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SeanColorado

Pitcher Covering Home on Wild Pitch

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12U, OBR rules.

Runner on third, wild pitch.  Runner heads home, catcher retrieves ball from a short backstop.  Pitcher covers home and sets up straddling the home plate (centered over it) about a second before the ball arrives.  No must slide rule, but the runner would have a hard time running through the plate without a collision.  Collision occurs when they don't slide, runner is safe...

But, if runner doesn't slide and is out, is this obstruction?  It's certainly asking for an injury.

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You say it's OBR, but most youth leagues modify OBR to include some "slide or avoid contact" provision (no league anywhere AFAIK has a "must slide" rule).

Assuming such a rule, it sounds as if R3 failed to try to avoid contact. That's generally INT, often MC. If MC, it would supersede OBS. A runner who intentionally crashes into any fielder who is stationary is probably guilty of MC.

F1 straddling the plate does not sound like OBS to me. If he's over the plate, then he has not blocked the runner's path to the plate.

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The runner did actively try to avoid contact. They were by far the smaller of the players and lost the collision as far as impact goes. 

The way the plate was straddled there is no chance of avoiding contact without either sliding or coming to a halt before the plate and tapping the plate with a foot.   Would that change your opinion?

No rule modifications in this case. I appreciate the feedback...first time caller here.  :D

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2 hours ago, maven said:

You say it's OBR, but most youth leagues modify OBR to include some "slide or avoid contact" provision (no league anywhere AFAIK has a "must slide" rule).

Assuming such a rule, it sounds as if R3 failed to try to avoid contact. That's generally INT, often MC. If MC, it would supersede OBS. A runner who intentionally crashes into any fielder who is stationary is probably guilty of MC.

F1 straddling the plate does not sound like OBS to me. If he's over the plate, then he has not blocked the runner's path to the plate.

Slide or ATTEMPT to avoid.  (or in LL slide or attempt to go around).

And in LL (and should be in OBR) this play would be obstruction as it caused the runner to alter his approach. There is no "allow access" provision in either LL or OBR.  LL does not have the "act of fielding" in its rule.

There in no MC rule in LL.

The OBR play at the plate rule is extensive and can be found starting on page 70 of the pdf version of OBR.

 

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1 hour ago, SeanColorado said:

The runner did actively try to avoid contact. They were by far the smaller of the players and lost the collision as far as impact goes. 

Still, the collision was entirely avoidable if he slid. When a runner slides, he has done the most he can do to avoid contact. If he chooses not to slide, then the runner does not get the benefit of the doubt as to whether his attempt to avoid contact was sufficient (even if he is the smaller of the two colliding). 

 

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1 hour ago, ricka56 said:

Still, the collision was entirely avoidable if he slid. When a runner slides, he has done the most he can do to avoid contact. If he chooses not to slide, then the runner does not get the benefit of the doubt as to whether his attempt to avoid contact was sufficient (even if he is the smaller of the two colliding). 

 

So what? In LL it's an OR issue. Slide is not required. As long as the runner meets the requirement  of  "slide or attempt to go around"  then he cannot be "punished". There is no "sufficient" in the rule. All that is required is an attempt.

In other rules it is often slide or attempt to avoid contact. I have also never seen in anyone else's rule that says you can judge whether or not the attempt was sufficient . Made an attempt = not guilty.

And in LL the fielder cannot be there until he actually has the ball in his possession.

And why is the onus on the runner? A smart catcher could step into the path to create contact i you always blame the runner. 

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6 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

So what? In LL it's an OR issue. Slide is not required. As long as the runner meets the requirement  of  "slide or attempt to go around"  then he cannot be "punished". There is no "sufficient" in the rule. All that is required is an attempt.

In other rules it is often slide or attempt to avoid contact. I have also never seen in anyone else's rule that says you can judge whether or not the attempt was sufficient . Made an attempt = not guilty. If umpire judged an attempt was made, then there was sufficient evidence of that attempt.

And in LL the fielder cannot be there until he actually has the ball in his possession. But still the runner has to sufficiently demonstrate an attempt to avoid a collision.

And why is the onus on the runner? A smart catcher could step into the path to create contact i you always blame the runner. FAQ you, you don't know anything about what I would/wouldn't do in a collision sitch. Everyone of them is different. 

Judging intent is not easy. All you usually only get are subtle pieces of evidence happening instantaneously, one way and the other. The umpire has to judge whether there was sufficient evidence that the runner attempted to avoid the contact to absolve him of the penalty. 99% hazardous and 1% attempt to avoid is too low an effort for me to even notice, let alone absolve a runner. And I've had the fielder 99% hazardous, where I ruled in the runner's favor.

And you ignored the key phrase in the point that I was making. If there is a doubt about whether the runner complied with the slide/attempt to avoid rule, and the runner choose not to slide (when sliding would have had eliminated the need for judgement), then the runner is most likely not getting the benefit of that doubt.

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Generally a wild pitch leads to the pitcher and runner getting to the plate around the same time. I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where the pitcher is already posted up straddling the plate enough time ahead of the runner to say the runner had a chance to avoid. For me I only call INT or MC if the runner has plenty of time to see and react and does not. Also runners seldom choose to face plant into a fielder, so if the runner takes the worst of the collision (doesn't lower a shoulder or try and blow through the fielder) I am even less inclined to call INT/MC because I'm assuming he didn't have time to react. 

Thoughts?

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In my scenario, the pitcher was there before the runner about 1-2 seconds before ball arrival.  In my opinion the runner did attempt to avoid contact with the pitcher (head and should duck away from the pitcher's arms.  The legs collided, which was pretty unavoidable given the set up of the pitcher.  The runner did not slow down and was able to get a foot on the plate before the collision...call it a fearless runner.  In this case I felt it wasn't runner interference.

Agreed the slide makes this whole situation easy.  

13 hours ago, Rich Ives said:

And why is the onus on the runner? A smart catcher could step into the path to create contact if you always blame the runner. 

IMO, this is the central issue here, but replace pitcher with catcher.  The pitcher knows they have the size advantage, and set up over the plate.  The rule comment is: A catcher shall not be deemed to have violated Rule 6.01(i)(2) unless he has both blocked the plate without possession the ball, and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score.

Straddling the plate making a collision without a slide unavoidable...is that hindering or impeding?  

 

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42 minutes ago, SeanColorado said:

In my scenario, the pitcher was there before the runner about 1-2 seconds before ball arrival.  In my opinion the runner did attempt to avoid contact with the pitcher (head and should duck away from the pitcher's arms.  The legs collided, which was pretty unavoidable given the set up of the pitcher.  The runner did not slow down and was able to get a foot on the plate before the collision...call it a fearless runner.  In this case I felt it wasn't runner interference.

Agreed the slide makes this whole situation easy.  

IMO, this is the central issue here, but replace pitcher with catcher.  The pitcher knows they have the size advantage, and set up over the plate.  The rule comment is: A catcher shall not be deemed to have violated Rule 6.01(i)(2) unless he has both blocked the plate without possession the ball, and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score.

Straddling the plate making a collision without a slide unavoidable...is that hindering or impeding?  

 

Watch the runner. Does he have to alter his approach?

 

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1 hour ago, SeanColorado said:

In my scenario, the pitcher was there before the runner about 1-2 seconds before ball arrival.  In my opinion the runner did attempt to avoid contact with the pitcher (head and should duck away from the pitcher's arms.  The legs collided, which was pretty unavoidable given the set up of the pitcher.  The runner did not slow down and was able to get a foot on the plate before the collision...call it a fearless runner.  In this case I felt it wasn't runner interference.

Agreed the slide makes this whole situation easy.  

IMO, this is the central issue here, but replace pitcher with catcher.  The pitcher knows they have the size advantage, and set up over the plate.  The rule comment is: A catcher shall not be deemed to have violated Rule 6.01(i)(2) unless he has both blocked the plate without possession the ball, and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score.

Straddling the plate making a collision without a slide unavoidable...is that hindering or impeding?  

I'll take your word that the pitcher set up 1-2 seconds before that ball arrived. But that isn't the significant time frame that we need to know about. Before the runner gets in the vicinity of HP,  the pitcher can be anywhere he wants. The time at which the runner had to choose his final path to HP, is the pertinent moment used to judge obstruction. 

If the runner had to altered his path because of the pitcher without the ball, then obstruction is the call.
If the runner had to altered his path because of the pitcher with the ball, then there is no obstruction.  

This is always a tough call for an umpire to make. The offense and the defense will almost always see it oppositely. If there is obstruction, that benefit of doubt about the attempt to avoid contact may go to the runner. No obstruction, that benefit of the doubt most likely goes to the fielder.

Even when the umpire understands how to properly officiate such a play, this is often a call that could go either way. A pure judgement call. And many umpire err on the side of caution and rule interference on the runner, in part to nip in the bud any thought of retaliation by the defense. Not that that's the right thing to do, but sometimes that's in the back of an umpire's head.
 

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1 hour ago, Rich Ives said:

Watch the runner. Does he have to alter his approach?

 

To touch the plate, no, I would say he did not have to alter his approach.  To avoid contact, yes, he would need to.

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42 minutes ago, SeanColorado said:

To touch the plate, no, I would say he did not have to alter his approach.  To avoid contact, yes, he would need to.

If the pitcher is straddling or standing upon the plate, even with access to the plate available, it is to cause (or going to cause) the Runner to slow down or slide (which would also slow him down). We see this happen over at 1B in 12U baseball... this big, husky F3 will stand on top of or just plate-ward of 1B so that the BR can’t sprint at full speed through the bag. It’s quite intimidating to have a bigger kid than you in your path – whether legal or not – when “avoid all contact” has been drilled into you by all adults, including your mother!

At those young age levels, malice rarely is the motivator, so if the pitcher covering for an errant pitch of his dashes in to stand astride or atop the plate, I would lean more in the direction of obstruction. 

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On 7/19/2018 at 3:03 PM, MadMax said:

If the pitcher is straddling or standing upon the plate, even with access to the plate available, it is to cause (or going to cause) the Runner to slow down or slide (which would also slow him down). We see this happen over at 1B in 12U baseball... this big, husky F3 will stand on top of or just plate-ward of 1B so that the BR can’t sprint at full speed through the bag. It’s quite intimidating to have a bigger kid than you in your path – whether legal or not – when “avoid all contact” has been drilled into you by all adults, including your mother!

At those young age levels, malice rarely is the motivator, so if the pitcher covering for an errant pitch of his dashes in to stand astride or atop the plate, I would lean more in the direction of obstruction. 

The pitcher is afforded the same latitude as a catcher in terms of where he can/cannot be when covering home plate. If he's moving in to receive the throw there's a very low chance he's actually committed obstruction. Barring something like intentionally standing/kneeling/laying down directly between the runner and home plate, he's permitted to move into position to receive the throw. I'd say this is a situation where obstruction should be called sparingly. 

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On 7/21/2018 at 1:06 AM, Stk004 said:

The pitcher is afforded the same latitude as a catcher in terms of where he can/cannot be when covering home plate. If he's moving in to receive the throw there's a very low chance he's actually committed obstruction. Barring something like intentionally standing/kneeling/laying down directly between the runner and home plate, he's permitted to move into position to receive the throw. I'd say this is a situation where obstruction should be called sparingly. 

In LL this would not be correct. There is no 'in the act of' provision so the question is pretty simple.

Did the defensive player have the ball or did he not? If he did, then he can be anywhere he wants to be. If he did not, and his act of being on the plate, in front of the plate (towards the 3rd base side), etc caused the runner to deviate, alter course, slow down etc, then you have OBS.

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33 minutes ago, Mudisfun said:

In LL this would not be correct. There is no 'in the act of' provision so the question is pretty simple.

Did the defensive player have the ball or did he not? If he did, then he can be anywhere he wants to be. If he did not, and his act of being on the plate, in front of the plate (towards the 3rd base side), etc caused the runner to deviate, alter course, slow down etc, then you have OBS.

Interesting that LL omits this part of the rule, given that they're primarily OBR based. 

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1 hour ago, Mudisfun said:

In LL this would not be correct. There is no 'in the act of' provision so the question is pretty simple.

Did the defensive player have the ball or did he not? If he did, then he can be anywhere he wants to be. If he did not, and his act of being on the plate, in front of the plate (towards the 3rd base side), etc caused the runner to deviate, alter course, slow down etc, then you have OBS.

If he is straddling the plate...leaving a clear path to the plate, just not through the plate...is it OBS?  In principle, straddling the plate would be no different that standing on the opposite side of the plate...neither scenario allows the runner to run full speed through the plate, and the runner must deviate or slow down as a result of the fielder being there...typically, slide.

I'm thinking it's going to be the same principle at first base as well - whether the fielder, without the ball, needs to give the runner access to the base, or beyond the base in an overrun scenario.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mudisfun said:

In LL... there is no 'in the act of' provision so the question is pretty simple.

 

1 hour ago, Stk004 said:

Interesting that LL omits this part of the rule, given that they're primarily OBR based. 

This omission is the source of a myth oft-espoused at LL and similar age-level tournaments. “He has a right to the basepath!” and “Well, he ran straight to the base!” when we assess Interference (against a Runner). Because kids have little idea on where or how to stand to “field their position”, when the ball is put or thrown into play, they often revert to standing on or in front of the bag nearest to them, awaiting a throw that may or may not ever come (or, in the act of fielding).

Think I’m exaggerating? Watch a 10 or 11 year old F5 take a throw from F2 on a steal by R2, or a R1 advancing after a throw gets away from F4/6. I’ve lost count of the F5’s who stand atop 3B and receive the throw, only to not even attempt a tag, thinking that what they just did is catch a force out.

Equally so, we frequently get inquiries about “Isn’t that Interference?” when the arrival of a Runner to a base affects the receiving of the throw (mishandled ball, dropped ball, blocked glove, ball hitting Runner), because the false implication that the fielder is “in the act of fielding”.

Best to leave that out, and that coaches at those youth levels start teaching kids how to field their position properly.

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On 7/23/2018 at 4:15 PM, MadMax said:

Think I’m exaggerating? Watch a 10 or 11 year old F5 take a throw from F2 on a steal by R2, or a R1 advancing after a throw gets away from F4/6. I’ve lost count of the F5’s who stand atop 3B and receive the throw, only to not even attempt a tag, thinking that what they just did is catch a force out.

Not only that...whether it's a first base where it would be proper to touch the bag, or third base on a steal, those youngsters will do everything humanly possible to stay in contact with the base while trying to catch a ball that is literally 15 feet to their left.  They won't leave the base to go get the ball.

I used a little alphabetical approach to help the kids - the ABC's.

A - Alligator - if there's an alligator on the field, leave

B - Ball - play the ball first..always

B - Base - if someone else gets the ball, go to a base

C - Cover - if you don't have a ball or base, then you can cover a throw

C - Cutoff - if someone has the ball, everyone has a base, and the throw is covered, get ready for a cutoff

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