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beerguy55

Fielder misses ball and collides with runner

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I can see this happening with F4/F6 running in on a flare...or F1 going to either baseline on a little flare.

The fielder is going for the ball, misses the ball, then his momentum carries him into the runner.  Is this always obstruction, or is there a "one step" provision?  Could it be ruled interference, even though the fielder has had his shot at the ball, and he and the ball are moving in opposite directions?

I think I read somewhere that a collision between a fielder and a runner is always INT or OBS, never incidental (except for right in front of the plate?).

 

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Assuming the ball is by now "a step and a reach" away from the fielder (and the entire benefit of the doubt is going to the runner, here), it's OBS.

 

Note that if the fielder pulls up at the last instant *because* the runner was in the way (and not because he judged it was a better way to attempt the play, or because he realized he was not going to get to the ball, or ...), then that's going to be INT.

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Is that really true? If the fielder does not go after the ball are we supposed to assume that it was due to interference?

Awhile back I was the BU for an 18U softball game.

Runner on 2B.

Runner goes on the pitch.

Batter hits soft line drive towards short which cause the runner to stop suddenly to avoid the batted ball and then immediately takes off once the danger of being hit is over.

F6 is a few feet behind her and drops the ball on what should have been an easy catch.

In my  judgement the runner did nothing wrong and, even though F6 seemed a bit flustered by the runner she should have caught the ball.

( I later checked an umpire manual and it stated that a runner must do something other than running the bases -- making contact, purposely stopping/ starting in front of the ball to hinder the fielder, etc.)---to be called for interference 

Defensive coach comes out looking for the interference call but I explain to him my reasons for not calling it.

Would you have called interference in this situation?

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

I think I read somewhere that a collision between a fielder and a runner is always INT or OBS, never incidental (except for right in front of the plate?).

 

I'd say as a general rule fielder/runner contact on a BATTED ball is generally going to be interference or obstruction.  I'd like to say "always" (other than tangle/untangle), but I'm sure somebody would come up with an example where that wasn't the case.  I hate the phrase "everybody was doing what they were supposed to be doing" on a batted ball.

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Is that really true? If the fielder does not go after the ball are we supposed to assume that it was due to interference?
Awhile back I was the BU for an 18U softball game.
Runner on 2B.
Runner goes on the pitch.
Batter hits soft line drive towards short which cause the runner to stop suddenly to avoid the batted ball and then immediately takes off once the danger of being hit is over.
F6 is a few feet behind her and drops the ball on what should have been an easy catch.
In my  judgement the runner did nothing wrong and, even though F6 seemed a bit flustered by the runner she should have caught the ball.
( I later checked an umpire manual and it stated that a runner must do something other than running the bases -- making contact, purposely stopping/ starting in front of the ball to hinder the fielder, etc.)---to be called for interference 
Defensive coach comes out looking for the interference call but I explain to him my reasons for not calling it.
Would you have called interference in this situation?
 
 
 
 

What you described is not what@noumpere said. He offered the insight that IF a fielder stops BECAUSE of the runner... Obviously, we don't want to require a collision to get INT, that's just dangerous. Your scenario is nothing.
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1 hour ago, MT73 said:

Would you have called interference in this situation?

HTBT, but the way you describe it, no. In order for there to be interference, the runner would have to ... well ... interfere with the fielder fielding the ball. Merely being in an inconvenient place isn't interference.

On the OP, once the fielder has missed the ball, he's no longer protected from committing obstruction. Either catch the ball (preferable) or at least be more aware of the baserunners in your area.

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3 hours ago, MT73 said:

Is that really true? If the fielder does not go after the ball are we supposed to assume that it was due to interference?

We don't assume anything. We have to judge the play on its merits: if the runner hinders the fielder, then INT. If, as in the OP, the fielder misplays the ball so that it gets away from him, then he is instantly liable for OBS. We have to rule on which occurs (so with luck one of us is watching: this sometimes happens behind the BU, and when he turns he picks up the end of the action, which is no basis for ruling on it even though it's 10 feet from him).

Note that in neither version of this play is contact required to rule INT or OBS. The key concept is hindrance, not contact.

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