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Discussion: Obstruction or OK

Posted Discussion
May 3, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Obstruction or OK
Our league of old guys plays by ASA rules except if the league has a specific rule. That is not applicable here, so ASA rules.
Basic question. Guy on first less than 2 outs. Ball hit on ground to SS who throws to the second baseman covering second.
The runner does not slide. The ball arrives early at second. The runner does nothing else to obstruct but runs directly to second base right at the second baseman.
Last year I was told by an ump I would be called for obstruction if I stayed up and failed to move to the right out of the 2nd baseman's line of throw to first as long as the ball got to 2nd before me.
Today after the game I spoke to another ump who said the runner
could run right into the 2nd baseman as long as he ran right to the bag and didn't do anything with his hands to obstruct. This
ump also said the runner runs at his own risk if he stays in the line of the throw and stays up and the 2nd baseman could nail him with the ball.
W/o my own opinion, I would like to know the answer from someone who actually knows the ASA rules which are probably applicable to most other organizations absent special protective rules.
Thank you
May 3, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Second ump is correct.

And throwing the ball through the runner the first time he does that will teach him and his teammates not to stand in the way again. The ump is correct on that as well.
May 3, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
The second umpire you asked to is exactly correct. This is strictly a judgement call by the umpire. And in the umpires judgement if the baserunner did nothing to interfere--throw his hands or arms up, shift his body right or left in the path of the throw, throw his leg out toward the throw--then there is no interfernece. Also remember there is no rule that I'm aware of that specifically states base runners must slide or give themselves up.
May 3, 2012
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
597 posts
HJ, the first umpire needs a lesson in liability. If an umpire or an association were to tell a player that they had to slide, and then that player was injured due to sliding, they would be liable for that injury. Of course this is one of the biggest myths in softball. This is why "avoid contact" or some variation of that is the standard.
May 3, 2012
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
597 posts
P.S.
Obstruction = runners
Interference = fielders
May 3, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
Nancy, maybe you are speaking as a product of an overly-litigious society, but (a) no one is telling anyone they have to slide, they would just have to move out of the way however they legally choose to do so, and (b) even if they were telling them to slide how are they any more liable than a coach who tells a runner to slide?
May 3, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Thank you for your comments. First ump was not advocating sliding, just explaining in his opinion what a non-sliding runner had to do. The complication in our league is that if you threw the ball and intentionally hit the runner you would probably be banned from the league. Perhaps the first ump knew that hitting the runner wouldn't cut it so he protects the fielder by insisting the runner break off. Gary 19, did you ever see a guy hit by the ball since he stayed in
the way? In "real" baseball the second umps' approach works, I don't know if it works in a senior league with a 60 minimum age. I personally like the second ump approach, but think for my league the first approach should be the rule and in writing.
May 4, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
HJ, yes I have. Close to 20 years ago. Our SS gave the baserunner a warning the first time he came in standing in the baseline. The next time he simply through the ball to first as he normally would and caught the guy in the forehead.
May 4, 2012
JT9
Men's 55
33 posts
As well as the SS/2B should be aware that they can be taken out to break up the double play.
Just good hard ball the way it was supposed to be played. Right? Why the warning?
May 4, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2615 posts
JT, I agree, but this runner was nowhere near the base for a "takeout", he was just a dope who wanted to sacrifice his head.

Our SS at the time had pitched AAA with the Braves with Glavine and others, and had been a replacement player back in the early 90s. He was just trying to be nice to the guy and give him a heads-up, but the guy didn't listen and wound up with his head-down on the ground.
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