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zoops

OBS at Home Clarification

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zoops    48

OBR.  R2, single hit to left, throw coming to home perfectly on target that beats the runner pretty easily (3-5 feet).  Catcher is straddling home plate the entire time the ball is in the air.  Runner is tagged out.  

Coach put up a mild argument that the catcher was blocking the plate without the ball ("they changed that rule, you can't do that anymore").  I said that he was in the act of fielding and that it doesn't matter if the catcher is blocking the plate when the runner isn't about to attempt to reach the plate.  Probably wasn't the best explanation so I figured I'd generate some discussion to clarify the best way to explain this.  No doubt the catcher could have been in position to field the throw in front of the base without having to block the base and still have tagged the runner out, but in this case does it matter?  I believe it was a couple years ago that this would have been called OBS, as plays where the runner was out by 10 feet were getting overturned on replay due to the catcher blocking the plate without the ball.  I'll post the rule and highlight the parts I believe are pertinent.  6.01 (i)2...

(2) Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Not withstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 6.01(i)(2) (Rule 7.13(2)) if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw (e.g., in reaction to the direction, trajectory or the hop of the incoming throw, or in reaction to a throw that originates from a pitcher or drawn-in infielder). In addition, a catcher without possession of the ball shall not be adjudged to violate this Rule 6.01(i)(2) (Rule 7.13(2)) if the runner could have avoided the collision with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) by sliding. Rule 6.01(i)(2) Comment (Rule 7.13(2) Comment): A catcher shall not be deemed to have violated Rule 6.01(i)(2) (Rule 7.13(2)) unless he has both blocked the plate without possession the ball (or when not in a legitimate attempt to field the throw), and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score. A catcher shall not be deemed to have hindered or impeded the progress of the runner if, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner would have been called out notwithstanding the catcher having blocked the plate. In addition, a catcher should use best efforts to avoid unnecessary and forcible contact while tagging a runner attempting to slide. Catchers who routinely make unnecessary and forcible contact with a runner attempting to slide (e.g., by initiating contact using a knee, shin guard, elbow or forearm) may be subject to discipline by the League President.

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zoops    48

A little surprised that there's been no discussion on this...am I overthinking this one?  Maybe it's been discussed a lot already but I did some searching and didn't find a lot.  

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maven    3,887

I think the reductive thought that it's OBS if he "blocks the base without the ball" is the culprit. When R2 is rounding 3B, F2 in the baseline near HP cannot possibly be hindering the runner 90 feet away.

Now, the OP mentions the ball arriving when the runner is 3-5 feet away: that's pretty tight, and probably OBS in FED. For OBR, we also have to rule on whether F2 has to be there to field the throw: merely being in the act of fielding the throw does not excuse OBS by itself, the throw has to take him into the runner's path (I like the NCAA language here).

To answer your question: if you judged that the runner was not hindered by F2's position, then his merely being wherever he was does not constitute OBS (and "fielding the throw" becomes moot). Assuming your judgment is correct, it sounds as if you applied the rule correctly.

To assess your judgment call, we'd need some video, probably from a couple angles (I favor the one from high in the stands looking directly down 3BL :) ).

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catsbackr    374

Plus, as described, the catcher was straddling home plate, by desription the catcher is allowing access to home plate.

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Aging_Arbiter    613

As most rule sets indicate............slide or attempt to avoid contact............

by straddling the plate, this allows access for the runner to slide through (generally) with little to no contact.  **NOTE- MY ASSUMPTION** Catcher is straddling that the baseline runs between his legs, not a foot in each box facing the mound.

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ricka56    1,062

Straddling HP (1BL/X) would be giving access to HP. Same position just 2-3 feet towards 3B (but HP exposed between F2's legs) I would not consider allowing access. That position invites either hard contact (not desired) or a deviation of the runners base path. 

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Stk004    599
On 7/10/2017 at 10:32 AM, Aging_Arbiter said:

As most rule sets indicate............slide or attempt to avoid contact............

by straddling the plate, this allows access for the runner to slide through (generally) with little to no contact.  **NOTE- MY ASSUMPTION** Catcher is straddling that the baseline runs between his legs, not a foot in each box facing the mound.

Ah! Here's some scenarios I'd like opinions on. 

Do you guys use "slide or avoid" when determining if either player has violated the home plate collision rule, or do you determine who initiated the contact and whether or not they were within their legal right to do so? If there's contact between a runner coming home and the catcher (or any fielder covering home), are you calling the runner out because he didn't slide or avoid even though he didn't initiate contact? If the play is 20' up the line (no expectation to slide) and the throw brings the catcher into the path of the runner, are you calling the runner out for the collision? Remember, OBR. 

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maven    3,887
9 hours ago, Stk004 said:

Do you guys use "slide or avoid" when determining if either player has violated the home plate collision rule, or do you determine who initiated the contact and whether or not they were within their legal right to do so?

This seems to be a distinction without a difference (in practice).

9 hours ago, Stk004 said:

If there's contact between a runner coming home and the catcher (or any fielder covering home), are you calling the runner out because he didn't slide or avoid even though he didn't initiate contact?

No. It's called the collision rule, right?

9 hours ago, Stk004 said:

If the play is 20' up the line (no expectation to slide) and the throw brings the catcher into the path of the runner, are you calling the runner out for the collision?

No. Why would you? What infraction has the runner committed?

For plays at the plate (assuming I have time), I get to 3BLX and read F2's setup. Next I'll pick up the runner to see the path to the plate he's taking. Then I read the throw and where it's likely to move F2. Back to F2 as he moves, and I work the wedge to keep the angles open and see the whole play.

The early read on F2 and the runner can often identify potential problems (OBS, MC) as they develop, so that I'm not taken by surprise by a sudden development in a complicated (and seldom practiced) play.

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