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Discussion: How does your league handle this

Posted Discussion
May 11, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
How does your league handle this
I play in a 60+ league. I have played 3rd base and know that sometimes third basemen inadvertently interfere with base runners because they are looking at the outfield play and remain in the baseline. Yesterday a runner to third with a shot to score took the inside course and used his forearm to move the third basemen out of way. The runner did not in any way change his route and was w/in 1 foot of the baseline at all times. The third baseman took umbrage but in fact was not knocked down. Two questions:
1. Any problem with what the runner did?
2. Do any leagues have special rules on this? I have heard that some old guy leagues have rules that in no event can a runner contact a fielder and it is up to the ump to call interference and give the runner the next base. Comments please.
May 11, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
1. Really hard to say without actually seeing the contact.

2. Any interference call is completely up to the umpire to determine the level of interference that occured, and what the remedy should be if any. There are NO rules that automatically give a runner the next base when there is contact.

Just wondering, how slowly was the runner going if he stayed within "1 foot of the baseline at all times"? Natural momentum always, or should always, carry you outside of the true baseline to some extent.
May 11, 2012
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
No contact at all during play.
Runner is out.
Happened to me a few years ago going to second in same manner. Whoops, I was out.
May 11, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
Scott, you might have been called out on a play like this, but I don't think that was correct.

Contact cannot always be avoided, and if it is due to the improper positioning of the fielder how could that possibly be the runner's fault? Now if the contact was excessive, and like I said without seeing the play we cannot know that, that would be a different story. But if the fielder is at fault no way does the runner get punished.

If that is indeed a senior rule, add it to the list of silly rules seniors seem to like playing under.
May 11, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
The runner started the play on second so he was not wide at all. Runner's intent was to hit left front side of bag with right foot and then go a little past bag since league uses a 2nd home plate for scoring which is 8 feet to left field side of home. Restated, original description of where runner ran was correct. Gary 19, I am trying by encouraging discussion to determine what rules are "silly". In a league of mostly 65 and older what is not silly my be very silly for a 55 and under league. Trust me there are major physical changes after you are 60, each year.
Just for discussion, do you think that the double first base and/or the 2nd home plate for scoring are silly? For the record, I was the runner in question and my attitude is if I have the right of way I'm not changing direction. That said, I play very hard up to what is legal and in fact for safety have proposed allowing overrunning 2 and third and the no contact (by runner) rule both of which were rejected by our rules comittee. I don't care if the league allowed only wood bats as long as everyone was on the same footing. If contact while running is not an automatic out I will not avoid contact because the fielder is in the wrong position, intentionally or not. I will not, however, change my route to gratuitously cause contact.
May 11, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
Actually, yes. I understand safety and all that, and also understand the age factor in all of this. But when my kids were still playing hardball they used single first bases and home plates, in travel ball were allowed to wear metal spikes, and I don't remember a single injury caused by any of those. And those were 12 year old kids, not 50 year olds who should know how to slide and run bases.

Those aren't the worst of the rules, I live with them, but would live just as easily and well without them.

I think your approach to baserunning is correct. No runner should initiate contact, but also should not have to alter their legal route because some adult who should know better apparently doesn't. Not to mention what is to stop a fielder from intentionally getting in the way to either cause a collision which would result in an out, or at the very least cause the runner to take a wider, slower path to their next base?
May 11, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Like Gary19 says I'd have to see this play to make a judgement. Just from what you write I wouldn't call anything but I would tell the third baseman to watch himself from being in the runners way. Now the runneer tripped over the third baseman accidently or not I'd call obstruction and award that runner home. You mentioned the runner was within a foot of the baseline. That makes no difference here because the 3 ft rule out of the baseline call only applies if the ruuner is trying to avoid a tag. In your situation there wasn't a tag play so that runner could take nearly any route he wants to go to third.
May 11, 2012
Joncon
285 posts
"""The third baseman took umbrage but in fact was not knocked down"""

At over 60 years of age, 3B should know by now to pay attention to the game going on around him.

He should apologize to the runner.

That said, I have done it a few times.....kind of wandered off, watching the play. I'd recognize that it's MY FAULT, even if I landed face down in the dirt.

What does my league do? I've never seen a runner punished in this situation.
May 11, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
stick, my understanding is that a runner is only awarded the next base if, in the ump's opinion, he would have safely made that base if not for the obstruction. There is nothing automatic about it.

What if, by the time the trip occurs, the ball is already at the next base waiting for the runner? You think in this situation the runner gets the next base any way?

Do you see it differently? Or am I misunderstanding you?
May 11, 2012
taits
Men's 65
4305 posts
Gary, refer to your number 1.
However we only get one ump maybe once a month that actually moves out to make calls of any kind. And none of them know heights on either end of the pitch. But that is ok as long as they are consistent for both teams. Another story.
In any case our rule is just that, no contact.
I do agree it can't always be avoided but that was\is our rule then & now I believe. I haven't seen any issues like it this year.
May 11, 2012
Joncon
285 posts
If the a no contact rule is always on the runner, even honorable old guys would occaisionally take advantage of it. It gives the defenders free reign over the field of play.
May 11, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
Joncon, that is exactly correct, and not at all how it should be.
May 11, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Gary it could be synonomous with a runner rounding first and running into a firstbaseman. There he would get second if he continues to go toward second after. But you got me curious. In the situation described it's conceivable that a third baseman could be sneaky & trip or get in the way of a runner from second who might score easily to prevent that run from scoring. I'll ask my fellow umpires tomorrow when I see them.
To answer your question about the ball being there beofre the runner I'd say he at least gets the base he's going to. As far as the next base I'm not cefrtain. I may have misstated my position in the previous post I put up.
May 11, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
My understanding has always been that he gets as many bases as the ump believes he would have gotten if not for the obstruction, but no more. And nothing automatically just because the obstruction occured if the ump believes he would have been out without it.
May 11, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
That makes logical sense gary19 and the more I think about it I beleive your correct. If it was just the base you were going to you'd see thirdbasemen obstructing each runner looking to score from second.
May 11, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
I believe Gary19 correctly states the obstruction rule that the ump has discretion on awarding an extra base or not. I also agree that a non-contact rule could lead to abuse by the defense.
I also agree that with 1 or 2 umps it is unlikely that there is anyone will really see it unless the ball is involved. In fact in my case, with the 3rd baseman complaining about being elbowed the ump asked what happened and I explained it.
Joncon actually set forth the real problem. In plus 65 softball minds wander and guy end up where they shouldn't be. Last year a guy was seriously hurt (bad broken ankle) when he ended up standing 2 feet down the line toward first, facing the outfield, with his legs about 2 feet apart. The runner going into 2nd slide and in my opinion could have slide directly to the bag between the fielders leg. Instead the bottom of his lead foot hit the back of the fielder's leg, breaking the ankle. I had a good view and felt it was a cheap shot because I believe when you slide you know exactly where your leg is going and contact could have been easily avoided w/o jeopardizing being safe.
The point is that seniors will be in the wrong place and maybe a no contact rule makes sense to protect us from ourselves. I don't know and welcome comments. Remember a no contact rule does not obviate defensive obstruction and if a no contact rule is in effect, then umps should be made aware to look for obstruction.
May 12, 2012
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
597 posts
HJ, I ump but without seeing it or being in the league with their rules I will not go there since in "regular" softball the runner sets the base path, and the 3 feet only applies if someone tries to make a play. You are welcome to call me if you want more discussion. This is a good parking lot discussion also.

You asked about odd league rules. I met a team last weekend that said their league makes them use 26" bats which really messes up their real swing. This is supposed to be for safety.
May 13, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Gary19 your correct. In the situation described in the first post of this thread that runner would get home if the ump deemed he could have scored.
I had an interesting situation yesterday. USSSA Class C NIT championship game. 2 man system, I was behind the plate. Team A was complaining that everytime one of their players was on first base the first baseman was jumping up and down in front of the runner when they tagged up on a fly ball. All he was doing was trying to block the runners view on the catch so that runner might leave early or might not advance. IMV that's nothing unless he physically interferes with the runner advancing which he did not do. They wanted interference, sorry no dice. Smart play by the first baseman.
May 13, 2012
HJ
Men's 70
432 posts
Stick8, I am not a certified ump and would like to hear from one who disagrees w/you. That said, the rules I have read give the ump discretion on sportsmanship and behavior. From my POV, the player should have been warned to desist and then
thrown out of the game if he did it again. It is intentional bad behavior, poor sportmsanship and wrong and should be dealt with. To me it is like like quick pitching, with a warning and then banishment for the second infraction.
I am waiting to see if there are more comments to the general discussion and then will comment.
May 13, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
stick, good call. Do you think they were complaining because they really thought that was illegal, or they were just trying to "steal" a call?

HJ, the game is based on gamesmanship, which stick's story certainly falls within. No problem with that at all.
May 13, 2012
Nancy Allen
Men's 55
597 posts
HJ, Utrip is very different from other types of softball, and deception is definitely part of the game for them; so this is not unusual especially given the moves, motions, and tricks that the pitcher does. That being said even for non Utrip play, I see nothing unsportsmanlike about it. In the game you take every little advantage that you can. I am a chatterer when playing or scorekeeping. So I could be accused of verbal interference but have not had it called on me. I am no different than that first baseman, but he has a more subtle approach. As far as that quick pitch, just ask for time in the box. I try to stop that umping as much as possible except in Utrip where it is part of their game.
May 14, 2012
Garocket
Men's 55
141 posts
About the 1st baseman waving his arms
In ASA and ISA not sure about Seniors but they follow ASA pretty close

Obstruction: Obstruction is the act of a fielder Not in possesion of the ball which impedes the progress of a batter runner or runner who is legally running the bases

As an umprire I would say jumping up and down so the base runner, cannot see the catch is impeding the runners progress to advance as a runner.

No different than a runner stopping in front of a ground ball and getting in front of the defensive player and jumping up and down to block his view, we all know that is always interference
May 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
Where I have played it is a somewhat common practice to hesitate just a bit in front of a grounder so as to screen/distract a fielder from clearly seeing the ball. Of course you cannot physically obstruct, but blocking his view just a bit has never been a problem that I have seen.

Again, gamesmanship has always been a part of the game.
May 14, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Gary they were just trying to steal a call as do most teams at that level. Just trying to get an edge any way they can.
May 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
I was hoping that was the case. =)
May 14, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
HJ, if your referring to the scenario in the first post of this thread then yes I would mention to the thirdbaseman to watch himself as not to be in the runners path--not only to avoid being called for obstruction but so neither the fielder or the runner get injured.
If your referring to the scenario that I had over the weekend there was no reason to warn that firstbaseman. As Gary stated that's gamesmanship.
As far as quick pitching from a USSSA perspective it's referred to as "unfairly delivered"--no pause. But we don't call it until after the pitch crosses the plate. If the batter elects to swing at the pitch then it's game on. Nancy is correct in the remedy for that--ask the ump for time so you can get set.
May 14, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Garocket I'm not so sure about that. The firstbaseman can do what he wants as long as when that runner tags up and advances he doesn't directly run into him. In most cases for obstruction to be called contact has to be made.
As far as the ground ball as long as the runner doesn't make contact with the fielder attempting to field the ball the runner is ok. If I'm on second and a grounder is coming toward where a 5th infielder is playing I'll get in the path of the ball to block the fielders vision and then move out of the way at the last second. That's not interference, that's gamesmanship. It's only interference if contact is made.
May 14, 2012
Garocket
Men's 55
141 posts
Stck you are wrong, contact does no have to be made for obstruction. If the 1st baseman stands in the way of a runner and the runner has to go around him to get to the next base , that is obstruction.
In the other post if the runner stops in front of the defensive player and jumps up and down and waves his arms that is interference.

Sure would not want you two umpiring my game.

Not saying that I am always right, but umpired
at all level of play and I am very confident in my rules knowledge, and you can bet both scenerio's mention above and it is obstruction on the 1st baseman and would be interference on the runner jumping up and down waving his arms in front of a defensive player.

Contact any UIC from the associations and they will tell you the same thing

After 7 ASA National Chamionships with 5 of them being in the Major or Super divisions, you better know your rules, cause them guys will test your knowledge in a heart beat
May 14, 2012
Gary19
Men's 50
2617 posts
Garocket, that is different. Though in that case the runner should initiate contact with the fielder, and make sure it is visible to the umpire.

stick, you can ump my games anytime. You understand that this is not t-ball, or a girl scout picnic. They are games meant to try and be won, or there would not be scorebooks and scoreboards.
May 14, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Garocket allow me to first point out that I'm not and never have been an ASA umpire. I have not read their rulebook and by that I will concede it's entirely plausible that ASA has different rules than USSSA does in the scenarios under discussion. I will also point out you put up two different scenarios. One was: "As an umprire I would say jumping up and down so the base runner cannot see the catch is impeding the runners progress to advance as a runner" The other was: "If the 1st baseman stands in the way of a runner and the runner has to go around him to get to the next base, that is obstruction." In the first one the runner is still on the bag trying to view a catch so he doesn't leave early. How can progress be impeded if the runner is still on the bag? The second one has the runner leaving the bag and the firstbaseman being in his way. It's possible there could be obstruction on that play but that would be a judgement call in USSSA. As I stated ASA might be different.
You also stated: "Stck you are wrong, contact does no have to be made for obstruction." That is not what I wrote. Please note that I wrote: "IN MOST CASES for obstruction to be called contact has to be made" That doesn't mean all cases.
Your right about coaches and managers testing your knowledge. I happen to personally know one of the coaches of Resmondo/Specialty Tank and I can almost say with certainty if you called obstruction on the firstbaseman in the scenario I had this past Saturday he would be all over you like nobodys business.
May 14, 2012
stick8
1261 posts
Gary your exactly right when you say games are meant to try and be won. Otherwise why keep score, why have umpires, why pay entry fee or league fee?
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