAMAN

Bob
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