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Discussion: When sliding is NOT an option

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Feb. 16, 2021
Randall
37 posts
When sliding is NOT an option
Rule 8.6 states that a player must do whatever is possible to avoid a collision. I umpired a womenís senior game yesterday and the R1 ran to second base on a force out, collided with a fielder attempting to take the throw, she was not able to catch the ball as a result of the collision (my ruling). I called the runner out because of interference. After reviewing my call, Rule 8.6 states on the heading WHEN SLIDING IS OPTIONAL. These girls are not allowed to slide. This was a case of a hustling runner trying to beat a throw, going standing up at second base and contacting the fielder attempting to make a catch. Was my ruling correct?
Feb. 16, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
randall.. it depends on where the fielder was positioned awaiting the throw.. if she was standing in the middle of the bag I would not have had INT. on the runner.. also if they are using SSUSA rules the runner is allowed to run by the bag in order to avoid a collision and if in your judgment she beat the throw then you call her safe
Feb. 16, 2021
Donna McGuire
12 posts
There is a fine line between obstruction and interference on some plays at the bases. The National Rules Committee tweaked the obstruction rule this year to try to prevent some of the collisions that have been happening. Yes, the runner has the play in front of him or her and should try as best possible to avoid the collision. But if the defender isnít fielding a batted ball, or isnít in possession of the ball, he cannot block the base. Our tweaked rule took out the obstruction definition language ďabout to receive a throw,Ē which ASA (now USA Softball) did some years ago. So to answer Randallís question, the call would depend on the totality of the circumstances. If the fielder was blocking the base without the ball while awaiting the throw, the correct call is obstruction; award the runner the base. Let the fielder know she cannot block the base without possession of the ball. Reminder the runner she can run to the side of the base to avoid a collision and still be called safe. However, if a runner has room to avoid the contact, and intentionally plows into the fielder instead, that changes things. Now you have an ejection.
Feb. 16, 2021
Randall
37 posts
The defender was not blocking the base. The runner could have avoided her. The offensive coach claimed that the runner has as much right to the base as the defense. I ruled that because there was a collision the runner was out. The contact caused the ball to not be caught please give me more insight. Thanks
Feb. 17, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
randall.. you've been given plenty of insight and had the rule explained to you.. it boils down to umpire judgment on how you saw the play
Feb. 17, 2021
stick8
1853 posts
Randall,
It sounds like you made the right call but Iíd have to see the play to 100% confirm it.
1) if the fielder is behind, to right of or to the left of second base and gets plowed over by the runner I would have interference on the runner.
2) if the fielder is standing in the middle of the bag and got plowed over I have nothing unless the runner intentionally plowed the fielder over, in my judgement.
3) if the fielder is in front of the bag and gets plowed over I have obstruction on the fielder.
These are strictly judgement calls.
Keep in mind as we age into our 50s,60s and 70s it gets tougher and tougher to stop on a dime, twist, contort or pretzel your way safely on the bag without colliding on a bang bang type play.
A winter indoor league I used to play in years ago had a no slide rule but also had a rule where you could run to the side of 2nd or 3rd and overrun the bag. As long as you went straight out and didnít make a turn toward the next base you were ok. At first it was odd but after a while we got used to it and it actually worked out pretty well avoiding collisions.
Randall, since there is a no slide rule in the league you reference maybe you can suggest this to those who run the league? Just a thought
Feb. 21, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
71 posts
Randall - you made the correct call, good job, runner is out based on the information as described in your original post.

Don't try to read too much into the heading of rule 8.6. The heading is a two part rule - 8.6 WHEN SLIDING IS OPTIONAL - AVOIDING COLLISIONS

The rule is giving definition to the two bases, first and home, that typically in the past, have the most potential for collisions to occur, hence the new rules for a double bag at first and a separate scoring plate or line at home. So runners are only allowed to slide or dive into 1st or home/scoring line to avoid a collision, these permitted exceptions are umpire judgment only, not subject to appeal or protest.

the next sentence in rule 8.6, "A player may slide or dive into
second or third bases, or when returning to any base." does not apply to your Sr Women's league as sliding is banned per your original post.

Now the next three sentences in the rule take over for the runner and the umpire.

The runner - "A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with opposing players while running the bases or sliding or diving"

The runner and the umpire - "If in the umpire's judgment a runner misses a base to avoid a collision, the runner will not be called out." Clearly gives the runner the opportunity to miss the bag, avoid contact with the defender, and still be considered safe.

This is further supported by 8.7(4) ē AVOIDING COLLISIONS - A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with opposing players while running the bases. If, in the umpireís judgment, a runner misses a base to avoid a collision with a defensive player, the runner will not be called out. (See
ß8.6.)

Again, Clear that the runner is allowed to miss a base to avoid a collision with a defensive player and THE RUNNER WILL NOT BE CALLED OUT.

Lastly, for the umpire - "If in the umpireís judgment the runner fails to avoid a collision with a defensive player involved in the play, the ball will be declared dead and that runner called out."

stick8 - after reading your post, you highlighted three different scenarios with different outcomes 1) 2) 3) above in your post, but i disagree with your rulings as all three state that the fielder "got plowed over" so in applying the rules given to the umpire in all three of these instances, even though the rules give leeway for umpire judgment, maybe you would change those rulings to OUT for all three, given the depth and breadth of the rules as stated. REFERENCE 8.6 & 8.7(4)



Feb. 21, 2021
stick8
1853 posts
Turning2, the sentence after my scenarios reads: ďthese are strictly judgement callsĒ
Thatís the bottom line: judgement
Iím happy to engage in discussion and I can say on a certain play described to me on here it sounds like the umpire made the right call (as in Randallís example) or wasnt wrong but I always say Iíd have to see the play to make a definite call or judgement.
I donít know of any umpire who can make a definite call or definite judgement on a play that they donít see.
Feb. 21, 2021
DaveDowell
Men's 65
3290 posts
I'm going to hook my wagon to the horse that has about 80 times as many rules issue contributions here (stick8) as the other guy (Turning2) ... Thanks stick8, this circumstance truly is the definition of a judgment call ...
Feb. 21, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
turning2.. you have a right to your opinion on INT or OBS but I do believe you are heavily biased toward the INT side from what I have read in past posts..

read the new rule for 2021 on OBS below the OP said the runner collided with a fielder attempting to take the throw, she was not able to catch the ball as a result of the collision (my ruling)

so 1st the facts of the play.. we do know the fielder was on the bag without the ball and we also know that the runner beat the throw to the bag.. that is what was posted above .. what we don't know is where the fielder was positioned on the bag and also where was the actual throw was it almost in her glove or was it still 5 to 10 ft away from the fielder ??? it's impossible to give an accurate response when you DO NOT KNOW ALL THE FACTS.. so assuming the umpire knows what the INT and OBS rules are it then does come down to umpire judgment on what he/she believes they saw

Obstruction: Defenders no longer can block a base legally while waiting on a throw to arrive. Now, to avoid being called for obstruction for impeding a runner legally running the bases, a defender must have possession of the ball or be in the act of fielding a batted ball. This should help reduce collisions at the bases.
Feb. 22, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
71 posts
stick8, DaveDowell, B.J. - looks and sounds like you guys have been running together for a long time, I like that

Guys, my ruling is based on the description "plowed over" used three times above in previous post, OUT all three times because of the written rule:

8.7(4) ē AVOIDING COLLISIONS - A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with opposing players while running the bases

a fielder does not get plowed over if a runner adheres to the rule above

It takes at least two people to argue, i'm not arguing, simply applying the rule book in "my umpire's judgment call"

Dave - my guess from some of your early posts is that you are a moderator and sometimes "referee" for this website forum, a job i don't envy

you're well within your right to state that you side with a poster that has many, many more posts to rules discussions than i have. There is only one circumstance in the situation that, in my opinion, needs very little judgment, "plowed over" doesn't happen when the runner makes every effort to avoid colliding with defensive player while running the basis, once again, OUT

B.J. No, i'm not biased heavily toward INT, just the rule book to use as a basis for making a judgment call when repeatedly the phrase "plowed over" is used, and also when a poster, I'll call him your nemesis, states "and if i do slide, i have every right to take him (2nd basement) out"

When either of these instances occur the evidence in front of the umpire using the rule book, as written, and his judgment garnered from years of umpiring dictate his judgment call. My call in each of these instances is to call the runner out because he/she did not make every effort to avoid a collision with a fielder while running the bases. If either of you see this differently then it is based on YOUR judgment of the play.




Feb. 22, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
turning2 yes you are correct we have been around for a while.. and trust me I'm still trying to teach Dave the way softball rules should be written with no GRAY areas ...lol...

I understand Rule 8.7 (4) and have called runners out numerous times for INT. ... my point is the OP did not give enough info. for just 1 and only 1 answer.. the OP didn't say what the position of the fielder was on the bag and where the throw was at the time of the collision..

you never want tunnel vision on here when reading posts.. remember a fielder that is standing on the bag (and not positioned like a 1st baseman) without possession of the ball or waiting to immediately catch the ball is obstructing the runner from the bag..

so if in my judgment the fielder was on the bag and was immediately receiving the ball and was run into.. yes I would have INT... if the fielder was on the bag and was not immediately receiving the ball and was run into I would have OBS. here's what is forgotten in senior softball sometimes.. the base actually belongs to the runner it's the safe haven.. a fielder making a play is suppose to catch the ball and cross over the bag and touch the bag as they cross over it... way to many times a fielder camps out on top of the bag waiting for the throw
Feb. 22, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
71 posts
B.J. - good answer and info, thx. Iím not versed on the base being a safe haven for the runner, so more for me to learn about the Sr game/rules.

One would think that the ability to run through the bag (to the outfield side) at second and third without actually touching the base would always afford the runner the fastest and safest way to beat out a throw. I agree with you, in the heat of the game usually all the runner can think about is........let me get to the bag as quickly as I can and on the defensive side the fielder thinks.....please let me catch this throw before the runner gets here, omitting the part of catching and continuing typically to inside of the base path and out of the way.

Canít remember which poster made the comment that now with the middle fielder maybe there is more ďcamping outĒ on the bag waiting for the throw which is another negative in these bang/bang plays.

Thanks for your responses and comments, whether the good, the bad, or the ugly, the opportunity to listen to other perspectives is always healthy.
Feb. 22, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
T2.. it's just good to have a NICE debate back and forth
looking forward to many in the future.. stay safe
Feb. 22, 2021
stick8
1853 posts
Turning2 I understand and agree with most of what you say. Thereís one that I have a slignt disagreement with. A runner can do everything they can do to avoid collisions with opposing players while running the bases but still end up plowing a fielder over, when trying to stop at a base with a play being made.
Feb. 22, 2021
Turning2
Men's 70
71 posts
Stick8 - Weíre getting there and the discussions are fun. So for me, considering that for 70 I can still run pretty quick, I either have to slide, or throttle down enough so that when I stop at the bag still standing that I donít kill the fielder or myself!!!!

I still play in a 55 - 65 group which donít allow missing or over running the bag. The next two groups mostly 65 -75 and then 75 and above or anyone that canít play to the preceding skill level all have the run through rule at 2nd and 3rd so there should never be a sticky call.........and soon as I would say never, something strange would jump up and bite us all. :)



Feb. 22, 2021
stick8
1853 posts
Youre fortunate you have the ability to do that Turning2. Not many at 70 and above can do that!
March 14, 2021
Michael Plunkett
Men's 65
27 posts
I have to make one comment about the local rules that sometimes allow for a runner to run at full speed pass a base. (Not referring to avoid contact per existing rules).

The arbitrary run by rule some locals apply is a terrible and dangerous rule that has resulted in serious injuries to infielders. And just because it has not occurred in your local doesnít mean it wonít because it obviously will and it will seriously hurt someone.

The rule assumes runners run where theyíre supposed to (which they dont) infielders know where theyíre going to be in a accepting a throw (which they donít) and both tuner abd fielder KNOW THE RULE (which they donít). The idea that none of these variables will occur is foolish.

Far too often that does not accrue resulting in serious injuries. (Dislocated shoulders and anything else that can happens will a 200 pound man runs full speed into another man standing still and defenseless).

Any local rule that encourages a runner to run full speed through a base any time said runner wants to (unless avoiding a fielder which also implies runner is slowing down as approaching the base) is inherently dangerous and stupid.

SSUSA should put out an advisory to local organizations in opposition to this dangerous rule. Infielders get serious hurt because of this. The standard is not if your local, who may have the rule, has had an injury but does not the logical of the rule make it inherently dangerous without regard as to if youíve seen it happened or not.
March 14, 2021
B.J.
825 posts
Michael.. I don't believe SSUSA will do that since they basically have the same rule which I posted below..

One of the problems with senior ball especially league ball is that they play with the extra infielder (MI) who is just a few steps from 2nd base and when the batter hits a ground ball the MI moves directly to the bag and many times plops themselves right in the middle of the bag waiting for a throw from an infielder which causes many of these collisions

8.7(4) ē AVOIDING COLLISIONS
A runner must make every effort to avoid colliding with opposing players while running the bases. If, in the umpireís judgment, a runner misses a base to avoid a collision with a defensive player, the runner will not be called out. (Seeß8.6.)
March 16, 2021
Michael Plunkett
Men's 65
27 posts
That you BJ but I was referring to OTHER THAN AVOIDING A COLLISIONS.
This local run-by is not to avoid collisions but to generally avoid fielders even if there is no risk of collision. This local run-by is not a SSUSA rule thank God.
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