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Discussion: 3rd Base Commitment line

Posted Discussion
Jan. 28, 2021
OZ40
541 posts
3rd Base Commitment line
Our league has the halfway commitment line between 3rd and home, once the runner crosses it he MUST continue to the scoring line and the catcher or defensive player must have a foot on the strike mat and catch the ball to register a put out. We went over this scenario yesterday in our league zoom meeting. We are merging with another league and trying to codify our 'house rules'.

There are less than 2 outs runners on 1st and 3rd. Batter hits loopy short fly that falls in. Quick throw home is off line, catcher moves up the line to stop the throw, mild brush with runner from third but no tag attempt is made. Is runner automatically safe or does play continue? 2.) Baserunner that was on first attained second and then third during the play. If call is that runner going home is automatically safe due to light contact does the runner who attained third get a 1 base award, stay at third, or go back to second? If the rules states the defensive player (catcher or someone covering the strike mat play at home) cannot have contact with runner once he crosses the commitment line is the light brush with the catcher considered incidental or reason to call the runner safe? Umpire judgement call?

Jan. 28, 2021
lb16
Men's 50
163 posts
If catcher moves off of mat to catch ball and brushes runner going home with body not glove with ball in it there should be a no call if runner tags safety mat or crosses scoring line before catcher tags plate runner is safe. If catcher brushed runner with glove with ball in it runner should be called safe. Other runner would stay at base attained before tag.
Jan. 28, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
I agree with lb16 ... except that when the fielder brushed up against the runner I would have an obstruction call just in case the runner for some reason wasnít able to get to the scoring line before catcher got back to the strike mat
Jan. 29, 2021
rmp0012002
Men's 50
23 posts
Most runners are usually far enough away from the baseline going towards home but if the catcher moves up the line and is in the process of fielding the throw and brushes the runner I would call the runner safe. I wouldnít call obstruction. If he passed the commitment line and the catcher is not touching the plate/mat the runner is just safe. Pretty much all scenarios I would call the runner is safe unless the runner didnít veer to the safety plate.
Jan. 29, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
rmp... how do you call a runner safe if he is not illegally tagged? can you cite the rule you are using?

what if the catcher never caught the ball but brushed into him you'd still call him safe?
Jan. 31, 2021
DCPete
395 posts
There should always be a provision for Incidental Contact just like for plays at 1st base when the throw is off line.
Jan. 31, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
DCPete.. there are 2 provisions they are called Interference or Obstruction and neither offense have to be intentional ... if the defense makes a bad throw that is off line and the fielder brushes into the runner as he is chasing down the errant throw I would have OBS. which is exactly what happened in the above scenario the OBS. call protects the runner to the plate... if a defensive player was making a play on a batted ball or a good thrown ball and the runner brushed the fielder I would have INT.
Jan. 31, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3290 posts
DC Pete ... There's also an unstated third option that many times is the most appropriate ... It's known as "meaningless incidental contact" not rising to a level of significance requiring any call other than, maybe, "play on" ... Good luck this season ... Play SAFE and have fun! ...
Jan. 31, 2021
stick8
1853 posts
Oz, since Iím in this league with you allow me to provide my take on how Tom Matte taught us the principles:
1) Runner is not automatically safe because there was no attempt to tag him. Play continues. I presume mild brush to mean the catcher didnt impede the runner, didnt knock him off stride or didnít knock him down. I have nothing on your scenario.
Should one of the three occur then i have obstruction on the catcher. Left arm out, play goes on.
Itís all in the judgement of the umpire.
2) Since itís still a live ball, play continues so if that runner gets to third, heís ok.
3) A light brush that doesnít affect the play is incidental contact.

I think it would behoove the brass of our league to also keep in mind that a runner cannot interfere with a fielder making an attempt to field a ball. He must avoid that fielder or be subjected to being called for interference.
The umpires who ump our league should know this but itís a good idea to review this with them and point out that the rules apply to plays at home. Of course this is judgement of the umpire.

I mention Tom Matte because a bunch of us came up at the same time and we all learned from him. I donít think he was familiar with the rules of how a put out at home works in senior ball but if he was alive today Iím sure Mike would try to recruit him to use as UIC for his tourneys. Tom would make it his business to know the whole rule book inside out!
He would tell us that the same principles of obstruction and interference apply in the scenarios you posed.
Jan. 31, 2021
OZ40
541 posts
Sticckkkk, you got this one? Tom was great guy. He was my boss too along with Charlie Johnson. I was assigned to watch Dwayne Postavich and he was nice enough to watch and critique the first few games I umped. Yep, that was way back at the Softball City, good times!
Jan. 31, 2021
Omar Khayyam
1346 posts
I have a related question for a play that I was part of.

I'm on second, a runner is on first. One away. Ground ball hit near to pitcher and on his right. Shortstop playing very deep (good arm).

I'm watching to see if pitcher fields ball or boots it with chance for me to go to third then home. I am running at the crack of the bat because of potential force at third.

BOOM! Shortstop rushing in from his position and he hits me from behind on right shoulder and side. We both go flying. Ball goes through into left center. Umpire says nothing and I get to my feet and scramble to third before ball is retrieved by outfielder. Should I have been out for interference? I had no idea shortstop would come rushing up out of my vision.
Jan. 31, 2021
Omar Khayyam
1346 posts
By the way, shortstop apologizes to me after the play because he knew I didn't see him (and he outweighed me by 50 pounds).
Feb. 1, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
omar.. as you describe the play it sounds like the SS had a chance to make a play I would have called INT.

1.45 ē INTERFERENCE
Interference is the act of an offensive player or team member that impedes or confuses a defensive player attempting to execute a play. A base runner MUST
AVOID a fielder making a play.
Feb. 1, 2021
stick8
1853 posts
Oz, If Matte had you watch Dwayne you were watching one of the best! I worked with him a few times before he passed and I was in awe of how easy he made it look. I once asked Dwayne about that and he stated ďit isnít easy, trust me!Ē He was 100% spot on.
Tom told a bunch of us at a clinic that in a one man there isnít one call you canít make if you get your butt out from behind the plate in the middle of the diamond.
Heís also the one who encouraged me to try umpiring.

Feb. 2, 2021
Wayne 37
Men's 65
773 posts
Well, someone has been listening to my advice. Kudos to Dave! A little brush with runner and fielder should never result in an obstruction call, just in case. Or interference for that matter. Talk about overreacting. Good catch, rmp0012002!

As i have maintained prior, a good thing to do is signal a a little safe sign and verbalize, "That's nothing." Or "I've got nothing."

And Omar, you should have been called out for interference and the seceding runner should have been ruled out as well.

Obstruction is a delayed dead ball and interference is an immediate dead ball.

Didn't Tom Matte play for the Baltimore Colts?
Feb. 3, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
wayne just for info: you said.. (And Omar, you should have been called out for interference and the seceding runner should have been ruled out as well.) yes on the INT. call... BUT the "succeeding" runner should only be called out if in the umpires judgment the defense could have gotten a second out
Feb. 4, 2021
Wayne 37
Men's 65
773 posts
Spellchecker on my (new) phone let me down. Believe me, in a situation as the one Omar described, I'm getting two every single time.

And in the OP, I'm getting two also. Is that a problem for you?

The rulebook doesn't describe what legal contact is either. I suppose that is my judgment too?

Help me, Jesus!!
Feb. 7, 2021
Rumplestilskin
5 posts
With regard to the original query, a runner has an obligation to avoid a defender making a play, including receiving a throw. This was apparently however slight and incidental contact without any indication that the runner could avoid the catcher. The query does not go further. The runner could not reverse back beyond the commitment line or he would be automatically out. But assuming he continued and scored on the scoring base before the catcher could recover and touch the plate, he would be safe. Now, assuming the runner intentionallly ran over the catcher attempting to catch a throw, the runner could be called out for interference. Similarly, if the catcher impeded the runner while NOT making a play or receiving a throw, the runner could be called safe at home for obstruction. You need to look at the rules relating to the commit line, interference and obstruction, coupled with the CLEAR MANDATE that a runner make "every effort" to avoid a collision.Finally, if the runner DID deviate to avoid colliding with the defender, he could be awarded the base. This is a judgment call by the umpire. The runner has the OBLIGATION to avoid the defender for the reason that the defender is concentrating on receiving the ball or making a play. SAFETY is the RULE.
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