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Thread: How does the runner get to a blocked plate in Little League?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Flush View Post
    Bumping an old thread. Does the LL rule saying the catcher can not block the plate apply to the pitcher who is covering the plate after a passed ball/wild pitch? It happened a couple times in today's game and here is a picture from the same pitcher doing the same thing in another game. This is a must slide league.
    Attachment 108218
    Obstruction applies to all fielders. You may not impede the runner's progress or block a base, UNLESS you HAVE the ball, or need to be in the spot you are in, to catch the ball, when the ball is almost to you.

    In Little League, the fielder cannot setup in a spot that blocks the base, while waiting for a possible throw. The fielder must setup out of the path, and then may move into the path, AFTER he has the ball, OR if, in the ump's judgment, he needed to move into the path to have a chance to catch the ball.

    It's pretty straight-forward. Stay away from the base until you have the ball, or the block is a natural act of trying to catch the ball.

    A fielder is "in the act of fielding" and it is NOT obstruction, if, his block of the base, is a fluid, continuous result of his effort to glove the ball. Separate, discontinuous movement prior to obtaining the ball, whose sole purpose is to block the base, is obstruction.

    If the fielder breaks the rule, the runner should slide and hope that the ump calls obstruction. If the fielder does have the ball, WAITING TO MAKE a tag, the runner must either slide, OR attempt to get around the fielder.

    If the fielder is not violating the rule, and the ball and runner arrive at about the same time, and the fielder has to move into the path to get the ball; then any collision is just a collision. There is no penalty to either player. Unless, either player makes a flagrant, malicious act during the collision.
    Last edited by jbooth; 05-06-2012 at 12:06 PM.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSandman View Post
    Saw this play all the time in LL. Passed ball or wild pitch and pitchers were taught (not mine) to run to plate and drop to one knee about 3-5' up the line to await the toss from the catcher. It all happens so fast that most LL umps wouldn't call obstruction - which it clearly is. That far up the line really makes it impossible for the runner to slide too, as he'd end his slide still several feet from reaching the plate.
    Yep, THAT is obvious obstruction, even in MLB unless the fielder has possession before the runner arrives. In MLB, as long as you have the ball before contact with the runner is made, it doesn't matter where you were, or what you do. In LL, the fielder cannot block the base while awaiting the throw, and hope that the ball arrives first. He must only block the base, after possession, or as a move necessary to catch the ball that started from outside the path, not blocking the base.

  3. #23
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    flush,

    That picture is basically identical to what we sent to our league president when a virtually identical incident took place with a team that did this game after game. The league president took immediate action, telling the coaches this was against LL rules (like Booth has explained so clearly), and not to teach this dangerous technique. In our case, it cleared up this issue from this particular coach. Great photo. Makes it very clear what is going on.

    -JJA

  4. #24
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    This is a serious concern for me. My son catches, he's 110 pounds and he's got the lower body of Yadier Molina or Andres Galaragga. As an adult he'll be the guy they call "Forest" (tree trunks for legs) or "Pillars". Forcing a 10-12yo kid in the weight range of 65-80 pounds, with shin bones thinner than my wrist, to slide into a kid like this wearing shin guards is just begging for a broken ankle or leg. Likewise, I don;t want my 10yo kid being forced to slide into someone shin guards either. It's dumb. You wanna see a really dangerous situation? Passed ball, not too far away, runner coming from 3rd, catcher gets the ball, both are running to the plate, catcher goes in shin guards first to block the plate, runner slides feet first into sliding catcher. I don;t see why this is even a possible situation at this age.

    ALL levels of baseball should put down the machismo (and I say that as a pitcher whose blocked the plate before, received spike marks in the leg, and been celebrated for it ... y'know personal sacrifice for the team stuff) and traditional, and create a "catcher's crease" (like hockey) where the catcher stands during a play. The runners cannot cross over the line into the catcher's area/crease/office, and the catcher cannot cross the line to make a tag until they have the ball.

    Plays at the plate will still be exciting and catchers/runners will still need to have skill. What won't happen are runners being able to plow the catcher to make up for poor baserunning decisions, or catchers being able to interfere (they really do) with runners because the defense is lagging.

    Ty Cobb sliding with spikes "waist high" to kick the ball of a fielder's glove, and willie randolph being rolled all the way to LF, we re too once part of the game. It was eliminated because it was simply danger that added little skill to the game. Same with home plate collisions. Get catchers out in front of the plate and drastically reduce or eliminate the needless collisions that result.

    Or let's go full bravado and stop being sissies about it and allow full collisions at all bases, defenders to wrestle runners off the bag, etc. Catchers wear gear to protect themselves from the baseball, not being trucked at the plate (if so, the gear is far too light).
    Last edited by CircleChange11; 05-07-2012 at 06:26 AM.

  5. #25
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    Sorry Circle,

    Totally agree with you on this for kids, but not for the pros. It's a man's game. If you're a catcher and you don't want to get hit, don't block the plate. On the flip side, if you're a runner and you're afraid of a collision, don't come home. But if I'm the manager and you're one of those two, go find another sport, maybe something safe like tennis.

    -JJA

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJA View Post
    It's a man's game.
    I am a very big fan of violence and bravado. I love it.

    But, let's be honest, in regards to the big 4 sports, baseball is the "pussiest" one ... and it's not even close. I say that as one that loves baseball more than just about everything else. Almost all of my buddies are "football guys" and I hear it a lot. When baseball went through the PED Era, there sentiment was "it's about time you guys took the panties off".

    Baseball at the MLB level may have been a "man's sport" 100 years ago with takeout slides and wrestling at every base, no helmets, no padded walls, etc.

    But, now baseball has to be considered a non-contact skill sport, more akin to golf than football.

    I hear the "if you don't like it go play golf" stuff, but I could just as easily say "if you wanna plow and truck, they have a sport for that where you get to do it on almost every play".

    Here's the reason why I bring it up ... the players very often won't. They won;t bring it up for the same reason I refused to wear sleeves even though it was 40-degrees on game day ... it doesn't look tough. It looks weak. You lose respect.

    But, as we learn more about concussions and baseball, it'll need to be someone outside the players union that protects the catchers. The guys "wearing the armor" aren't going to be the ones to speak up.

    As i said before, if we're going to deem baseball a contact sport and a man's game, then let's bring back the real manly stuff. Tell the batters to take off those sissy helmets and stop crying about "being pitched inside" and let's have full contact at all bases like they used to. Let's do away with team warning and let the big boys settle disputes like big boys do.

    I am willing to listen to all sorts of logical reasons why collisions at home are a necessary and important part of the game, but the whole "it's a big boy sport" or "a man's game" don;t really count with me ... because baseball has slightly more physical contact than tennis. Slightly.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CircleChange11 View Post
    But, now baseball has to be considered a non-contact skill sport, more akin to golf than football.
    Blame ESPN. They play the fake outrage stories all day, every day.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by songtitle View Post
    Blame ESPN. They play the fake outrage stories all day, every day.
    We could really debate this all day. In the same conversation we could say that ESPN popularizes the plows at the plate by reshowing the highlights all the time. ESPN could be blamed by both sides. I'm not real interested in what role ESPN plays in it, because they pretty much react to what society wants them to say.

    I will say this, I do think ESPN has played a role in bringing awareness to concussions and their lasting effects. For years, concussions were thought of as being a "wimp's time out", now that we're having guys not be able to remember what they had for breakfast and killing themselves, there's more ears willing to listen. Mike Matheny has been one of the first guys to really talk about concussions at the catcher position, so we don't know all that much about it.

    One of my favorite plays is Ray Lankford absolutely blowing up Darren Daulton at the plate. Lighting him up like a Pinball machine. But, if that play didn't exist my love for baseball wouldn't decrease, and it's not like there are casual baseball fans everywhere turning into a game just to see a collision at the plate.

    I think what is REALLY happening is that fans, teams, etc don;t want to see vital players hurt on plays that could be reduced/eliminated without hurting the game. We don't really want to see Posey injured because Cousins is a dumb baserunner that tried to tag on a shallow fly ball and getting thrown out could mean permanent demotion.

    I could come up with countless examples to over-support the point, but I won't for brevity sake. Simply put, the fans, teams, etc want to see the skilled players on the field. The NFL, and NHL have both done similar things. There was a time in all sports where the goons ran the show, and it was entertaining ... for a while. Then fans wanted to see the skill on display. Now, baseball is a little different because there is very little contact. The situation arises because when there is contact it involves one body that is moving at full speed and one body that is at rest.

    Catchers are an interesting situation, in that they are expected to take the blow as a personal sacrifice to the team, even though most of the players on the field don;t have any physical contact with the opponent during the game. Essentially we're back to unrealistic expectations being placed on catchers. They're supposed to not only be very athletic, but very intelligent, self-sacrificing, and tough ... oh and often paid less because the position takes a greater toll on their longevity.

    Anyway, we're kinda getting off topic here.

    back to LL, there should not be (IMO) any blocking of the plate.

    My bad on bringing up the MLB. I did so because MLB or "real baseball" is often used as justification for doing the same things at young ages regardless of whether it's age appropriate or not.

  9. #29
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    I witnessed a play this very weekend in a 13maj game where the runner came in standing up and decided to take out the catcher who had the ball. Big runner, little catcher. The catcher ducked at the last minute, took the runner with his shoulder to the midsection and flipped the runner up and over him where he landed at the plate on his head. The ump actually threw the catcher out of the game and did nothing to the runner.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roothog66 View Post
    I witnessed a play this very weekend in a 13maj game where the runner came in standing up and decided to take out the catcher who had the ball. Big runner, little catcher. The catcher ducked at the last minute, took the runner with his shoulder to the midsection and flipped the runner up and over him where he landed at the plate on his head. The ump actually threw the catcher out of the game and did nothing to the runner.
    That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard. That umpire should be embarrassed.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roothog66 View Post
    I witnessed a play this very weekend in a 13maj game where the runner came in standing up and decided to take out the catcher who had the ball. Big runner, little catcher. The catcher ducked at the last minute, took the runner with his shoulder to the midsection and flipped the runner up and over him where he landed at the plate on his head. The ump actually threw the catcher out of the game and did nothing to the runner.
    Wrong call. In all leagues except PROFESSIONAL, the runner has two choices when the catcher HAS THE BALL WAITING TO MAKE A TAG. He may slide, or he may attempt to get around, or avoid the catcher. HE absolutely is not allowed to run through the catcher. The runner should have been called out.

    The only time violent collisions may occur is when the ball and the runner arrive at nearly the same time. And, even those must not have any malicious intent.

  12. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by 50hawaiianpunch View Post
    Aloha,
    When my son was 10yo he ran over a catcher to score the winning run, catcher was in base path 5' up baseline without the ball and the ball and my son arrived same time and whammo ball went flying catcher went flying and my son touched home. Parents went crazy that we won the game but umpire called him out and tossed him from the game almost had a riot from our parents

    First he was to far from home plate to slide should've went around but happened to fast. Funny thing is he's also a catcher i teach him left heal touching left corner of the dish (towards third base) receive ball first then drop and slide to block plate. (just my 2 cents)
    P.S my son went over picked up the catcher dusted him off made sure he was alright they became best of friends (funny how the kids figure it out faster then us adults)
    We had the exact same situation with my son. Except the catcher was at least 15 feet up the line. Out of the circle. He was facing right field waiting for the throw. With his heels on the baseline. As he caught the ball he turned, facing third base and straddled the line. My son dipped his shoulder to avoid the catcher but as the catcher turned he stepped right into my son's path. The collision was ugly and the catcher rolled across the plate as my son scored. Resulting in an ejection for my son and lots of drama from the other team.

    I'm all for following the rules but he was in a no win situation. He tried to avoid the contact but the catcher stepped right in front of him. Much too far from the plate to slide. It also didnt help that he was much bigger and more athletic than the other guy.

    I argued that it was no different than a first baseman stepping into a runners path to field an errant throw. I asked if he would've been ejected for a play like that. I figured the umpires reaction as well as the other team's was due to the folklore surrounding home plate collisions. It was an unfortunate series of events but it was done without malice.

    Still got a bad taste in my mouth about that one

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