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Guest Gavin

Boston at LA World Series game 3

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Guest Gavin

I have a question regarding obstruction at home plate.  I am rooting for neither team in this World Series but I did notice a similarity in the play at the plate in game 3 ... top of the 10th inning during the World Series last night.  On July 31,2014 Stanton made a throw to home which was called as out but was later overturned due to obstruction.  When I saw bellinger’s throw last night the plays were similar but the catcher was definetly in the lane and made no attempt to remove himself from it. So my question is what makes the 10/26/18 top of the 10th play at the plate an out vs the 7/31/14 obstruction call?

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6 hours ago, Guest Gavin said:

I have a question regarding obstruction at home plate.  I am rooting for neither team in this World Series but I did notice a similarity in the play at the plate in game 3 ... top of the 10th inning during the World Series last night.  On July 31,2014 Stanton made a throw to home which was called as out but was later overturned due to obstruction.  When I saw bellinger’s throw last night the plays were similar but the catcher was definetly in the lane and made no attempt to remove himself from it. So my question is what makes the 10/26/18 top of the 10th play at the plate an out vs the 7/31/14 obstruction call?

Because last night F2 wasn't in the runner's path until after he received the ball.

 

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Guest Gavin

Is that an individual judgment call?  The reason I ask is becuase I coach my sons pony team and we may be moving into a travel ball situation in the next year or so.  I have seen numerous plays that have either helped me understand why or argue certain situations.  In my personal opinion  the runner from last nights game had to detour out of the running lane just as the video from 14 shows.  Although both clearly were beat I Personally didn’t see much different in change from prior to and post receiving the ball.  If anything the 2014 video shows more of an attempt to catch the ball outside the lane.  

 

So I guess what I’m asking is 

Is there a definitive black and white area or is this strictly gray and discretionary? 

Thanks for your previous reply

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In an article written by Gil Imber of Close Call Sports in June 2017, he analyzes this kind of play. All of the following is from his analysis--

To review:
> If the catcher left a pathway for the runner to score to his side (the runner's left), then the catcher has complied with the plate-blocking rule and is not guilty of obstruction.
> If the catcher, in the umpire's judgment, blocked the runner's path by occupying his position because he needed to do so in order to field the throw, this is not obstruction.
> If the runner would have been out whether or not the catcher blocked him, this is not obstruction.
> If the catcher assumed "act of fielding" status prior to the runner's final few steps, this is not OBS.
> If any of these aforementioned criteria are not fulfilled, then this is obstruction.

One final note (NCAA vs OBR): In college, the catcher may only legally block the runner's access to home plate if "he must occupy his position to receive the ball." In professional baseball, the catcher may legally block the runner if he is otherwise making "a legitimate attempt to field the throw." Thus, the legality standard is higher in NCAA than in OBR, for in NCAA, the catcher is only legal if he must occupy his position whereas in OBR, the catcher is legal as long as he makes a "legitimate attempt" to field the throw.

Where's NFHS? High school is simple. NFHS Rule 2-22-3 states it is obstruction if, "The fielder without possession of the ball denies access to the base the runner is attempting to achieve." Thus, under NFHS, the catcher would be guilty of obstruction because he denied access to home plate prior to gaining possession of the ball. There is no "act of fielding" exemption at this level of play.

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Gavin, you’re right about the Stanton play that happened on July 31, 2014, in a game between the Marlins and Reds. The on-field call was overturned upon review. But the reaction to that was so strong that just 10 days later MLB issued a clarification that seems to admit that the overturned call should not have been made.

9-10-14 The Associated Press.  NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball sent a memo to teams and umpires clarifying this year’s experimental rule intended to limit collisions at home plate, saying runners should not be called safe if the ball clearly beats them.

The rule, announced in February, says a catcher can’t block the plate if he doesn’t have the ball. There have been several disputed calls, including a pair of decisions in the last 5 1/2 weeks that led to runners being called safe after video review.

The guidelines sent to teams Tuesday say the catcher’s positioning shouldn’t change the call when the throw clearly arrives ahead of the runner. They also say if the catcher is entirely in fair territory, he should not be considered to have blocked the plate. Photo examples were included.

 

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