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Obstruction?

Apr 27, 2009
2
0
We had a situation in a game last night played under ASA rules. Hit to the fence in LC. Runner from first tries to score. Relay throw from SS arrives ahead of the runner not by much, but definitely ahead of her. She slides, but never reaches the plate. Tag is applied, but umpire calls her safe. Not sure, but when he realizes she never reached the plate, he says there was Obstruction. Seems there was no obstruction if the catcher had the ball and was waiting on her. I don't know the nuances of the ASA rule, but thought somebody maybe could enlighten me.

Thanks,
 

MTR

Jun 22, 2008
3,336
48
We had a situation in a game last night played under ASA rules. Hit to the fence in LC. Runner from first tries to score. Relay throw from SS arrives ahead of the runner not by much, but definitely ahead of her. She slides, but never reaches the plate. Tag is applied, but umpire calls her safe. Not sure, but when he realizes she never reached the plate, he says there was Obstruction. Seems there was no obstruction if the catcher had the ball and was waiting on her. I don't know the nuances of the ASA rule, but thought somebody maybe could enlighten me.
It depends on whether the umpire judged the catcher's presence prior to receiving the ball caused the runner to check up or alter her path. Of course, it didn't have to happen at the plate, she could have been obstructed anywhere along her way from 1B.

This is definitely HTBT.
 

Cannonball

Ex "Expert"
Feb 25, 2009
3,855
63
Obstruction could have happened as the runner rounded 3rd as well. We've seen it called on a lot of 1st basemen this year.
 
May 5, 2008
358
0
Obstruction calls at the plate when the ball is on it's way to the catcher are very annoying. This JMHO - I've seen obstruction calls on a catcher with a runner on 3rd, fly ball to outfield, runner tags up, OF immediately throws the ball in to home plate after the catch (obviously) which means that the balls on it's way to the catcher far before the runner is at the plate and the catcher didn't even have to move to catch the ball so it wasn't like she was blocking just to block then had to move to catch the ball and come back to make a play. Ball and runner reached home pretty close together with the ball arriving slightly ahead. Obstruction was called on the catcher - this was a DI game. I just don't think it's right to ask the DEFENSE to give up a clear path to the base until after they have the ball in possession. Maybe that's not the way the rule is stated, but that's the way I'm seeing it called quite often and I just don't think it's the right way to call it. If the defender has a play on the ball and runner, they should have every right to DEFEND their base (especially the plate!).
 
I just don't think it's right to ask the DEFENSE to give up a clear path to the base until after they have the ball in possession.
Why should the defense be allowed hinder the offense, when it can not properly defend a base? In your line of thinking, the OFFENSE should not have to give up a clear path to the base just because the DEFENSE is trying to field a ball.

GaryB
 
May 5, 2008
358
0
In your line of thinking, the OFFENSE should not have to give up a clear path to the base just because the DEFENSE is trying to field a ball.
GaryB
In the scenario that I was talking about - tag plays at bases...Is the offense asked to give up a clear path because the defense is trying to make the play?

If a runner slides directly into a bag and knocks down the defender and the defender doesn't make the catch and tag is the runner called for interference for going directly after the base? Not typically. Why should a defender be called for interference for standing in the spot they need to be in to catch an incoming ball?

Does a runner running from first to second have to run "out of the way" so that the SS or 2b can make a clear throw to 1b to try to turn a double play? Usually the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the defense to get into a position to have a clear throw to 1b. If they stay in a spot where the runner from 1b to 2b is in their way and they can't make the throw, the offense is not penalized for not giving up a clear throwing lane.

Why should a catcher or any other fielder have to stand off to the side of the base path, give the runner a clear shot at the bag, and go, "Yes, I want to get you out, but here's the bag and I'll stand over here out of your way so you have an easy path to this base I'm trying to defend and try to tag you from here."

Obviously for the sake of safety, especially with metal cleats it isn't WISE to always be in a spot to take a direct hit from the runner, but if you are positioning yourself to be in the spot you need to be in to catch a throw that is on it's way to - you should NOT be called for obstruction.

Like I said, I do not have a problem with the rule as it is worded in the rule book. If you have no play on the ball you should NOT be in the runner's way or hinder them in any way. However, if the ball is coming to you and you have a play on that runner, you should be allowed to be wherever it is you need to be to catch that ball, then apply a tag. It's just that this particular call is not always being made this way.

I'm seeing obstruction calls like the one I described above (ball on the way to the exact spot the catcher is standing on a 3b runner tag up) and she is called for obstruction. IMHO - the runner had a better line she could have taken to get safe at home - she needs to learn to take that route. I've seen many players avoid tags at home with catchers standing in or partially in the base path and I've personally done it myself - avoid the collision and the tag and get to the base. It's the runner's job to get to the base without getting tagged, it's the defender's job to prevent that. Neither one should have to make the play easier for the other.

Catchers/defenders standing in the way blocking the base when the ball is not coming to them should definitely have to get out of the way and should be called for obstruction.
 
Is the offense asked to give up a clear path because the defense is trying to make the play?
On a batted ball, YES! Otherwise, why should they?

If a runner slides directly into a bag and knocks down the defender and the defender doesn't make the catch and tag is the runner called for interference for going directly after the base?
If a runner slides directly into a bag, how is she going to knock down a defender?

Why should a defender be called for interference for standing in the spot they need to be in to catch an incoming ball?
A defender can not be called for interference. There is not just one spot to catch an incoming ball!

Does a runner running from first to second have to run "out of the way" so that the SS or 2b can make a clear throw to 1b to try to turn a double play?
No, the runner is doing exaclty what he/she is allowed to do, run a straight line between bases.

If they stay in a spot where the runner from 1b to 2b is in their way and they can't make the throw, the offense is not penalized for not giving up a clear throwing lane.
It had better be a spot directly between the bases, otherwise the base runner and the batter/runner could be called out for interference.

Why should a catcher or any other fielder have to stand off to the side of the base path, give the runner a clear shot at the bag
Because the defense does not have a play on the runner and can not hinder the offense unless they do have a play.

but if you are positioning yourself to be in the spot you need to be in to catch a throw that is on it's way to - you should NOT be called for obstruction.
There is not just one spot to catch a incoming throw. If you do not have the ball and hinder the runner in anyway (blocking base) you should be called for obstruction.

However, if the ball is coming to you and you have a play on that runner, you should be allowed to be wherever it is you need to be to catch that ball, then apply a tag.
You can be wherever you need to catch the ball, as long as it does not hinder/impeade the runner (i.e. blocking a direct path to the base).

IMHO - the runner had a better line she could have taken to get safe at home - she needs to learn to take that route.
IMHO - the better line is straight to the base!

Neither one should have to make the play easier for the other.
Ok, lets not restict the runner's base path when a play is being made on him/her.

Catchers/defenders standing in the way blocking the base when the ball is not coming to them should definitely have to get out of the way and should be called for obstruction.
What is the difference in a catcher hindering a runner not waiting on the ball and a catcher hindering a runner waiting on the ball? NOTHING, both are hindering the runner!

GaryB
 
Jun 22, 2008
3,231
48
College is a little different on their obstruction rules than ASA and high school. ASA and high school both basically say if you hinder the runner in any way you have committed obstruction. Not sure of the exact wording in college, but has something to do with the catch being emminent or the throw being on the way to the catcher. If the play was as close as you describe at home plate I would be very surprised that it was called in a college game.
 

MTR

Jun 22, 2008
3,336
48
College is a little different on their obstruction rules than ASA and high school. ASA and high school both basically say if you hinder the runner in any way you have committed obstruction. Not sure of the exact wording in college, but has something to do with the catch being emminent or the throw being on the way to the catcher. If the play was as close as you describe at home plate I would be very surprised that it was called in a college game.
NCAA still allows a fielder who is "about to receive" the ball to not obstruct.

However, what most people do not realize, for this to be in effect, the ball must reach the fielder before the runner. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IF THE BALL IS "ON THE WAY" THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO GO AFTER THE BALL, RUNNER BE DAMNED. The only time the difference in the rules comes into play is if the defender fails to catch the ball.
 

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