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F6 blocking R2's view of the pitcher, and bag blocking on pickoffs


JimSmith25
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     I'm still learning the rules on more specific things even though I've studied up and have been doing this for 7 years. On the first situation:

     

     F6 comes from behind R2 and attempts to block his view of the pitcher as the pitcher makes his motion towards second base (trying to give him that extra half second to get the runner out). Coaches want to argue that this is obstruction, even though no contact with R2 and F6 was made. 

 

Situation 2:

 

     Pickoff to first base. While the ball is in the air, traveling towards the bag F3 drops a knee and blocks the entirety of the base facing the runner, catches the ball, and tags the runner out. (I've had quite a few arguments with fellow umpires with this one. Some agreeing and some disagreeing that a part of the bag needs to be reachable.)

 

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Do you need to have physical contact to have obstruction?

 

What rule set are you playing under? That will make a difference in some cases.

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If you're using high school rules, the first one is easy - it's explicitly called obstruction. They use that very example as one of a play they want to have called obstruction.

As to the second...well, not quite as clear cut. Depends on the rule set, is the fielder in the act of receiving the throw, etc. Again, if using high school rules, it's more straightforward - the fielder, unless he/she already has the ball (not about to get the ball, but actually has it), must give at least some access to the base. Not the full base, just some reasonable access.

Have the ball? Block all you want.

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This was a good argument a few weeks ago at Gameday!

 

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.
Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered in the act of fielding a ball. It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball.

 

In the first, IMO if the fielder does not have to occupy that position to recieve the ball and his blocking of the runner's view impedes the runner's progress back to the base, then I have Obstruction.

 

In the 2nd, IMO I think this one is more difficult to call in OBR and I probably won't call because of the bolded part, but if it obvious that he doesn't have to occupy that position to receive the ball, then you could obstruction on your judgement.

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These questions are exactly why NCAA,LL and FED changed their obstruction rules/ 

Sitch one is obstructions in all codes. 

Sitch two is more controversial but it depends on what happens. Throw to first is low, then going down and blocking to catch the ball, perfectly legal. Chest high and he is in the way, perfectly legal. He drops his leg in front of first but catches the ball high, obstruction. type A, send the runner to second. 

The problem is too many don't understand obstruction and considers almost everything as "in the act." Or, they don't want to make waves and justify it.Same way at the plate, guys were allowing just about anything in the name of "in the act." 

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I'm having a hard time seeing situation 1 as obstruction. He is not IMO hindering his progress back to 2B if the pitcher makes a move, he is blocking his view but the runner can move as well to re-establish his line of vision. He also is supposed to have base coaches to help.

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I'm having a hard time seeing situation 1 as obstruction. He is not IMO hindering his progress back to 2B if the pitcher makes a move, he is blocking his view but the runner can move as well to re-establish his line of vision. He also is supposed to have base coaches to help.

The runner should never have to move because of a nonprotected fielder.  If the runner would be at the bag a half second sooner because of the actions of this fielder (possibly being out now on a pickoff) how is that not hindering the runner?

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This is from the book, You're the Umpire by Wayne Stewart

 

On August 6, 2004, in the last half of the tenth inning of a 1-1 contest. speedy Carl Crawford was the runner on third in a bases loaded situation for Tampa Bay.  Tino Martinez lifted a fly ball to left field, apparently deep enough to score Crawford, who then edged back toward thrid base to tag up.  Meanwhile, the Mariner's shortstop, Jose Lopez, believing he had nothing to lose, intentionally placed himself where he would screen Crawford's view of Raul Ibanez's imminent catch.  If Crawfor's tagging up from third was delayed a second or so by his impaired vision, Lopez calculated, perhaps he would either hold up or be shot down at the plate.  Is this ploy a legal one?

 

Answer: The move by Lopez certainly was not kosher.  It was a case of Obstruction.  Lopez was charged with an error, Crawford was awarded home, and the game ended with a Tampa Bay victory.

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These questions are exactly why NCAA,LL and FED changed their obstruction rules/ 

Sitch one is obstructions in all codes. 

Sitch two is more controversial but it depends on what happens. Throw to first is low, then going down and blocking to catch the ball, perfectly legal. Chest high and he is in the way, perfectly legal. He drops his leg in front of first but catches the ball high, obstruction. type A, send the runner to second.

The problem is too many don't understand obstruction and considers almost everything as "in the act." Or, they don't want to make waves and justify it.Same way at the plate, guys were allowing just about anything in the name of "in the act." 

 

See the bolded part.....its type A but he's trying to get back to 1B, why would you send the runner to 2nd and not keep him at first?

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These questions are exactly why NCAA,LL and FED changed their obstruction rules/ 

Sitch one is obstructions in all codes. 

Sitch two is more controversial but it depends on what happens. Throw to first is low, then going down and blocking to catch the ball, perfectly legal. Chest high and he is in the way, perfectly legal. He drops his leg in front of first but catches the ball high, obstruction. type A, send the runner to second.

The problem is too many don't understand obstruction and considers almost everything as "in the act." Or, they don't want to make waves and justify it.Same way at the plate, guys were allowing just about anything in the name of "in the act." 

 

See the bolded part.....its type A but he's trying to get back to 1B, why would you send the runner to 2nd and not keep him at first?

 

 

because type a in obr (and any obs in fed) requires an award minimum of 1 base past the last legally acquired base

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A runner has his distance that he is comfortable with, by standing in front of him it could slow his reaction time, or if he moves it could make him farther away or learning the wrong way. There is case play for that. Being in front is fine until there is a play.

Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2

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Well I'm certainly getting Obstruction on both it would seem. I've been told by more senior umpires that I work with that it's not, and perfectly legal. Got shot down for even suggesting it. 


For situation 1 anyway

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If somebody has a MLBUM there is a caseplay except I believe it was at first. 

MLBUM has it as #43(12), with R1, F3 "jockeys back and forth in front of the runner" and in the umpire's judgment, this is an intentional act meant to "block the runner's view of the pitcher." The ruling is such activity is illegal, not within the spirit of the rules and should merit a warning to stop. If F3 doesn't stop, he may be ejected. However, this case assumes no play is actually going to be made on the runner in the immediate future.

 

MLBUM #43(11) is with R3, fly ball to right field, F5 approaches the runner, faces him and "jockeys back and forth, intentionally trying to block the runner's view of the fielder catching the ball." This is to be ruled obstruction B and if umpires believe R3 would score on a sac fly, award home.

 

So for situation 1, under OBR, it's absolutely illegal—because MLB specifically wrote "it is illegal"—and if you have OBS in that situation and you believe the OBS occurred prior to the pick-off action, you can rule OBS B. Otherwise, you can rule OBS A and award third.

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Even if he positions himself in front of the runner I don't think that, in and of itself, is OBS. The fielder by rule can position himself anywhere he wants (fair territory). Now if he's moving and it's obvious what he's doing then yes. I guess I had a different picture in my mind with the OP.

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