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  • Another baserunning/obstruction question

    OK. What do you do about a SS who sets up right in the basepath between 2B and 3B. R2 takes lead and couldn't even take 1 step or would have hit SS. Now my way of thinking is try to steal 3rd, run into the kid and that's obstruction. My baserunner wasn't sure and we were up by quite a bit at that point so there wasn't really any reason to force the issue.

  • #2
    Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
    OK. What do you do about a SS who sets up right in the basepath between 2B and 3B. R2 takes lead and couldn't even take 1 step or would have hit SS. Now my way of thinking is try to steal 3rd, run into the kid and that's obstruction. My baserunner wasn't sure and we were up by quite a bit at that point so there wasn't really any reason to force the issue.
    I think it depends on whether it's obvious that he's trying to obstruct; whether he moves if your runner moves.
    Hitting Coordinator for Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

    I also work with the pitchers who are dealing with injury problems.

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    • #3
      Unlikely. A typical umpire most likely isn't going to watch a SS from play to play just to see where he lines up.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
        Unlikely. A typical umpire most likely isn't going to watch a SS from play to play just to see where he lines up.
        You'll be surprised what those knuckleheads will look at....

        Yesterday, after a base hit....the umpire ruled our batter/runner "out" for stepping out of the batter's box. Not all that big of a deal, but this was in the 5th inning, and when he made the call, the chalk batter's box was completely obliterated and unrecognizable. IOWs, he simply guesstimated that the player's foot was completely out of it.

        Here's the kicker....when the same hitter returned to the plate in the 7th inning, I let him establish his place in the box and take a pitch. I then asked for and received "time", called the player over, and told him to return to the plate and ask the umpire to draw in the front line of the box to make sure he doesn't call him out again for standing in the exact same location.

        When the player returned, requested that of the ump....the "blue" steps out from behind the plate and takes a step down the line towards me, looks down at me in the coach's box, and glares at me like I was showing him up. I just give him this......and tell him that I, "just don't want another repeat performance from ya blue".

        Hitter steps back into the box in the exact same spot that he set-up in earlier in both at-bats, and nowhere close to the front line of the box. Point made and ump knew it....he blew it, just to "grandstand" and make his presence known in a game where there's no need for such nonsense. :dismay:
        In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
          OK. What do you do about a SS who sets up right in the basepath between 2B and 3B. R2 takes lead and couldn't even take 1 step or would have hit SS. Now my way of thinking is try to steal 3rd, run into the kid and that's obstruction. My baserunner wasn't sure and we were up by quite a bit at that point so there wasn't really any reason to force the issue.
          It's NOTHING, until a play happens. Defender has a right to set up where he wants. If a ball is hit to SS, then R2 must avoid fielder. If there's a pickoff play back to the bag and SS blocks R2 from going back to bag without ball - OBS, runner gets 3rd. In your situation, on a steal, I would probably tell my runner to avoid SS if possible. If no play is being made on the runner, the umpire - EVEN THOUGH HE RULES OBSTRUCTION - is only obligated to award the base that he feels negates the penalty. That means even if the ump sees it, you have no guarantee that he awards R2 to 3rd safely.

          The best coaching move is common sense - don't play the game trying to earn a cheap award. If you can reasonably avoid the contact, then you should do that.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the encouraging post, Mud! I knew there would be an easy solution. Ban the knucklehead umpires!

            Now seriously, is there a reason that when I see this stuff, would I take the time between innings to talk to the umpires and make them aware of what's going on and how to address it?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UAME View Post
              It's NOTHING, until a play happens. Defender has a right to set up where he wants. If a ball is hit to SS, then R2 must avoid fielder. If there's a pickoff play back to the bag and SS blocks R2 from going back to bag without ball - OBS, runner gets 3rd. In your situation, on a steal, I would probably tell my runner to avoid SS if possible. If no play is being made on the runner, the umpire - EVEN THOUGH HE RULES OBSTRUCTION - is only obligated to award the base that he feels negates the penalty. That means even if the ump sees it, you have no guarantee that he awards R2 to 3rd safely.

              The best coaching move is common sense - don't play the game trying to earn a cheap award. If you can reasonably avoid the contact, then you should do that.
              To call what I'm asking a "cheap award" is nonsense. If the SS is being a tool he needs to get out of the basepath.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
                Thanks for the encouraging post, Mud! I knew there would be an easy solution. Ban the knucklehead umpires!
                LOL!! The funny thing is....the guy was a pretty decent ump all things considered.

                I was more upset with the call, in that it was on a kid that hadn't played too much during the season, and we were playing all of those guys in our final game of the season,so I was really happy for the young man to get a base hit....that for NO valid reason whatsoever, the umpire took away from him.

                Now seriously, is there a reason that when I see this stuff, would I take the time between innings to talk to the umpires and make them aware of what's going on and how to address it?
                No, there's no reason why you can't talk with them between innings, and make them aware of what you're seeing out there....I did exactly that in the "out of the box" situation.

                When the blue made that call, it was for only the 2nd out of the inning, and since it was a judgement call in a one-man game, there was really no place to make a big deal of it at the time, as it wasn't going to change anything.

                The only reason I did what I did, was because in between innings, I walked over to talk with the young ump calmly, just to see what he saw, where my kid was standing, and really to see how he called it without a line being there to make the "judgement" by.

                Well, when I did walk up to him and asked him where my play was and what he saw, he copped an attitude and said, "he was out of the box and that's all there is to it". When I pointed out that there was no line for the hitter's foot to be "completely out of" and that there was just a bunch of footprints all in the same area(s), and asked him to point out the rogue footprint, since there was only one other hitter after the fact, and the footprint should still have been there if it was that obvious.

                He came back with, "It is what it is coach, I made the call, and that's it". I said, "Ok"....and walked back to the dugout, but knew that if/when that hitter made it back to the plate, that I'd have the "last word".

                Coaching is such GREAT fun......
                In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
                  OK. What do you do about a SS who sets up right in the basepath between 2B and 3B. R2 takes lead and couldn't even take 1 step or would have hit SS. Now my way of thinking is try to steal 3rd, run into the kid and that's obstruction. My baserunner wasn't sure and we were up by quite a bit at that point so there wasn't really any reason to force the issue.
                  A fielder may position himself anywhere he wishes.
                  However, the following rules are involved when a play occurs;

                  If a batted ball is hit at the SS, the runner MUST avoid the fielder. The fielder has all the rights.
                  If the ball isn't hit, or the runner tries to steal, or even get a secondary lead as the pitch is delivered, and he must go around the fielder; that is obstruction and the runner could be awarded third base.

                  It is obstruction without a play, so the award is optional. The ump can decide. If it was me umpiring, as soon as the runner was impeded in trying to get a lead, I would call delayed dead ball obstruction, and award him third. If the ball was hit, I would give him third and maybe more, depending on the play. That would put a stop to that nonsense. It's a judgment call, and in my judgment he would have made third, and the coach can't protest or appeal my judgment.

                  As a coach, you should tell your runner to try to steal and be sure to run into the SS, fall down, and get back to second. The ump may award third. If not, you're still safe at second. Keep doing it, until the SS moves or the ump awards something.
                  Last edited by jbooth; 05-09-2012, 10:51 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
                    To call what I'm asking a "cheap award" is nonsense. If the SS is being a tool he needs to get out of the basepath.
                    Not intended as a slam or insult. If there's a legit beef / rules infraction, then fine. Nor do I object to players creating situations that put the rules in their favor or shift the odds. It's smart baseball.

                    Any tone of disdain was meant in this regard: I don't think umpiring at the lower levels of baseball is consistent enough that I would coach a player to always try to draw an OBS call in this situation - because their's no guarantee that the umpire will award it. I would venture a guess that, even on occassions where the umpire clearly sees the play, you might be looking at a 50/50 success rate on drawing a favorable call. Not something I would bank on, personally.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jbooth View Post
                      A fielder may position himself anywhere he wishes.
                      However, the following rules are involved when a play occurs;

                      If a batted ball is hit at the SS, the runner MUST avoid the fielder. The fielder has all the rights.
                      If the ball isn't hit, or the runner tries to steal, or even get a secondary lead as the pitch is delivered, and he must go around the fielder; that is obstruction and the runner could be awarded third base.

                      It is obstruction without a play, so the award is optional. The ump can decide. If it was me umpiring, as soon as the runner was impeded in trying to get a lead, I would call delayed dead ball obstruction, and award him third. If the ball was hit, I would give him third and maybe more, depending on the play. That would put a stop to that nonsense. It's a judgment call, and in my judgment he would have made third, and the coach can't protest or appeal my judgment.

                      As a coach, you should tell your runner to try to steal and be sure to run into the SS.
                      Hypothetical situation: BU in C position (between the mound and 2B), facing home plate. R2 breaks stealing for 3B after P absolutely commits pitch to home. R2 & SS collide, batter hits ball directly at said wreck, BU turns to see remnants of wreck and fair ball rolling by. In lower level amatuer baseball, what percentage of calls would you say would be OBS, INT, or "Nothing"?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by UAME View Post
                        Any tone of disdain was meant in this regard: I don't think umpiring at the lower levels of baseball is consistent enough that I would coach a player to always try to draw an OBS call in this situation - because there's no guarantee that the umpire will award it. I would venture a guess that, even on occasions where the umpire clearly sees the play, you might be looking at a 50/50 success rate on drawing a favorable call. Not something I would bank on, personally.
                        That's why the runner should just bump the SS, fall down and go back. Then he is not at risk of being out, but MIGHT get an award. Which he WOULD from me, to put a stop to the bush league crap from the defense. This would never happen in Pro ball. Fielders always stand on one side of the path or the other. Never IN it, when a runner is nearby. They're only in it when there is no runner nearby. MLB first baseman who are holding the runner, stand inside the path, because if a throw comes and the runner is impeded before the ball is caught, that runner is automatically getting second, because that is obstruction WITH a play.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I was hoping you would respond here, JB. Can you explain "bump?" How can I get my guys to be comfortable bumping into fielders who are in the way, but not do it in such a way where they just run over the fielder like a fullback. I think that's poor sportsmanship and don't want to do that, but I want my players to know how to create enough contact to get noticed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by UAME View Post
                            Not intended as a slam or insult. If there's a legit beef / rules infraction, then fine. Nor do I object to players creating situations that put the rules in their favor or shift the odds. It's smart baseball.

                            Any tone of disdain was meant in this regard: I don't think umpiring at the lower levels of baseball is consistent enough that I would coach a player to always try to draw an OBS call in this situation - because their's no guarantee that the umpire will award it. I would venture a guess that, even on occassions where the umpire clearly sees the play, you might be looking at a 50/50 success rate on drawing a favorable call. Not something I would bank on, personally.
                            I'm not trying to "bank on a favorable call" as much as I'm trying to get rid of poor/lack of coaching/not gotten to that part of practice in calendar year yet/bush league player nonsense when it arises, so that good, solid baseball can be played by everyone the rest of the game.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Uncoach View Post
                              I was hoping you would respond here, JB. Can you explain "bump?" How can I get my guys to be comfortable bumping into fielders who are in the way, but not do it in such a way where they just run over the fielder like a fullback. I think that's poor sportsmanship and don't want to do that, but I want my players to know how to create enough contact to get noticed.
                              The rule says the fielder may not "impede the progress" of a runner. That statement is interpreted to mean that if the runner has to take as little as a half-step off of a direct line to where he wants to go, it is obstruction. There doesn't even have to be contact. If your runner has to run around the fielder to get a secondary lead, or a bluff of a steal, that is obstruction. You don't have to make contact at all. But, you may need to point out to an inexperienced ump, that your runner is having to run around the fielder, and therefore is being impeded. The problem is; as has been stated, that impediment with no play being made, doesn't require an award.

                              I'm old school. I'd bump the SS (not maliciously or violently, just enough to get noticed) on no plays, and then inform the ump that the SS impeded my progress.

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