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Obs, interference or no call

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Guest All

Throw pulls first baseman toward home plate side but can still reach it from the bag. Runner is running a foot or 2 inside field of play, out of the running lane, runs into 1st baseman or stops running. The throw is already going to beat the runner there. Obstruction, interference or no call?

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From the HS side:

NFHS 8-4-1 . . . The batter-runner is out when:

g. he runs outside the three-foot running lane (last half of the distance from home plate to first base), while the ball is being fielded or thrown to first base; or

1. This infraction is ignored if it is to avoid a fielder who is attempting to field the batted ball or if the act does not interfere with a fielder or a throw.

NFHS CB *8.4.2 SITUATION L:  

RULING: …Acts such as attempts of a runner to profit by running…outside the three-foot lane while advancing to first…may not be appealed. The umpire calls the runner out without waiting for the defensive player to call attention to the act.

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7 hours ago, Guest All said:

Throw pulls first baseman toward home plate side but can still reach it from the bag. Runner is running a foot or 2 inside field of play, out of the running lane, runs into 1st baseman or stops running. The throw is already going to beat the runner there. Obstruction, interference or no call?

In all codes, if the BR has time to adjust, I'm probably looking at MC, which is going to trump anything else.

Under OBR, where we excuse from OBS a fielder moving in order to field a throw, this is probably just RLI. The ball is dead, the BR is out, and other runners return to their TOP bases.

For FED, I'm thinking through various versions of this play, where F3 blocks more and more of 1B without the ball. Frankly, with the BR running illegally, I'd be inclined to ignore "OBS by rule" for F3 denying access, but FED has a case play where a runner is obstructed at 3B and then interferes with F2 at HP, and they want both penalties enforced ("in order of occurrence," as the football guys say).

But enforcing both would be silly, as the outcome would be exactly the same as enforcing only the RLI: the ball is dead, the BR is out, and other runners return to their TOP bases. Throwing in an intermediate step of awarding the BR 1B before sending him to the dugout seems pointless.

So I guess we should for this "enforce both" case play in 2019?

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2 hours ago, maven said:

In all codes, if the BR has time to adjust, I'm probably looking at MC, which is going to trump anything else.

Under OBR, where we excuse from OBS a fielder moving in order to field a throw, this is probably just RLI. The ball is dead, the BR is out, and other runners return to their TOP bases.

For FED, I'm thinking through various versions of this play, where F3 blocks more and more of 1B without the ball. Frankly, with the BR running illegally, I'd be inclined to ignore "OBS by rule" for F3 denying access, but FED has a case play where a runner is obstructed at 3B and then interferes with F2 at HP, and they want both penalties enforced ("in order of occurrence," as the football guys say).

But enforcing both would be silly, as the outcome would be exactly the same as enforcing only the RLI: the ball is dead, the BR is out, and other runners return to their TOP bases. Throwing in an intermediate step of awarding the BR 1B before sending him to the dugout seems pointless.

So I guess we should for this "enforce both" case play in 2019?

OP does not mention it, but doesn't this depend on where the throw is coming from, as I thought RLI can only be called on a thrown coming from the "plate area"?

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Based on the OPs description, it seems like the throw is coming from an infielder, as the throw takes him to the home plate side of first base. A throw from the plate area wouldn't take him in that direction, it would be coming from that direction.

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23 minutes ago, Mudder said:

OP does not mention it, but doesn't this depend on where the throw is coming from, as I thought RLI can only be called on a thrown coming from the "plate area"?

That's not what the rules says. OBR 5.09(a)(11)

Quote

In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line, or inside(to the left of ) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base

 

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34 minutes ago, maven said:

That's not what the rules says. OBR 5.09(a)(11)

 

  Quote

In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line, or inside(to the left of ) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base

On the clip the throw is coming from where you normally see RLI called, the plate area,  I know the rule does not state that, but its been mentioned on this site many times that you shouldn't call RLI on throws coming say from the middle infield.

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1 hour ago, Mudder said:
  Quote

In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line, or inside(to the left of ) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base

On the clip the throw is coming from where you normally see RLI called, the plate area,  I know the rule does not state that, but its been mentioned on this site many times that you shouldn't call RLI on throws coming say from the middle infield.

CC had an interp in the BRD from PBUC that said the throw can come from anywhere - just as the rule states.

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2 hours ago, Mudder said:
  Quote

In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line, or inside(to the left of ) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base

On the clip the throw is coming from where you normally see RLI called, the plate area,  I know the rule does not state that, but its been mentioned on this site many times that you shouldn't call RLI on throws coming say from the middle infield.

It's possible it has been said/argued that many times, but doesn't mean it's correct.

Keep in mind that RLI is protecting the fielder taking the throw, not making the throw...ie. it's not about blocking F2, it's about impeding F3

On a play where  the throw is to F3's left (eg. a throw from F6 that sails to his right) - he stretches down towards the plate, but is still inside the foul line - the runner can't run inside the line to either make contact with the glove or get himself between the ball and F3 to either get hit by it, or distract F3 from catching it - even if he misses the base by three feet, if F3 doesn't make the catch B/R would just be able to return to the base before an appeal is made....so, no risk, all reward...if you don't call RLI there.   This would be no different if F3 was stretching towards F2 making the throw from the plate area.

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2016 BRD FED Official Interpretation: Hopkins:  B1 lays down a bunt that is fielded by F2 in fair territory a few feet in front of home plate. As BR is 60 feet away from home base, he is running outside the running lane with one foot completely in fair ground and not touching the lines of the running lane. Ruling:  BR is required to be in the running lane the last 45 feet to first when the ball is fielded and thrown FROM AN AREA BEHIND HIM. (Website 2010 #7)

2010 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 7: B1 lays down a bunt that is fielded by F2 in fair territory a few feet in front of home plate. As B1 is 60 feet from home base, he is running outside the running lane with one foot completely in fair ground and not touching the lines of the running lane. F2 fields the ball and (a) attempts to throw to first but throws high into right field as he tries not to hit B1, or (b) does not attempt a throw. RULING: B1 is required to be in the running lane the last 45 feet to first base when the ball is fielded and thrown from an area behind him. In (a), this is interference and B1 is out and the ball is declared dead. In (b), since there was no throw, there is no interference. F2 is not required to hit B1 to demonstrate that B1 is out of the running lane, but a throw must be made for the interference to be declared. (8-4-1g)

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I agree with you, Mr. Mudder, and so do Carl Childress and George Demetriou.

Carl Childress wrote the following (in his 2016 BRD)—“Let’s get this point clear:  What I’m about to say is not in any rule book, but it’s a ‘rule provision’ nonetheless because it has been codified via the decisions of thousands of umpires in tens of thousands of games played all over the world. The running lane should enter an umpire’s decision-making process only when the ball is being fielded from behind the runner. For example, when the third baseman throws off line to first and the first baseman goes for the ball, if contact occurs, don’t look down to see where the BR’s feet are. If you do, you’re on your way to blowing the call. The intent of the rule is to keep BR from screening the fielder behind him from the first baseman in front. Keep it that way in your games and you’ll never get into trouble.”

The following text was written by George Demetriou and taken from his blog at Baseball Rules Academy website—he also writes a rules column for another umpire website (which shall remain nameless here ever more) and is the author of the study guide for college baseball rules--

“The purpose of the three-foot wide lane (aka 45’ lane) along the last half of the distance between home and first base in foul territory is widely misunderstood. It only applies when the ball is being thrown to first base from the area of the plate (roughly from behind the runner), and none of the three major baseball codes directly state that…”

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21 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

I agree with you, Mr. Mudder, and so do Carl Childress and George Demetriou.

Carl Childress wrote the following (in his 2016 BRD)—“Let’s get this point clear:  What I’m about to say is not in any rule book, but it’s a ‘rule provision’ nonetheless because it has been codified via the decisions of thousands of umpires in tens of thousands of games played all over the world. The running lane should enter an umpire’s decision-making process only when the ball is being fielded from behind the runner. For example, when the third baseman throws off line to first and the first baseman goes for the ball, if contact occurs, don’t look down to see where the BR’s feet are. If you do, you’re on your way to blowing the call. The intent of the rule is to keep BR from screening the fielder behind him from the first baseman in front. Keep it that way in your games and you’ll never get into trouble.”

The following text was written by George Demetriou and taken from his blog at Baseball Rules Academy website—he also writes a rules column for another umpire website (which shall remain nameless here ever more) and is the author of the study guide for college baseball rules--

“The purpose of the three-foot wide lane (aka 45’ lane) along the last half of the distance between home and first base in foul territory is widely misunderstood. It only applies when the ball is being thrown to first base from the area of the plate (roughly from behind the runner), and none of the three major baseball codes directly state that…”

I agree with the spirit applied in these to statements...the problem is in practice, in my experience, most umpires ignore, dismiss or don't consider the element of the runner screening F3.   If the ball gets by the B/R, RLI isn't called.  Even if the only conceivable reason F3 missed is he was screened.  IMO it's a far bigger problem compared to, for example, the set of umpires who want contact to call INT/OBS.

I have NEVER seen RLI called where the throw didn't hit the B/R.

The interpretation of the rule, and how it is applied and judged, effectively encourages and rewards catchers to fire the ball into B/R's back.   And now the umpires are forced to judge that intent (and I don't ever recall an umpire determining it was done on purpose).

Personally, since umpires have already shown they are capable to judge interference (or not) on a non-throw in the case of batter's interference, I'm pretty sure they'd be just as capable to judge RLI (or not) on a non-throw from F1/F2 from the plate area

I would see nothing wrong with an official interpretation (if it were to arise) determining that impeding/preventing a throw, by extension, impedes/prevents a catch.

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Frankly, neither I nor my umpire associations ever had that problem so I do not share your concern. What I am concerned about, however, is whether or not you still believe that an umpire should consider where the runner’s feet are on a throw from anywhere else but from the plate area and invoke RLI.

Actually, Carl Childress anticipated your objection, Mr. beerguy55. He stated the following in his 2016 BRD--

“Briefly:  The catcher does not have to throw for the umpire to call BATTER interference. The play takes place quickly. The catcher is stationary. Remember, too, the runner had a lead. So, even subtle movements by the batter can easily sabotage the catcher’s response. On the other hand, to get an interference call the catcher must throw when the batter-runner is not in the running lane. The time constraint for the play is much more relaxed. The batter-runner, for example, doesn’t have a lead: He starts from scratch. Therefore, the catcher has time to find a good place from which to throw. He is not anchored to a spot. Recall from your games the catcher’s commands to the first baseman:  ‘Inside!” or ‘Outside!’”

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On 12/17/2018 at 2:44 PM, Senor Azul said:

Frankly, neither I nor my umpire associations ever had that problem so I do not share your concern. What I am concerned about, however, is whether or not you still believe that an umpire should consider where the runner’s feet are on a throw from anywhere else but from the plate area and invoke RLI.

Actually, Carl Childress anticipated your objection, Mr. beerguy55. He stated the following in his 2016 BRD--

“Briefly:  The catcher does not have to throw for the umpire to call BATTER interference. The play takes place quickly. The catcher is stationary. Remember, too, the runner had a lead. So, even subtle movements by the batter can easily sabotage the catcher’s response. On the other hand, to get an interference call the catcher must throw when the batter-runner is not in the running lane. The time constraint for the play is much more relaxed. The batter-runner, for example, doesn’t have a lead: He starts from scratch. Therefore, the catcher has time to find a good place from which to throw. He is not anchored to a spot. Recall from your games the catcher’s commands to the first baseman:  ‘Inside!” or ‘Outside!’”

Don't get me wrong - this is one of the biggest coachable moments - catcher's SHOULD be taught to do exactly that.   And, in that spirit, to Childress' comment, I think an umpire is more than capable to judge if a catcher should have been able to make such a move, and make a clean throw that is catchable, even if the B/R was outside the line.

I simply present the anecdotal evidence of my experience that the only way to get an RLI call appears to require throwing the ball into B/R's back (provided he is, of course, outside the running lane) - in spite of any instructions and direction umpires like Childress have made over the years.  The practice is very different.  If the throw gets past B/R, even if F3 missed due to an obvious screen while B/R was outside the line, in my experience RLI isn't called.  Whereas, even where the catcher makes an obvious step to ensure B/R is in his way, firing the ball into B/R's back gets the RLI call.   

To your first question - I could take it or leave it.  IMO, the spirit of the rule was meant to address the area from near the plate, and that would be my preference.  The letter of the rule certainly doesn't say that, and I can understand the literal position.

What I find is the current interpretation is neither in nor out - it's trying to find a weird middle ground which in the end equates to crossing your fingers behind your back.   For me, pick one - require a throw, but allow RLI to be called even on a throw from F6.   Or, my preference, RLI only occurs on (potential) throws from near the plate, but a throw isn't required.   Pick one of the two.  IMO both are better than then current interpretation.

1. RLI from plate area, no throw needed - umpire to judge if catcher simply needed to step aside and make a clean throw

2. RLI from anywhere, throw needed - ball that sails far to F3's left, the running lane protects the runner in interfering with any attempt by F3 to get to the ball - runner outside of lane in jeopardy if he does interfere with said attempt

3. Current interpretation - see Grand Old Duke of York 

 

Respectfully.   And Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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