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NFHS Catcher Obstruction


Guest Curious

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Guest Curious

NFHS:

2 and 1 count, bases loaded, one out. All three runners are in motion when the batter swings at the pitch. The bat hits the catcher’s mitt, but the catcher secures the ball and tags R3 out sliding in home. The catcher then comes up and fires a laser to 3B, R2 executes a great swim move slide on the back side of the base, but he is called out on an even better swipe tag, for an apparent third out. What just happened??? What do you and your partner do? What should have been done?  

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Here’s what you are failing to recognize. Only two opinions were offered in response to the OP asking a second question about whether a scenario existed that a batter could remain at the plate by coach choice. Those two opinions deemed by you to be from “highly respected officials” and “GREAT ADVICE” were from Mr. maven and Mr. beerguy55. They are the only ones to suggest that a batter must swing and make contact with the ball and without a single shred of proof—entirely their opinions.

To put it quite simply they were both wrong. There is no difference between a foul ball strike and a swinging miss strike to get a catcher’s interference call (see NFHS case play 8.1.1 J above where the batter swings and misses).

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41 minutes ago, noumpere said:

Award everyone (including the batter) one base.

To further expand on @noumpere response above ...........

"THAT'S CATCHERS INTERFERENCE (regardless of whether it's technically obstruction ;) ) ......point .... let the play finish.   Call TIME!   Re-iterate:  "That's catcher's interference, point again at the home plate area, award R3 home, (say,"runner from third scores) move R2 to third ("you, 3rd base, point to R2 award him 3rd), move R1 to second (you, second base, point to R2 award him 2nd), and award the batter first base ("you, first base").

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2019 NFHS rule 8

SECTION 1 WHEN BATTER BECOMES A RUNNER

ART. 1 . . . A batter becomes a runner with the right to attempt to score by advancing to first, second, third and home bases in the listed order when:

e. the catcher or any other defensive player obstructs him. The coach or captain of the team at bat, after being informed by the umpire-in-chief of the obstruction, shall indicate whether or not he elects to decline the obstruction penalty and accept the resulting play. Such election shall be made before the next pitch (legal or illegal), before the award of an intentional base on balls, or before the infielders leave the diamond. Obstruction of the batter is ignored if the batter-runner reaches first and all other runners advance at least one base.

1. Any runner attempting to advance (i.e., steal or squeeze) on a catcher’s obstruction of the batter shall be awarded the base he is attempting. If a runner is not attempting to advance on the catcher’s obstruction, he shall not be entitled to the next base, if not forced to advance because of the batter being awarded first base. If obstruction is enforced, all other runners on the play will return to base occupied at time of the pitch. The batter is awarded first base, if he did not reach base.

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To Mr. Thunderheads’ point on the terminology—both NCAA and OBR call this kind of violation catcher interference not obstruction. According to Carl Childress in his 2016 edition of the BRD, the NFHS has been calling this obstruction since 1984 when they made an unannounced change in their terminology. The rules interpreter at the time was Brad Rumble who apparently thought the use of the term obstruction to describe the violation was more appropriate.

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Guest Guest Curious
4 hours ago, Thunderheads said:

To further expand on @noumpere response above ...........

"THAT'S CATCHERS INTERFERENCE (regardless of whether it's technically obstruction ;) ) ......point .... let the play finish.   Call TIME!   Re-iterate:  "That's catcher's interference, point again at the home plate area, award R3 home, (say,"runner from third scores) move R2 to third ("you, 3rd base, point to R2 award him 3rd), move R1 to second (you, second base, point to R2 award him 2nd), and award the batter first base ("you, first base").

So a delayed-dead-ball, your words "let the play finish".

Is there any scenario where the batter would remain at the plate?

e.g..After R3 is tagged out, F2 airmails the ball down the LF line and R2 and R1 score. The Offense is given the option to take the result of the play or the Catcher's Obstruction (I still call it Catcher's Interference to) The OC determines he wants to score the 2 runs, take the out which leaves him with 2 runs scored, no runners on, 2 outs and the batter with 2-2 count?

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By NFHS rule all obstruction is a delayed dead ball—

2019 NFHS rule 5

ART. 2 . . . It is a delayed dead ball when

b. a catcher or any fielder obstructs a batter or runner; or obstructs the ball through use of detached player equipment (8-3-3);

2019 rule 2 SECTION 22 OBSTRUCTION AND FAKE TAG

ART. 1 . . . Obstruction is an act (intentional or unintentional, as well as - physical or verbal) by a fielder, any member of the defensive team or its team personnel that hinders a runner or changes the pattern of play as in 5-1-3 and 8-3-2; or when a catcher or fielder hinders a batter as in 5-1-2b, 8-1-1e, 8-3-1c and 8-3-2. When obstruction occurs, the ball becomes dead at the end of playing action and the umpire has authority to determine which base or bases shall be awarded the runners according to the rule violated (Exceptions 8-4-2c, 8-4-2d).

Of course, there is a possibility of the batter remaining at bat after a catcher obstruction. If a play follows catcher obstruction, the offense has the option to take the result of the play or the penalty.

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12 hours ago, Guest Guest Curious said:

Is there any scenario where the batter would remain at the plate?

No.

The batter is swinging when obstructed: either he puts the ball in play, or he does not.

If he does not (swinging strike, say), the ball is dead, and he'll be awarded 1B, advance other runners if forced. There's no play, so no choice for the offense.

If he does and the batted ball is foul, the ball is dead, and he'll be awarded 1B etc.

On a fair ball, the offense might have a choice between play or penalty, but the batter's time at bat will be over. He can't return to the plate.

And the offense can't "decline the penalty," as in football.

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16 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

To Mr. Thunderheads’ point on the terminology—both NCAA and OBR call this kind of violation catcher interference not obstruction. According to Carl Childress in his 2016 edition of the BRD, the NFHS has been calling this obstruction since 1984 when they made an unannounced change in their terminology. The rules interpreter at the time was Brad Rumble who apparently thought the use of the term obstruction to describe the violation was more appropriate.

while correct, ... I've never been instructed to use any specific term .... either one is accepted (at high school camps I've been to) 

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15 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

Of course, there is a possibility of the batter remaining at bat after a catcher obstruction. If a play follows catcher obstruction, the offense has the option to take the result of the play or the penalty.

No there isn't - the batter must put the ball in play for there to be a choice.  (at least, that's my understanding of the rule/interpretation) So, it wouldn't apply to, for example, a steal or a passed ball/wild pitch.

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I grant you the following play is unlikely but it is possible. This play was posted in the 2013 FED online interpretations and also appears as an adapted version in the 2016 BRD (p. 204).

2013 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 14: With one out, a runner on second base who is not moving on the pitch, and a count of 1-0, the batter attempts to hit the pitch to right field. The catcher reaches out for the ball and obstructs the batter, causing him to foul off the pitch. The coach, wanting the batter to stay at bat, tells the plate umpire he does not want the award for obstruction on his batter, and he elects to take the result of the play. RULING: The coach may decline the obstruction penalty and accept the result of the play. The game continues with a runner on second base, one out and a count of 1-1. (8-1-1e)

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5 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

I grant you the following play is unlikely but it is possible. This play was posted in the 2013 FED online interpretations and also appears as an adapted version in the 2016 BRD (p. 204).

2013 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 14: With one out, a runner on second base who is not moving on the pitch, and a count of 1-0, the batter attempts to hit the pitch to right field. The catcher reaches out for the ball and obstructs the batter, causing him to foul off the pitch. The coach, wanting the batter to stay at bat, tells the plate umpire he does not want the award for obstruction on his batter, and he elects to take the result of the play. RULING: The coach may decline the obstruction penalty and accept the result of the play. The game continues with a runner on second base, one out and a count of 1-1. (8-1-1e)

It appears that we have what I would consider some very valid opinions. Opinions from HIGHLY RESPECTED officials but... not based on any specific Rule, Umpire Manual, Past Practice or Case Play. That is, other than Senor Azuls, 2013 NFHS Rule Interpretations. Situation 14. 

RULING: The coach may decline the obstruction penalty and accept the result of the play. The game continues with a runner on second base, one out and a count of 1-1. 

Which is clear in stating that if the OC so desires, the batter may remain at bat. If or when we are faced with this scenario, which one would we be more justified to base our ruling on?

 

 

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6 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

I grant you the following play is unlikely but it is possible. This play was posted in the 2013 FED online interpretations and also appears as an adapted version in the 2016 BRD (p. 204).

2013 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations

SITUATION 14: With one out, a runner on second base who is not moving on the pitch, and a count of 1-0, the batter attempts to hit the pitch to right field. The catcher reaches out for the ball and obstructs the batter, causing him to foul off the pitch. The coach, wanting the batter to stay at bat, tells the plate umpire he does not want the award for obstruction on his batter, and he elects to take the result of the play. RULING: The coach may decline the obstruction penalty and accept the result of the play. The game continues with a runner on second base, one out and a count of 1-1. (8-1-1e)

 

My understanding is there was an old Jim Evans interp from the 90's about the play needing to be a result of a batted ball.   A foul ball would qualify I guess.

Am I to conclude that if, in the FED example, the batter swung and missed he would not be able to decline the CI?

I've seen examples in OBR, FED and NCAA about the manager accepting the result of the play, but all of them involve a batted ball of some kind.   None for whiffs, whether a steal in progress...or runners advancing as a result of the catcher missing the ball.

 

However, in OBR, it does say that if CI occurs "with a play is in progress" to let things continue as the manager might take the play - if the play is already occurring when CI occurs then said play is happening before the ball is batted.

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14 hours ago, Vegas_Ump said:

Think of it this way:  suppose the throw to to 3B was airmailed into left field?  The runners may advance at their own risk.  What happens in this case?  (Hint:  What about R3?)

Mike

Las Vegas

You tell me, bases loaded, 0-0 count...pitch comes in, batter hits catcher's glove on swing for CI, does not hit ball, F2 catches it...throws the ball down the left field line and all three runners score.

Is CI enforced without option, meaning only one run scores, and bases loaded...or can coach take the result of the play? (ie. three runs count, count now 0-1)

Does the batter need to hit the ball for the offense to be able to decline CI and take the result of the play?

Evans says batter must hit the ball.

@maven says it must be a fair ball.

FED case posted by @Senor Azul says it can be a foul ball.

OBR says a play in progress before CI qualifies for coach choice.  (which implies the pitch doesn't need to be hit)

FED, NCAA and OBR examples/cases all seem to entail batted balls...nothing about swinging strikes.

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Okay, I’ll throw myself out to possibly be wrong…

Catchers INT occurs on a batters swing. I thought The rule states the offense can only elect the play result if the batter and all runners advanced one base?  So in the “throw down LF” example, batter didn’t advance so not an option, just one base award to batter and runners advance bc forced.

I also was taught that “catchers OBS” only occurs on a suicide/safety squeeze where the R3 is coming on the pitch, catcher comes out early and essentially prevents a swing, dead ball, batter and all runners advance one base “as a result of the catchers balk” I believe it even says…

My rule books are at home but if I wait until I get home, I won’t remember I had this thought, so I’ll instead use it as a learning opportunity if I’m wrong.

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5 minutes ago, SH0102 said:

Catchers INT occurs on a batters swing. I thought The rule states the offense can only elect the play result if the batter and all runners advanced one base?  So in the “throw down LF” example, batter didn’t advance so not an option, just one base award to batter and runners advance bc forced.

This is incorrect.  For example...batter swings, hits catcher's glove, and hits ball grounding out to first.  On the play R3 scores.   The default call is CI, batter gets first, R3 returns.  The coach may elect to trade the out for the run.

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7 minutes ago, beerguy55 said:
14 minutes ago, SH0102 said:

Catchers INT occurs on a batters swing. I thought The rule states the offense can only elect the play result if the batter and all runners advanced one base?  So in the “throw down LF” example, batter didn’t advance so not an option, just one base award to batter and runners advance bc forced.

This is incorrect.  For example...batter swings, hits catcher's glove, and hits ball grounding out to first.  On the play R3 scores.   The default call is CI, batter gets first, R3 returns.  The coach may elect to trade the out for the run.

@SH0102 my understanding is that if the play results in BR reaching first AND all runners advancing at least one base, the offense loses right to decline the outcome of the play. [edit: you just posted. We're on the same page.]

 

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The batter has the absolute right to the pitch and neither the catcher nor any other defender can take that away from him. It is catcher’s interference when the catcher is on or forward of the tip of the plate (in other words he is in fair territory) to get the pitch. By doing so he prevents the batter’s opportunity to swing at or bunt the pitch.

Besides that you now have another problem. When the catcher takes the pitch over the plate—remember the plate is entirely in fair territory—it no longer is a legal pitch because it hasn’t crossed a foul line. In addition to the interference it is a huge safety hazard for the catcher to be where the bat can hit him. 

2019 NFHS Case Book Play 8.1.1 SITUATION F: R2 is on second base. After B2 takes his position in batter's box, F2 clearly reaches out over home plate (a) prior to; (b) after F1 has made a movement that has committed him to pitch; or (c) to receive the pitch. RULING: It is catcher obstruction in both (b) and (c), and B2 is awarded first base and R2 is awarded third base only if he was stealing on the pitch. F2 may not catch the pitch until it has passed home plate. In (a), there is no violation provided F2 and his equipment are removed from the area over home plate before pitcher has made a movement that committed him to pitch. (8-3-1c)

8.1.1 SITUATION J:  With R2 on second, F2 tips the bat of B2 who swings and misses the pitch. R2 was stealing on the pitch. F2 attempts to throw out R2 at third in which case R2 is called (a) out or (b) safe. RULING:  The umpire signals dead ball at the end of playing action. In (a), R2 is awarded third base and the batter is awarded first base. In (b), the batter is awarded first base. Since R2 is stealing at the time of the pitch, he is awarded third base and may remain there.

8.1.1 SITUATION G:  R3 is on third. After F1 winds up, R3 starts home as in a squeeze play. F3, who is playing close for a bunt, cuts off the pitch and tags R3. RULING:  This is a defensive obstruction. The ball becomes dead when touched by F3. R3 is awarded home and batter is awarded first. (5-1-2b, 8-1-1e, 8-3-1c)

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I know the OP asked about a FED ruling but Mr. beerguy55 has brought up former pro umpire Jim Evans a couple of times. Here’s something from the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 6.15, p. 105) about how pro umpires officiate catcher’s interference—

“A batter is entitled to first base if the catcher interferes after the pitcher releases the pitch; or steps on, or in front of home plate (or anywhere in fair territory to secure a pitch) without possession of the ball preventing the batter an opportunity to swing.” (rules 6.01c, 5.05b3, 6.01g)

And just for my own edification, Mr. beerguy55, earlier Mr. Donny7 referred to you as a “highly respected official.” I thought you were a softball coach (not that there is anything wrong with that). Are you now or have you ever been a baseball umpire?

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1 hour ago, Senor Azul said:

I know the OP asked about a FED ruling but Mr. beerguy55 has brought up former pro umpire Jim Evans a couple of times. Here’s something from the 2021 Minor League Baseball Umpire Manual (section 6.15, p. 105) about how pro umpires officiate catcher’s interference—

“A batter is entitled to first base if the catcher interferes after the pitcher releases the pitch; or steps on, or in front of home plate (or anywhere in fair territory to secure a pitch) without possession of the ball preventing the batter an opportunity to swing.” (rules 6.01c, 5.05b3, 6.01g)

And just for my own edification, Mr. beerguy55, earlier Mr. Donny7 referred to you as a “highly respected official.” I thought you were a softball coach (not that there is anything wrong with that). Are you now or have you ever been a baseball umpire?

But what about when the catcher does not prevent a swing? Either because the batter has the bat on his shoulder or has bailed out? real world MLB and NCAA occurrences with R3 coming home sometimes had no CI, the last two NCAA triple steals probably being CI. That's tough to officiate with R3 coming home. NCAA at least has said to call CI when the batter keeps his bat on his shoulder.

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13 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

And just for my own edification, Mr. beerguy55, earlier Mr. Donny7 referred to you as a “highly respected official.” I thought you were a softball coach (not that there is anything wrong with that). Are you now or have you ever been a baseball umpire?

I simply assumed he was talking about everyone else.   I have never been paid to umpire a game.

"highly respected official" - as it pertains to me no element of that statement is accurate.

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12 hours ago, beerguy55 said:

I simply assumed he was talking about everyone else.   I have never been paid to umpire a game.

"highly respected official" - as it pertains to me no element of that statement is accurate.

My Bad! I didn't know your resume. You, Thunderheads and Maven give some GREAT advice. You should be an official because you know more than most and definitely more than any coach I've been acquainted with. Your advice coupled with Senor Azul's vast library of rules, case plays etc., have made many hundreds, if not thousands of officials much better umpires.

            THANK YOU!!      

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