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jlg1065

Obstruction, Unsportsman like conduct or neither??

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R1 beats the throw to second base on a steal. The second baseman catches the ball. The runner stands up on the base and the second baseman says " That was a foul you have to go back to first" It was not a foul ball. Runner steps off and is tagged.....Out or Safe

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For FED, this is clearly verbal OBS. The closest case play is from the 2001 Interpretations.

Quote

SITUATION 14: With runners on first and second and one out, the batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop. The second baseman calls "I got it" and acts as if it is a pop-up. The runners stay at their respective bases and a double play is made, second to first. RULING: This is verbal obstruction. Runners will be awarded third and second. There are two outs since the out on the batter-runner will stand. (2-22-1; 8-3-2)

R1, having legally acquired 2B, should be awarded 3B on the OBS (even though tagged between 2B and 1B).

Although OBR has no explicit verbal OBS provision, I'd treat it the same. Pro players are expected to know better than to be hindered by mere words; amateurs can be hindered by verbal acts, and thus deserve the protection of the OBS rule.

For both codes, issue a team warning and eject the next offender.

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1 hour ago, noumpere said:

I agree with Maven for FED, but I'd have the out in OBR.

Given this different view, let me expand a bit.

OBR gives us some latitude for level: for the levels and leagues I work, if I get the out instead of calling OBS, the rest of that game is going to be limit-testing, juvenile, and a total crap-fest. As a game management tool, I will penalize the OBS.

noumpere works (or worked) higher levels than I, where the teams would blame the runner for getting fooled instead of complain about the unsporting act. If that's our situation, then go ahead and get the out: as I said initially, in pro ball (and probably NCAA), runners are expected not to get fooled by such tactics.

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OBR does not cover verbal obstruction but it does have an official interpretation that can be found in the 2016 BRD (section 375, p. 252):

Fitzpatrick:  Do not penalize verbal decoys in games played using OBR rules. (email to cc, 12/15/00)

And a question for Mr. maven—Is the following the “latitude” you say the OBR gives us?  This is the only latitude I could find and it appears in the Foreword to the OBR:

“We recognize that many amateur and non-professional organizations play their games under professional rules and we are happy to make our rules available as widely as possible. It is well to remember that specifications as to fields, equipment, etc., may be modified to meet the needs of each group.

“Money fines, long-term suspensions and similar penalties imposed by this code are not practicable for amateur groups, but officers and umpires of such organizations should insist on strict observance of all the rules governing the playing of the game.”

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7 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

And a question for Mr. maven—Is the following the “latitude” you say the OBR gives us?  This is the only latitude I could find and it appears in the Foreword to the OBR:

No, the latitude to which I refer is the concept of hindrance. Because OBS is defined (in all codes) in terms of hindrance, we can apply the rule at lower levels in terms of what would reasonably be expected to hinder players at that level.

In pro ball, verbal OBS isn't a thing, because players are expected to ignore that nonsense. If a pro runner gets fooled by a deke or a fake "Back! Back!" he's going to get a lot of crap from his teammates about it. No hindrance = no OBS.

For instructional levels, runners do get fooled, so verbal hindrance is a thing. We can therefore apply the OBS rule to verbal hindrance, even though 'verbal OBS' is not explicitly defined in OBR. What counts as pranking/"bush" at higher levels is unsporting at lower levels, and needs to be addressed differently.

This is, naturally, my interpretation, but it has worked for me as I came up through instructional levels.

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On 2/4/2018 at 8:56 AM, maven said:

OBR gives us some latitude for level: for the levels and leagues I work, if I get the out instead of calling OBS, the rest of that game is going to be limit-testing, juvenile, and a total crap-fest. As a game management tool, I will penalize the OBS.

I could sell that to HC...along with telling him that middle infielder is on thin ice trying to steer us to turdville.

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On 2/9/2018 at 8:34 PM, maven said:

No, the latitude to which I refer is the concept of hindrance. Because OBS is defined (in all codes) in terms of hindrance, we can apply the rule at lower levels in terms of what would reasonably be expected to hinder players at that level.

In pro ball, verbal OBS isn't a thing, because players are expected to ignore that nonsense. If a pro runner gets fooled by a deke or a fake "Back! Back!" he's going to get a lot of crap from his teammates about it. No hindrance = no OBS.

For instructional levels, runners do get fooled, so verbal hindrance is a thing. We can therefore apply the OBS rule to verbal hindrance, even though 'verbal OBS' is not explicitly defined in OBR. What counts as pranking/"bush" at higher levels is unsporting at lower levels, and needs to be addressed differently.

This is, naturally, my interpretation, but it has worked for me as I came up through instructional levels.

It would have to be the really young levels for me.  If by 14U you haven't learned to either watch for the ball or your coach you should be open season to this kind of deke. 

The one I've done as an outfielder is to call "I got it" on a line drive/falling fly ball hit to me, to freeze R1 to give me a chance to field the ball and try to force him out...and on occasion it worked.

I'd hate to see this called OBS, even in high school - "well, Blue, I called 'I got it' on a ball that I did actually get" 

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1 hour ago, beerguy55 said:

I'd hate to see this called OBS, even in high school - "well, Blue, I called 'I got it' on a ball that I did actually get" 

So would I.

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Perhaps I am mistaken, but isn’t there an umpire admonition to not make crapola (schiesse, merde, mierda) up? If there is, then is it simply ignored here? We are being advised to follow our conscience instead of enforcing the rules as written if we don’t agree with it.

I think Carl Childress has a far superior recommendation that can be found in his 2016 BRD (Introduction, paragraph 8, p. 11):

“... Amateur leagues using that code (OBR) often enact safety rules or adopt certain playing provisions to suit their players’ ages and physical development. Where I suspect significant local departures exist, I point that out by referencing this paragraph: See paragraph 8, p. 11. That flag means:  Be certain you check with the supervisor of your league before enforcing the straight OBR rule outlined in that clause.”

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On 2/13/2018 at 4:08 PM, beerguy55 said:

If by 14U you haven't learned to either watch for the ball or your coach you should be open season to this kind of deke. 

The one I've done as an outfielder is to call "I got it" on a line drive/falling fly ball hit to me

A player might pretending to camp under or catch the ball, or call for it when s/he won't catch it, or fake a throw; these are examples of "dekes."  They are common and fine.

Lying directly to a member of the other team is not a deke.

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@Senor Azul (and others), let me interject a post in support of @maven‘s perspective.

Here in Arizona, we have a constant cavalcade of tournament and league baseball for amateurs of all ages. In regards to verbal obstruction of the sort of the OP example given, in adult leagues (MSBL, NABA, etc) playing under OBR (with mods), this is a “tough luck, you should know better”. Where it gets grey and sticky is with teams with players between 12 and 18, playing tournaments every weekend wherein they are playing under OBR, Fed, or a hybrid of both (e.g. Fed pitching “allowances”, but OBR mound visits).

These same teams are competing, weekend to weekend, under different rulesets. Of course, the core differences need to be adhered to, but in regards to verbal obstruction, say we have Team Reds versus Team Greens, comprised of high school kids who all attend area high schools. While they play Fed rules for sanctioned HS games, or a Fed -rules based tournament on a weekend, they are prohibited from verbally baiting or fake-tagging. Team Green gets a runner, Mikey, on first base, who attempts a steal of 2B. He arrives well before the throw, only to have the shyster shortstop, Ricky, tell him, “Foul ball, dude. Didn’t ya hear it?” Mikey, like any teenage kid, believes his peers more than adults, and starts to head back to 1B, only to get tagged by Ricky or his defensive teammates. Ha! What a dumbass to fall for that, that Mikey! But this sort of shenanigan is prohibited in Fed, and Mikey isn’t (or shouldn’t be) Out.

And what are we told not to do as umpires (especially as Base Umpires)? Not to advise or coach the kids (ballplayers), nor to “overcall” (embellish or mechanic an otherwise obvious foul ball to the backstop, or a safe mechanic on an otherwise uncontested steal of a base).

So are we going to then allow shysterism and shenanigans between Team Greens and Team Reds the following weekend tournament solely because its modified ruleset is based on OBR instead of the usual NFHS rules?

In amateur baseball, we (as umpires) are fairly quick to shut down and negate a Base Coach (or a member of the OT bench) vocalizing “That’s a balk!” so as to unnerve (and prompt or cause) the teenage F1 into stopping his motion or stepping off improperly, thinking that one of the umpires declared it, regardless of it being OBR or Fed ruleset. Shenanigans like this are very unsporting and are not in the spirit of the amateur game; it shouldn’t require a specific ruleset to be employed and a five minute reading of a Sportsmanship Code at the plate meeting.

 

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