A thread for the umps...what would you do’s, oddball plays, war stories

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May 29, 2015
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Interesting ending to Cardinals vs Reds game just now. Cardinals baserunner at 3rd run a diagonal from a few feet foul to a few feet fair to block the throw from 3B to home. Ball bounces of baserunner and Cards win 1-0. Apparently legal, but seems wrong….



My son (who also umpires and is good at it) and I were just arguing this one. He has interference, I have it clean.

OBR (Official Baseball Rules) requires interference with a thrown ball to be intentional. While the runner gives a glance back on the hit, he turns and focuses ahead before the throw is made and never looks at the throw. While the move inside puts him more in the firing line, I don't see intent specific to the path of the throw.

My son is arguing moving to the inside was intent enough.

Here's another observation: anybody else see obstruction on the catcher? He sets up before the throw and blocks off the entire plate. Potentially could be what caused the change of path.
 
Jul 22, 2015
759
93

My son (who also umpires and is good at it) and I were just arguing this one. He has interference, I have it clean.

OBR (Official Baseball Rules) requires interference with a thrown ball to be intentional. While the runner gives a glance back on the hit, he turns and focuses ahead before the throw is made and never looks at the throw. While the move inside puts him more in the firing line, I don't see intent specific to the path of the throw.

My son is arguing moving to the inside was intent enough.

Here's another observation: anybody else see obstruction on the catcher? He sets up before the throw and blocks off the entire plate. Potentially could be what caused the change of path.
I don't see any way you can call interference on that. Has to be intentional, and he is allowed to establish his own path to the plate. Was he trying to make the throw tougher? Of course. But can you actually say he intentionally interfered when he couldn't even see the throw? I don't think so. This is one of those "looks like something so it has to be" plays. BTW, absolutely obstruction.
 
May 29, 2015
2,640
113
Interesting tidbit that has no impact on the play ...

The fielder making the play is the left fielder. A shift was on (which will be illegal next year in MLB). You can see in the video there are three fielders lined up between second and third.
 
Jan 8, 2019
476
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I could agree with either call on this (judgement, after all), but I have to say, he may not have been able to see the throw, but he most certainly identified the target and very obviously placed himself in the most likely path of it. In most youth levels, this is a dice roll at best, but in MLB, he had more than a good idea that he was going to take it in the back somewhere. So, I think I would lean toward intentional, but who knows when you’re in the moment.
 
May 27, 2022
176
43
It's that time of year that I'm reminded that 12U-C (USSSA) has a lot of new coaches as well as players and some new rules come into effect.

1. Girl gets a walk, rounds first and stops (off the base) to look at the pitcher who has the ball. I call her out. Coach is confused and I 'get' to explain the look back rule.

2. Runner at first, 2 outs, dropped third strike. I signal strike and then safe and then just wait in my position and watch. The batter kind of runs to first. The catcher is standing around me with the ball looking confused. The 1st/3rd base coaches are quizzically looking at me. The batter finally veers off and walks into the dugout at which time I signal out. Then, I explain that dropped third strike applies, even with a runner on first, if there are 2 outs.

3. Runner at second, pop fly behind the pitcher. The runner gets off to the point she is directly between the SS and where the ball is going. The SS runs around the runner and misses the ball. I call the runner out for interference. The coach asks me "is my runner supposed to run around the SS"? I answer "yes". He then asks "won't she be out for being out of the baseline"? I answer that there isn't a baseline until she is being played on. He is just confused at that point.
 
Jun 20, 2015
556
63
1. Girl gets a walk, rounds first and stops (off the base) to look at the pitcher who has the ball. I call her out. Coach is confused and I 'get' to explain the look back rule..

actually, can't she stop once and then return or continue to 2b, before being called out???
 
Mar 1, 2013
341
43
1. Girl gets a walk, rounds first and stops (off the base) to look at the pitcher who has the ball. I call her out. Coach is confused and I 'get' to explain the look back rule..

actually, can't she stop once and then return or continue to 2b, before being called out???
The wording of the LBR says, "Immediately". That is a bit open to interpretation and many umpires have a mental timer on this. Basically, "no camping".
 
Jun 6, 2016
2,192
113
Chicago
Interesting tidbit that has no impact on the play ...

The fielder making the play is the left fielder. A shift was on (which will be illegal next year in MLB). You can see in the video there are three fielders lined up between second and third.

Moving an outfielder into the infield will be 100% legal next year as long as there are at least two infielders on the dirt at the time of the pitch. It looks like they have 3 on the left and 2 on the right.

The rule as far as I understand it prohibits 4 outfielders, but it does not prohibit 5 infielders.


My son (who also umpires and is good at it) and I were just arguing this one. He has interference, I have it clean.

OBR (Official Baseball Rules) requires interference with a thrown ball to be intentional. While the runner gives a glance back on the hit, he turns and focuses ahead before the throw is made and never looks at the throw. While the move inside puts him more in the firing line, I don't see intent specific to the path of the throw.

My son is arguing moving to the inside was intent enough.

Here's another observation: anybody else see obstruction on the catcher? He sets up before the throw and blocks off the entire plate. Potentially could be what caused the change of path.

The onus to find a clear path is on the defense (we know this is true because, as a default, a runner getting hit with a throw is a live ball). The runner is still running toward home plate.. He moves into what ended up being the throwing lane before the ball is thrown, which means the defense could have and should have found a better throwing lane. I don't think there's any reasonable argument for calling the runner out here.

You can't logically argue the runner intentionally interfered with a throw when the act that was "intentional" came before any throw was made. There was literally no throw to interfere with at the time he veered into fair territory.
 
May 27, 2022
176
43
The wording of the LBR says, "Immediately". That is a bit open to interpretation and many umpires have a mental timer on this. Basically, "no camping".
1. Girl gets a walk, rounds first and stops (off the base) to look at the pitcher who has the ball. I call her out. Coach is confused and I 'get' to explain the look back rule..

actually, can't she stop once and then return or continue to 2b, before being called out???

i agree it's not a camping type event, but rounding and just stopping in and of itself, cannot be LBR violation.

She stopped for a one-thousand-one second. Long enough to take a position facing the pitcher and look her in the eyes. Now call it?

If not immediate, how long is long enough. If she is the process of just changing directions, no call, but if you stop with feet apart and arms out looking directly at the pitcher (like you do after your lead off when the catcher is looking you down), then, in my opinion, it meets the criteria.

And, you can change directions once, but you can't stop (yes, there is a difference).
 

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