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Defensive interference


Guest Astevenson

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Guest Astevenson

We had a runner hit a ball into the outfield and ended up with an in the park homerun. As he rounded first he was interfered with by first basemen who was in the baseline but ran around him and play continued, no umpire time was called. After he touched home and headed to the dugout, umpire called interference on first basemen and returned runner to 2nd. This seems very off, what is the correct call in this situation?

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23 minutes ago, Guest Astevenson said:

We had a runner hit a ball into the outfield and ended up with an in the park homerun. As he rounded first he was interfered with by first basemen who was in the baseline but ran around him and play continued, no umpire time was called. After he touched home and headed to the dugout, umpire called interference on first basemen and returned runner to 2nd. This seems very off, what is the correct call in this situation?

The correct call in any code, is obstruction not interference. So you did not have an umpire, you had a guy wearing an umpire uniform. The run should have scored as the obstruction did not affect the advance of the runner. Did anyone protest or talk to the umpire about his ruling?

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The ball remains live after the umpire calls OBS, and it does so precisely for cases such as yours. The rule aims not to give the defense any advantage for their infraction, so runners are allowed to keep running.

The penalty is to award bases as needed to nullify the act of OBS. So the umpire must judge where the runner would have reached without the hindrance. In your play, the runner scored, so no award would be indicated to nullify the OBS (how much farther can he go?).

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This is an interesting post…on one hand, many brand new umpires have a lot to learn with rules and such, and often learn best (long term) by making mistakes.  But generally brand new umpires don’t even know to look for OBS/INT, especially if they are solo.

I am trying to think like a new umpire, he sees the obstruction, waits, sees the runner score, and then decides to put runner back two bases bc of something wrong the defense did?  That makes no sense.  Even if he doesn’t know the rule and thought it was a 2-base situation, that’s a situation where common sense says “I saw it but I’m not gonna call it bc that would punish the batter, so I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see it”

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59 minutes ago, SH0102 said:

This is an interesting post…on one hand, many brand new umpires have a lot to learn with rules and such, and often learn best (long term) by making mistakes.  But generally brand new umpires don’t even know to look for OBS/INT, especially if they are solo.

I am trying to think like a new umpire, he sees the obstruction, waits, sees the runner score, and then decides to put runner back two bases bc of something wrong the defense did?  That makes no sense.  Even if he doesn’t know the rule and thought it was a 2-base situation, that’s a situation where common sense says “I saw it but I’m not gonna call it bc that would punish the batter, so I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see it”

the sad thing is ....  who said the 'umpire' in this game from the OP was new??? :rolleyes:

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11 hours ago, Guest Astevenson said:

We had a runner hit a ball into the outfield and ended up with an in the park homerun. As he rounded first he was interfered with by first basemen who was in the baseline but ran around him and play continued, no umpire time was called. After he touched home and headed to the dugout, umpire called interference on first basemen and returned runner to 2nd. This seems very off, what is the correct call in this situation?

I have INT! J/K

What level was this?  I have heard of rules at lower levels where if the ball rolls through the infield they can only achieve a certain base because of throwing errs.  

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11 hours ago, Guest Astevenson said:

We had a runner hit a ball into the outfield and ended up with an in the park homerun. As he rounded first he was interfered with by first basemen who was in the baseline but ran around him and play continued, no umpire time was called. After he touched home and headed to the dugout, umpire called interference on first basemen and returned runner to 2nd. This seems very off, what is the correct call in this situation?

If that were the rule, the defense would always get in the runner's way on (almost) any ball to the fence.

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4 hours ago, Thunderheads said:

the sad thing is ....  who said the 'umpire' in this game from the OP was new??? :rolleyes:

Trying to look through rose colored glasses :)  If this umpire was working solo and actually looks for OBS/INT, it is possible he isn't that new, you are correct, b/c most new umpires have too much going on in their heads to think about something so "obscure" (not ball/strike/safe/out)

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14 minutes ago, SH0102 said:

Trying to look through rose colored glasses :)  If this umpire was working solo and actually looks for OBS/INT, it is possible he isn't that new, you are correct, b/c most new umpires have too much going on in their heads to think about something so "obscure" (not ball/strike/safe/out)

my ENTIRE concern is the horrific mis-application of the rule .... and that it could have been done by someone who has enough experience to 'know better' :no: 

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With the shortage, many new guys are having to work solo. When they miss something like this, they get berated by the fans and coaches, and basically don't want to umpire any more, because they aren't aware of the rules. They don't know the rules because they never had a mentor to tell them to "...read the rulebook before you go to bed, it will help you fall asleep." 

I've got a couple years under my belt and I still appreciate the post games and the critiques that I get. But those 2-man games aren't happening much any more. And I'm still working on trying to glance at the runners while I'm tracking the ball. It's also hard to work on 2-man mechanics when 95% of your games are solo. 

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1 hour ago, Mister B said:

With the shortage, many new guys are having to work solo. When they miss something like this, they get berated by the fans and coaches, and basically don't want to umpire any more, because they aren't aware of the rules. They don't know the rules because they never had a mentor to tell them to "...read the rulebook before you go to bed, it will help you fall asleep." 

I've got a couple years under my belt and I still appreciate the post games and the critiques that I get. But those 2-man games aren't happening much any more. And I'm still working on trying to glance at the runners while I'm tracking the ball. It's also hard to work on 2-man mechanics when 95% of your games are solo. 

You aren’t wrong B.  I’d just caution that every system has holes, and one-man is giving up touches and OBS and such whenever the ball is in flight.  Never look away from Fair/Foul/Catch/No-Catch in order to grab a touch of a bag.

once ball is down, you can snag a glance, and if he’s already around first, so be it.  

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1 hour ago, Mister B said:

With the shortage, many new guys are having to work solo. When they miss something like this, they get berated by the fans and coaches, and basically don't want to umpire any more, because they aren't aware of the rules.

That's on the coaches...they need to keep their parents in check...and learn what a solo ump can and can't do.  And, many honestly don't realize it until it's pointed out.   TBH, I was expecting umpires to be super human (it was, in its own weird way, a compliment and a sign of reverence)...and then, the simplest of things, at a plate meeting, at community level, the guy just said "I'm working alone here, so I'm not going to see everything...keep that in mind please"...and a switched flipped in my little brain.

Now, having said that, I will say that I find a lot of solo umps, experienced or not, develop tunnel vision, and don't see the periphery.  Maybe it's because some are used to working in multi-ump crews?  Don't know.    Or maybe that's what you're all supposed to do??   So, solo umps certainly can't have eyes on the back of their head...and even head on a swivel I think is too much to ask (though hockey refs learn this one pretty quick)...but they should be able to see a range outside of what they're directly looking at.

I'll give one example...modified fastpitch, runners can't leave until the pitch crosses the plate...I'm F2, and ump is solo...I receive a pitch and I can see that R1 has left early (also, RHB, to make it really obvious)...I even say "left early" while the pitch is on the way...by the time I receive the pitch he's 3/4 way there and am unsuccessful throwing him out.   I said to ump "he has to wait until it's over the plate"...thinking maybe he's mixing up leagues and he's thinking it was "left the pitcher's hand"...ump says "what do you want me to do?  I'm looking at the pitch, not the runner".   I said "I'm looking at the same pitch...if I can see the runner leave you can see the runner leave".    

Now, maybe that expectation is wrong?   I'm here, as always, to learn.

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40 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:

That's on the coaches...they need to keep their parents in check...and learn what a solo ump can and can't do.  And, many honestly don't realize it until it's pointed out.   TBH, I was expecting umpires to be super human (it was, in its own weird way, a compliment and a sign of reverence)...and then, the simplest of things, at a plate meeting, at community level, the guy just said "I'm working alone here, so I'm not going to see everything...keep that in mind please"...and a switched flipped in my little brain.

Now, having said that, I will say that I find a lot of solo umps, experienced or not, develop tunnel vision, and don't see the periphery.  Maybe it's because some are used to working in multi-ump crews?  Don't know.    Or maybe that's what you're all supposed to do??   So, solo umps certainly can't have eyes on the back of their head...and even head on a swivel I think is too much to ask (though hockey refs learn this one pretty quick)...but they should be able to see a range outside of what they're directly looking at.

I'll give one example...modified fastpitch, runners can't leave until the pitch crosses the plate...I'm F2, and ump is solo...I receive a pitch and I can see that R1 has left early (also, RHB, to make it really obvious)...I even say "left early" while the pitch is on the way...by the time I receive the pitch he's 3/4 way there and am unsuccessful throwing him out.   I said to ump "he has to wait until it's over the plate"...thinking maybe he's mixing up leagues and he's thinking it was "left the pitcher's hand"...ump says "what do you want me to do?  I'm looking at the pitch, not the runner".   I said "I'm looking at the same pitch...if I can see the runner leave you can see the runner leave".    

Now, maybe that expectation is wrong?   I'm here, as always, to learn.

As I kind of eluded to Beerguy, newer umps prob have some tunnel vision bc they are so preoccupied with balls and strikes, safes and outs, that seeing things INT/OBS, missed bases, illegal slides, leaving early, is overwhelming, bc as you stated, it requires a calm, a sense of all your surroundings and what can happen and what to watch for (and yes, focus on when solo since you can’t see everything).

the ump in your case example should have just said something like “I have to be 100% sure to make that call, and while they may have left early, due to being solo I can’t make that my primary focus and I’m not for-sure”.

better than just saying “there’s no way”.

when I do solo games on 90’ fields, I can get everything, touches, tag ups, int/Obs on any ball that doesn’t require a long fly where I can’t leave catch until batter has just passed first, but the two calls that are nearly impossible are steals of second  bc I’ve got pitch, swing/check swing, batter INT to watch and the play is 127’ feet away.  I can get one or two steps.  The other is catcher backpacks to third.  Runner is diving in a straight line away from me, again I have pitch and possible INT, and catcher is coming across me so I can’t clear him except to go towards first , again, maybe a step or two.

I suppose every area is different but while leagues are always short around here, the leagues that are willing to pay 2 umpires usually get them, bc everyone wants to make same money for two man as they do solo.  Around here solo pays $60 and two-man pays 50-55, no brainer.

So with I’m sure a few exceptions, I don’t blame solo games on shortage much, it’s on league/teams what they are willing to pay

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2 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

That's on the coaches...they need to read the rule book also. keep their parents in check...and learn what a solo ump can and can't do.  And, many honestly don't realize it until it's pointed out.   TBH, I was expecting umpires to be super human (it was, in its own weird way, a compliment and a sign of reverence)...and then, the simplest of things, at a plate meeting, at community level, the guy just said "I'm working alone here, so I'm not going to see everything...keep that in mind please"...and a switched flipped in my little brain.

Now, having said that, I will say that I find a lot of solo umps, experienced or not, develop tunnel vision, and don't see the periphery.  Maybe it's because some are used to working in multi-ump crews?  Don't know.    Or maybe that's what you're all supposed to do??   So, solo umps certainly can't have eyes on the back of their head...and even head on a swivel I think is too much to ask (though hockey refs learn this one pretty quick)...but they should be able to see a range outside of what they're directly looking at.

I'll give one example...modified fastpitch, runners can't leave until the pitch crosses the plate...I'm F2, and ump is solo...I receive a pitch and I can see that R1 has left early (also, RHB, to make it really obvious)...I even say "left early" while the pitch is on the way...by the time I receive the pitch he's 3/4 way there and am unsuccessful throwing him out.   I said to ump "he has to wait until it's over the plate"...thinking maybe he's mixing up leagues and he's thinking it was "left the pitcher's hand"...ump says "what do you want me to do?  I'm looking at the pitch, not the runner".   I said "I'm looking at the same pitch...if I can see the runner leave you can see the runner leave".    

Now, maybe that expectation is wrong?   I'm here, as always, to learn.

It never cease to amaze me how few participants actually read any rules book. Not knowing the nuances of the three major codes is a reasonable limitations, but the basics like obstruction, interference, base awards, and the like ought to be something everyone should learn.

The OP admits to not knowing. Even such a egregious misapplication of common sense, let alone a rule, usually fails to inspire the aggrieved to read a rules book.

 

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Here in Oregon, most associations pay the same for plate and bases. There is usually a $5 difference between 1-man and 2-man. I'd happily give up the $5 to have another set of eyes on the field. Most of the guys who worked solo JV games, said the same. 

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The "Guest" asked how to handle this in the future"?

First, you and your manager need to know the rules (study the rulebook).

Second, if/when an umpire makes a ruling you believe is incorrect your manager requests Time from the Umpire.  Once Time is granted your manager explains to the umpire what he believes is incorrect in the umpires ruling.  If the manager does not agree with the umpire then he/she should Protest.

Obviously that was not done in this case even though the ruling by the umpire was incorrect.

Hopefully the incorrect ruling did not affect the outcome of the game.

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19 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

It never cease to amaze me how few participants actually read any rules book. Not knowing the nuances of the three major codes is a reasonable limitations, but the basics like obstruction, interference, base awards, and the like ought to be something everyone should learn.

The OP admits to not knowing. Even such a egregious misapplication of common sense, let alone a rule, usually fails to inspire the aggrieved to read a rules book

Agree 100%.   It was part of my code of ethics for parents as well.  And I didn't think twice about calling out a parent who was making a horse's ass of themselves.

Now, knowing the rules doesn't help if the ump doesn't SEE the play in question...but knowing the rules should also give you an idea of what things an ump (especially a solo ump) can see at the same time.

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23 hours ago, SH0102 said:

when I do solo games on 90’ fields, I can get everything, touches, tag ups, int/Obs on any ball that doesn’t require a long fly where I can’t leave catch until batter has just passed first, but the two calls that are nearly impossible are steals of second  bc I’ve got pitch, swing/check swing, batter INT to watch and the play is 127’ feet away.  I can get one or two steps.  The other is catcher backpacks to third.  Runner is diving in a straight line away from me, again I have pitch and possible INT, and catcher is coming across me so I can’t clear him except to go towards first , again, maybe a step or two.  Hell has likely frozen over, because that's about the only scenario I can think of, where that's gonna happen.

Maybe I'm just being an arrogant dick about it, but I'm not working 90' diamonds alone.  No.  Way.  If your league can't afford to pay two umpires for a game, they can't afford to run their league and/or they need to dial the schedule back to the point where they can.

Perhaps I've just been lucky, but I'm now in my second state, and two other countries, and I have partners on that size fields.  Period.  Smaller fields, sure.  Big boy ball?  All kinds of nope.

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30 minutes ago, HokieUmp said:

Maybe I'm just being an arrogant dick about it, but I'm not working 90' diamonds alone.  No.  Way.  If your league can't afford to pay two umpires for a game, they can't afford to run their league and/or they need to dial the schedule back to the point where they can.

Perhaps I've just been lucky, but I'm now in my second state, and two other countries, and I have partners on that size fields.  Period.  Smaller fields, sure.  Big boy ball?  All kinds of nope.

And on those days where your partner is sick, caught in traffic, screws up the schedule, are you just going home?

The league can afford whatever its players can afford (or want to afford).   Without exception in any league/association/tournament executive I was part of, the priority of players/teams is number of games played, for whatever fee they have in mind to pay.   They always wanted at least one ump (and even in one slow pitch scenario they opted for player volunteers) but when given the choice between more games or more umps they always went with more games.

They want x games a week over y number of weeks, then playoffs.   For whatever they're gonna pay...$100 each...$200 each.   Then maybe they'll do fundraisers or whatever.  Or get sponsors.   How much is left over for a second umpire is mostly determined by how much the facility costs to play a game on it.

 And then they'll complain.  And then they'll be told their fee would go up 50% for two umps at every game.   And then they'll complain more.

But with a finite set of funds, most teams/players will pick more games over more umps.  They may get to the point where they will pony up more cash to get the second ump, but they will never reduce games to get the second ump.  They'll accept the shortcomings of one ump long before doing that.

Two umps is a nice compromise, but don't you think most would otherwise want four umps in their games, if umpire quality/coverage was really their priority?

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5 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

And on those days where your partner is sick, caught in traffic, screws up the schedule, are you just going home?

I guess I'll go full arrogant-dick mode, then.  Probably, yes, I am going home.  If it's a delayed deal, I'd wait.  Otherwise, I'm likely out.  Unless some do-gooder wants to step up and take bases, or some jury-rigged version thereof.

I take this SH*# seriously, and I don't umpire to half-ass it.  I don't need the money, and I'm too crotchety to play a 1-on-30 game with coaches and players - especially adult ball, which for some reason, I feel your reply is coming from.  I can hear enough bitching and complaining in a 2-man game, so I'm not inviting that plus *more* to accept a solo assignment.  Same with kid ball on a 90-footer.

Again:  2 US states, and 2 countries other than the US, and a 90' field has *always* had 2 umpires assigned to it.  Even in Australia - the "certified" umpires worked the plate, and the teams provided semi-trained guys to work the bases when their team wasn't playing.  But we were never told, "You're on your own, mate.  Go get 'em, tiger!" 

I get your math, and don't dispute your reality.  But unless you ALSO tell me "and those guys, having chosen to take games over bros, never bitched about any call, ever, and accepted the massive limitations," which I doubt, then no.  I will nope the F*#K out of that.  Someone else can be the huckleberry.

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8 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

Maybe I'm just being an arrogant dick about it, but I'm not working 90' diamonds alone.  No.  Way.  If your league can't afford to pay two umpires for a game, they can't afford to run their league and/or they need to dial the schedule back to the point where they can.

Perhaps I've just been lucky, but I'm now in my second state, and two other countries, and I have partners on that size fields.  Period.  Smaller fields, sure.  Big boy ball?  All kinds of nope.

I think I saw this recommendation in an old PBUC.  If you are down to one in a MiLBUM game ask the teams to put a player on the bases. I can’t remember if they matched offense or defense to the player on the bases. I will do 90’ alone in scrimmage/friendly games. I do not do them behind the mound. 

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8 hours ago, HokieUmp said:

 I can hear enough bitching and complaining in a 2-man game, so I'm not inviting that plus *more* to accept a solo assignment.  Same with kid ball on a 90-footer.

I get your math, and don't dispute your reality.  But unless you ALSO tell me "and those guys, having chosen to take games over bros, never bitched about any call, ever, and accepted the massive limitations," which I doubt, then no.  I will nope the F*#K out of that.  Someone else can be the huckleberry.

First - lots of adult ball, some as a teen playing.   Happens more on 60' but have been involved with hundreds of games at 90' with solo ump, over 40 years.   The vast vast majority go without a hitch.  In the end, there really aren't that many calls/scenarios in a game where it comes up.

To be honest with you, the majority of the complaining comes as a result of the umpire not moving his ass from behind the plate, so he's never in position to make any call.   And frankly, this is not only a problem on both 90' and 60' bases (I find on small fields the solo ump is less likely to move), this would be a problem in two-man too, but A) some of his sins are forgiven by this partner, and B) his partner is probably riding his ass to get into position.

It could also be why a lot of these guys end up working solo...

I agree that the biggest problem is being alone - and at that point it doesn't matter the size of the field.  No partner, no backup, no protection.  I get that.

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Obstruction, NOT interference, and it guarantees the batter-runner or runner the base he would have gotten to, in the umpire's judgement, had he not been obstructed.  USUALLY this means one additional base from where they stopped, or if they were thrown out at a base, they get that base.  In other words, since he scored, the run counts and the penalty is not assessed.  

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On 10/29/2021 at 2:05 PM, mac266 said:

Obstruction, NOT interference, and it guarantees the batter-runner or runner the base he would have gotten to, in the umpire's judgement, had he not been obstructed.  USUALLY this means one additional base from where they stopped, or if they were thrown out at a base, they get that base.  In other words, since he scored, the run counts and the penalty is not assessed.  

That's not quite accurate.

In FED, it means the runner gets the next base even if the runner is retreating to the last legally acquired base.

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On 10/27/2021 at 9:57 PM, HokieUmp said:

I guess I'll go full arrogant-dick mode, then.  Probably, yes, I am going home.  If it's a delayed deal, I'd wait.  Otherwise, I'm likely out.  Unless some do-gooder wants to step up and take bases, or some jury-rigged version thereof.

Merely an aside – this is exactly how I got my "start" in college baseball. A NAIA non-conf game was being held at McCarty Park in Milwaukee, and my house (at the time) bordered the park. As I was returning from work (at the IT job), I slowed down to see who was about to be playing the game that was likely to start soon, at 6pm... I saw the teams, and noticed an umpire. I peered around, and didn't see a second (or third) umpire. So, I parked on the street, ambled back to the backstop, and sought out the umpire. Sure enough, the umpire was preparing to handle the game solo, since his partner had called in sick on short notice. He was a name I recognized as an area HS and College umpire, but had never encountered until this evening. I quickly asked him if he'd like a partner for this game, explaining that I was (at that time) an umpire with "X" leagues and "Y" tournaments. He allowed me to join him, but cautioned me that A) since the teams had already been told there'd be one umpire, and B) I was not part of the "association", there likely wouldn't be a payment for me. I didn't mind that at all (for a "real" game of college baseball?! Heck yes!), and ran at a dead sprint back to my house to change into my umpire attire. 

I sprinted back, slipped in through the gate, and joined the game at the start of the bottom of the 1st. 

Suffice it to say, I learned a lot about upper-level umpiring, and myself, that night. 

And, I came out of it with $40. The two coaches each pitched $20 at me for being so responsive, understanding that I wasn't getting paid electronically through the association. 

 

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