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Mister B

Youth coaches

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Had a couple this week that just have me scratching my head, it's like they read the rulebook, but then don't exactly know how to apply it. 

I'm U1, pick thrown from F1, runner dives back, safe. 1B Coach looks at me and says, "He's blocking the base, he's got to give him a clear path to get back!" "Coach, he was safe." Batter gets a hit and makes it to 1B. Back pick from F2, runner is back safe again. "He's blocking the base again! He can't do that!" "Coach, he was safe again." "Yeah, but he can't block the base." "Coach, I suggest arguing calls that aren't in your favor." 

I PU, R2 stealing third, runner slides way early and never makes it to the base, easily tagged out. Defensive HC asked for time and says, "That was Batter Interference!" It took me a minute to figure out what he was asking for. I look straight at him and said, "He was out." "Yeah, but it was batter interference." SMH. 

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You can have obstruction even if he’s safe. I had this exact call a few weeks ago at 1st on a pick off. Guy dove back, hit 1b leg, kind of swam around to get his arm in. Sure he’s safe, but that’s no reason to ignore the obstruction. Plus the obstruction gives him 2nd, so it’s not irrelevant just because he’s safe. 

On BI, call it when you have it. If he’s out at third it’s ignored, but you don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the throw. Call it if it’s there, then you can figure out what happens. If he was safe, you’d have a hard time selling BI if you didn’t say anything until you saw he was out. 

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My question is: did you see what the coach meant by "blocking the base?"

Summer leagues don't all play by FED rules, but the FED guidance on OBS is useful in other amateur games: the fielder cannot "deny the runner access to the base."

'Deny access' means completely block all paths between the runner's position and the base. A fielder standing up having a leg between the runner and the base is NOT denying that runner access.

Also: denying the runner his preferred route to the base is not OBS in that code, provided he has some route to the base.

Runners sometimes take the "shortest" path back to the base and find a leg there. I'm not bailing out bad baserunning with an OBS in those cases.

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Sure, but giving the runner an inch on one side of the base is not “giving him access”. I’m not protecting the defense if they are blocking most of the base without the ball. If the guy’s leg and foot is centering the base and he doesn’t have the ball, that’s obstruction. The defense isn’t the one that deserves the benefit of the doubt here. 

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3 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

Sure, but giving the runner an inch on one side of the base is not “giving him access”. I’m not protecting the defense if they are blocking most of the base without the ball. If the guy’s leg and foot is centering the base and he doesn’t have the ball, that’s obstruction. The defense isn’t the one that deserves the benefit of the doubt here. 

Good luck with that.

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3 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

Good luck never calling obstruction. 

Know the rule. know the spirit of the rule, and know how to apply it.

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On 7/6/2019 at 6:13 AM, maven said:

My question is: did you see what the coach meant by "blocking the base?"

The fielder had his foot blocking the front half of the base. There was more than enough room to get back. One of the runners got back standing up. No fancy swim move needed. 

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@Mister B, after reading your two stories, there might be something else you’re contending with – a sense of vindication. If you’re doing amateur-youth baseball (< 18 yr old), there’s a likelihood that those coaches / teams had those exact calls called against them. Their F3 was called for Obstruction in a previous game, and their own Batter was called out for BI just last week. Know what’s scarier, that BI was called, and that crew (erroneously) called the Batter out, but also let the out stand on the CS as well!

Misapplication of the Rules, whether that be by naivety or ignorance, spreads like a virus.

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