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Obstruction and Matt Holliday


DrungoHazewood

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7.06

When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal "Obstruction."

If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batterrunner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls “Time,” with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.

(b) If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.

Rule 7.06(b) Comment: Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.

NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.

Why was the final play in the Rockies/Padres game not obstruction?

I think the ump made the right call for the wrong reason. Holliday was safe because the catcher blocked his access to the plate despite not having possession of the ball. His leg was blocking the plate not to field the throw, but quite obviously to keep Holliday from tagging the plate.

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Why was the final play in the Rockies/Padres game not obstruction?

I think the ump made the right call for the wrong reason. Holliday was safe because the catcher blocked his access to the plate despite not having possession of the ball. His leg was blocking the plate not to field the throw, but quite obviously to keep Holliday from tagging the plate.

Not really sure how he was obstructing. He wasn't blocking the plate, he was straddling the plate, but it was wide open.

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I think the argument could easily be made that he was "fielding" the ball at the time Holliday arrived at the plate.

That might hold some water if he hadn't set up with his foot planted directly in the baseline when the ball was still 200 feet away.

I think the umpires just don't call this type of obstruction any more. It's like pine tar, phantom double plays, and the strike zone. The rule book says one thing, and the umps interpret the rules another way.

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His foot was squarely covering the side of the plate where it intersects with the baseline as the runner was sliding.

It's obviously subjective of whether or not the plate was blocked to where Holliday couldn't get his hand on it. But it looked pretty much like Barrett moved his foot to block as he was receiving the ball.

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That might hold some water if he hadn't set up with his foot planted directly in the baseline when the ball was still 200 feet away.

I think the umpires just don't call this type of obstruction any more. It's like pine tar, phantom double plays, and the strike zone. The rule book says one thing, and the umps interpret the rules another way.

You are really stretching here, IMO. This was a game-winning play at the plate. Do you really expect an umpire to call obstruction on that play?

The catcher is actually "fielding" the ball as soon as the ball is on his way, no matter how far away the ball seems to be.

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That might hold some water if he hadn't set up with his foot planted directly in the baseline when the ball was still 200 feet away.

I think the umpires just don't call this type of obstruction any more. It's like pine tar, phantom double plays, and the strike zone. The rule book says one thing, and the umps interpret the rules another way.

I wonder if they ever did? They certainly do not call it much these days. You see catchers set up blocking the plate all the time. It is done by fielders at other bases, too. I know I used to do it all the time at second and third on steals.

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That might hold some water if he hadn't set up with his foot planted directly in the baseline when the ball was still 200 feet away.

I think the umpires just don't call this type of obstruction any more. It's like pine tar, phantom double plays, and the strike zone. The rule book says one thing, and the umps interpret the rules another way.

I have a hard time believing that the intent of the rule is to make this play obstruction, and that the umps simply don't call it according to the book (as with the other examples you cited).

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Has this rule ever been enforced? In all my life, I don't think I've ever seen an umpire make an obstruction call on a catcher. And I've definitely seen a lot of catchers block the plate without having the ball.

I don't know, but I do think I know the intent of the rule: it was written to keep fielders from physically blocking access to a base when they weren't in possession of the ball. Back in the 1890s baseball was a much rougher sport. It was commonplace for fielders to wrestle, block, grab, shove, and otherwise just get in the way of a runner while someone else went and found the ball. As part of the effort to clean up the game around the turn of the last century they made all this stuff illegal. You can't block access to any base unless you're holding the ball in your hand, or if you have to be in the baseline to field a ball. I'm pretty sure the interpretation at least used to be that "fielding a ball" meant a batted ball, not a thrown ball.

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I have a hard time believing that the intent of the rule is to make this play obstruction, and that the umps simply don't call it according to the book (as with the other examples you cited).

If they didn't mean it, why did they go out of their way to put this sentence in the official rules? The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score.

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If they didn't mean it, why did they go out of their way to put this sentence in the official rules? The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score.

Barrett didn't move his foot to block Holliday until he thought he had the ball. In this instance, to say Barrett is not allowed to do what he did is akin to saying he is not allowed to tag the runner. It would make for some pretty lame baseball if catchers were forced to stand completely clear of homeplate and merely swipe at the runner with one arm as he slides.

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Barrett didn't move his foot to block Holliday until he thought he had the ball. In this instance, to say Barrett is not allowed to do what he did is akin to saying he is not allowed to tag the runner. It would make for some pretty lame baseball if catchers were forced to stand completely clear of homeplate and merely swipe at the runner with one arm as he slides.

So long as you think you're going to have the ball pretty soon it's ok to dig yourself in, in front of the base, to physically restrict a runner from touching it?

I don't believe for a second that Barrett inadvertently placed his foot directly in the way of Holliday in the natural course of catching the ball. He put it there because catchers are taught to do everything in their power to keep the guy from scoring, whether they have the ball or not, because the umps don't enforce the rule.

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So long as you think you're going to have the ball pretty soon it's ok to dig yourself in, in front of the base, to physically restrict a runner from touching it?

I don't believe for a second that Barrett inadvertently placed his foot directly in the way of Holliday in the natural course of catching the ball. He put it there because catchers are taught to do everything in their power to keep the guy from scoring, whether they have the ball or not, because the umps don't enforce the rule.

The plate was wide open. Holliday had all the opportunity in the world to touch it. And Barrett didn't move his leg until the ball reached the plate.

How is a catcher supposed to catch the ball and tag out a runner if he's not allowed to crouch in the place where the ball and the runner both arrive: home plate.

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