Ask The Ump?

CoachHoversten

Active member
Umpires keep the official time, usually with a stopwatch; so the few times I’ve seen obvious stall tactics, I just “accidentally” lost a couple minutes off the clock. Must have stopped in my pocket for a few minutes. <shrug>
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Worked a 12U travel game today. Coach thought I misapplied a rule. What say you AS?

Runner on third only, grounder to F3, he throws home. Catchers foot was on plate but on the “back half”, meaning the part of the plate facing R3 was exposed.

runner didn’t slide and stepped right on catchers foot and then was tagged. I called him out.

coach said “foot is part of the base”.

I told him “he either had access to the plate or he was obstructed, and I didn’t have obstruction.”

Btw, if he had slid, he’s surely safe, but didnt and stepped on foot instead of exposed plate.

was I wrong?
 

umpire16

New member
Worked a 12U travel game today. Coach thought I misapplied a rule. What say you AS?

Runner on third only, grounder to F3, he throws home. Catchers foot was on plate but on the “back half”, meaning the part of the plate facing R3 was exposed.

runner didn’t slide and stepped right on catchers foot and then was tagged. I called him out.

coach said “foot is part of the base”.

I told him “he either had access to the plate or he was obstructed, and I didn’t have obstruction.”

Btw, if he had slid, he’s surely safe, but didnt and stepped on foot instead of exposed plate.

was I wrong?
Coach must have bought the plate with a foot on it along with his bucket of curve balls and bats with hands on them.

Good call in my mind. He had the ball (I assume), no obstruction and still a clear path to the base. Can't reward the runner for his own insolence and not sliding to try to score (not a rule of course, but he should be sliding to try to score because, you know, it's the proven way to do that on plays...)

I had a similar issue this summer. Catcher has ball on a force at home and is standing on the same spot. Runner comes in, out is made (by a lot), and the catcher turns to throw to first, and his now opposite foot is on the same spot. R3 then kicks his foot out from under him as he is throwing to first. I called interference and coach says "well his foot was on the plate and it's part of the plate, so, that's his fault." Not a chance.

I ejected said coach in the next inning by the way. Apparently a swipe tag on the runner in the running lane before first base on a bunt is not a force out and R3 should still score because he crossed before the out was made. Sigh.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Coach must have bought the plate with a foot on it along with his bucket of curve balls and bats with hands on them.

Good call in my mind. He had the ball (I assume), no obstruction and still a clear path to the base. Can't reward the runner for his own insolence and not sliding to try to score (not a rule of course, but he should be sliding to try to score because, you know, it's the proven way to do that on plays...)

I had a similar issue this summer. Catcher has ball on a force at home and is standing on the same spot. Runner comes in, out is made (by a lot), and the catcher turns to throw to first, and his now opposite foot is on the same spot. R3 then kicks his foot out from under him as he is throwing to first. I called interference and coach says "well his foot was on the plate and it's part of the plate, so, that's his fault." Not a chance.

I ejected said coach in the next inning by the way. Apparently a swipe tag on the runner in the running lane before first base on a bunt is not a force out and R3 should still score because he crossed before the out was made. Sigh.
Haha. I’ve read the rule book several times and am by no means a master of them, but I do not recall ever seeing “foot is part of the base/plate” in the rule book.

I thought my explanation was sound but at the same time, my explanation wasn’t straight from the rule book either.

Either the runner has the ability to touch the base/plate and as such, must do so, or he is obstructed from doing so and it should be called accordingly.

but I’m always wanting to learn, so if I’m wrong, I want to know
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Worked a 12U travel game today. Coach thought I misapplied a rule. What say you AS?

Runner on third only, grounder to F3, he throws home. Catchers foot was on plate but on the “back half”, meaning the part of the plate facing R3 was exposed.

runner didn’t slide and stepped right on catchers foot and then was tagged. I called him out.
...
coach said “foot is part of the base”.

I told him “he either had access to the plate or he was obstructed, and I didn’t have obstruction.”

Btw, if he had slid, he’s surely safe, but didnt and stepped on foot instead of exposed plate.

was I wrong?

As described, no......

1) "foot is part of the base" = "tie goes to the runner" = "hands are part of the bat" = "can never throw to an unoccupied base" = any other rule myth that is out there.

2) Plays at the plate and for runners advancing to first base require more attention to the whole play as the runners are permitted to overrun the plate or base without liability to be put out after touching said base. Therefore, we have to make sure that the runner was not hindered prior to the fielder providing access to the base at the time of the put out. For example, if F2 or F3 is standing just behind the base, but in the basepath extended beyond the base, he is providing the runner access, but can still hinder the runner by forcing him to slide or slow down to avoid a collision when he didn't need to.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
As described, no......

1) "foot is part of the base" = "tie goes to the runner" = "hands are part of the bat" = "can never throw to an unoccupied base" = any other rule myth that is out there.

2) Plays at the plate and for runners advancing to first base require more attention to the whole play as the runners are permitted to overrun the plate or base without liability to be put out after touching said base. Therefore, we have to make sure that the runner was not hindered prior to the fielder providing access to the base at the time of the put out. For example, if F2 or F3 is standing just behind the base, but in the basepath extended beyond the base, he is providing the runner access, but can still hinder the runner by forcing him to slide or slow down to avoid a collision when he didn't need to.
completely makes sense at 1B, but I’m kinda confused about F2 standing on 3B line extended. If he does that, the entire plate is open and if there’s a play at the plate, one the catcher is out of position, and two, every runner in existence “should” be sliding on a close play at the plate and is easily safe if he does.

im struggling to picture an F2 obstructing a runner from 3B line extended
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
I know a runner never HAS to slide, but if HP is wide open bc F2 is on third base line extended, if there’s a play at plate and runner chooses not to slide and slows up and gets put out, you would call obstruction?
 

thavoice

Well-known member
Had something similar years ago with the 1st baseman holding a guy on.
He placed his whole foot in front of the bag, essentially blokcing 3/4 of the base. I asked the umpire about it, whom had graduated that cool course in Florida and at some point became the guy who teaches the classes locally, and he said 'Is his foot 12" long" essentially saying he could if there was part of the base to come back to.

So....once I told the baserunner, loud enough the first baseman could hear it, to come back to first feet first, he finally moved his foot to where they normally do so.

So..what say you, can the first baseman place his foot in front of the base while holding the runner on?
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
@thavoice, I actually asked this several pages back bc I was BU and saw F3 doing the same thing.

AllSports response was that the runner must have the ability to get back and fielder must allow a path, but it does not have to be the optimal path into the base.

So what I learned from that is it’s okay to block SOME of the bag as long as it isn’t all of it.

Also, a runner should dive back to first on the far edge of the base (furthest from pitcher and tag coming down) so a fielder blocking the front 3/4 is kind of dumb as it doesn’t help them
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Now, if F3 leaves the back 1/4 open and when pitcher turns, he moves his foot to the back 1/4 without the ball, I’m calling that obstruction
 

AllSports12

Moderator
I know a runner never HAS to slide, but if HP is wide open bc F2 is on third base line extended, if there’s a play at plate and runner chooses not to slide and slows up and gets put out, you would call obstruction?
If F2 is standing right behind the plate in the runner's basepath extended....

Yes

If he does not have the ball, he cannot hinder the runner.

Let's add a similar situation....

BR hits a flare down the left field line, he's thinking double immediately...... as he gets to first base F3 is standing right at the inside corner of the base causing the BR to alter his path. He can't hit the corner, so instead he has to slow down and adjust his route to touch first base directly on top of the bag and run towards RF rather than a more direct line to 2nd base. (see it all the time in youth ball)

F3 has provided access, full access to the base, however, he has hindered the BR as he has had to alter his speed and course towards 2nd base....

Obstruction.
 
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thavoice

Well-known member
@thavoice, I actually asked this several pages back bc I was BU and saw F3 doing the same thing.

AllSports response was that the runner must have the ability to get back and fielder must allow a path, but it does not have to be the optimal path into the base.

So what I learned from that is it’s okay to block SOME of the bag as long as it isn’t all of it.

Also, a runner should dive back to first on the far edge of the base (furthest from pitcher and tag coming down) so a fielder blocking the front 3/4 is kind of dumb as it doesn’t help them
he was actually smart and blocked the back 3/4....
Verbalizing we will come back cleat first changes their mind....
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
If F2 is standing right behind the plate in the runner's basepath extended....

Yes

If he does not have the ball, he cannot hinder the runner.

Let's add a similar situation....

BR hits a flare down the left field line, he's thinking double immediately...... as he gets to first base F3 is standing right at the inside corner of the base causing the BR to alter his path. He can't hit the corner, so instead he has to slow down and adjust his route to touch first base directly on top of the bag and run towards RF rather than a more direct line to 2nd base. (see it all the time in youth ball)

F3 has provided access, full access to the base, however, he has hindered the BR as he has had to alter his speed and course towards 2nd base....

Obstruction.
I guess I am just struggling to picture the scenario that the runner would be hindered. If I am rounding third and coming home, and the ball is coming in, it is like a dream that the catcher is on the "far side" of the plate from me. All I have to do is get to the front edge of the plate now instead of around the catcher/tag.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
he was actually smart and blocked the back 3/4....
Verbalizing we will come back cleat first changes their mind....
@thavoice.... as a human being, I completely understand what you are saying. As an umpire, I am warning or ejecting a coach for saying that to an opposing player.

You may not like it, but F3 is not doing anything outside of the rules. Some might say it is "bush league", but if he is within his right to do that, and I hear a player or coach threaten harm as a means to change his stance, I am probably ejecting you.

**Edit - I reread your original post and wanted to say the following:**

1) Telling your player to come back to the bag feet first would not get a warning or ejection as that is also within their rights.

2) Distinctly stating for them to come back cleats first WOULD warrant a warning at a minimum, as you are emphasizing the cleats as a way to warn the F3 that he can/will be harmed

3) Stating for them to come back cleats first so that the first baseman gets the message would be an ejection.

I thought your original point stated that you told the guy to get his point across, but all you said was to come back feet first
 

AllSports12

Moderator
I guess I am just struggling to picture the scenario that the runner would be hindered. If I am rounding third and coming home, and the ball is coming in, it is like a dream that the catcher is on the "far side" of the plate from me. All I have to do is get to the front edge of the plate now instead of around the catcher/tag.
You are assuming the runner will slide every time. Ever see a runner ignore the on deck hitter's signal to "get down!"?

I've had plenty of whackers at the plate, some of them force plays where the runner didn't slide. If standing there was legal, it would force the runner to slide, slow down, or just run F2 over.

The first two hinder the runner. (makes him do something he should not have to do)
The last one causes a potential malicious contact situation which the rules makers have gone out of their way to do everything to avoid.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Following up from a discussion about F3 blocking part of the base but not all of it...AllSports said you must allow a path but not necessarily the optimal path.

according to “umpirebible”, it says otherwise.
Note, I think this site focuses more on official rules and not NFHS, but now I’m confused bc just yesterday I saw an F3 whose stance when holding runner on was his right heel against edge of bag that faces 2nd base, effectively blocking about 25% of the base
 

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CoachHoversten

Active member
Two Questions from the same play in today’s Indians game.

The Play: Lindor on 1st, Santana hit a great ball into RF corner. For some reason, Lindor touched 2nd, went back towards 1st a few steps, then turned around and went to 3rd without re-touching 2nd.

The Outcome was obvious, he was out on appeal.

questions:

1) Santana was not credited with a hit, was deemed a fielders choice. Is this correct? I get that the end result was same as forcing him out at second, but since he touched the bag initially, and that it was a timing play after, would have thought it would be a single.

2) on the replay, it appeared (speculating here) that Lindor stopped on way to third, realized he missed, and then shamefully kept going, like he knew he missed it and was screwed.

could he not have gone back to second and touched and then went to third? Or just back to second and stayed there?

it seemed like he thought he couldn’t so should just keep going even though he knew he screwed up.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Following up from a discussion about F3 blocking part of the base but not all of it...AllSports said you must allow a path but not necessarily the optimal path.

according to “umpirebible”, it says otherwise.
Note, I think this site focuses more on official rules and not NFHS, but now I’m confused bc just yesterday I saw an F3 whose stance when holding runner on was his right heel against edge of bag that faces 2nd base, effectively blocking about 25% of the base
You are correct that UmpireBible focuses on OBR and not FED rules.

Now, at the end of the day, it's up to the umpire to determine whether or not access was denied. Each play is different.
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Two Questions from the same play in today’s Indians game.

The Play: Lindor on 1st, Santana hit a great ball into RF corner. For some reason, Lindor touched 2nd, went back towards 1st a few steps, then turned around and went to 3rd without re-touching 2nd.

The Outcome was obvious, he was out on appeal.

questions:

1) Santana was not credited with a hit, was deemed a fielders choice. Is this correct? I get that the end result was same as forcing him out at second, but since he touched the bag initially, and that it was a timing play after, would have thought it would be a single.

2) on the replay, it appeared (speculating here) that Lindor stopped on way to third, realized he missed, and then shamefully kept going, like he knew he missed it and was screwed.

could he not have gone back to second and touched and then went to third? Or just back to second and stayed there?

it seemed like he thought he couldn’t so should just keep going even though he knew he screwed up.
In #1, you said that the end result was the same as forcing him out at second, then you said it was a time play.......

It can't be both.

When he returned towards first base after initially legally touching (and obtaining) second base, he no longer retains that status with regards to second. All the responsibilities for him to touch the bases legally remain intact as do all the potential ways the defense can put him out.

In this case it is a force out, and is scored a fielder's choice.

In #2, he absolutely could have returned to 2nd, touched it (which completes his requirements to touch the basees legally in order) and advance to 3rd.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
I just don’t understand why he didn’t go back then, bc if you watch the replay, about 2-3 steps past second he practically stops, then slumps his head, and keeps going.

it was like he thought once he passed the bag, he can’t go back or something.

2) as for the “end result is same”, I meant that the end result was he out at 2nd, but it wasn’t a force out, they had to appeal, and Santana was standing on the bag during the appeal.

I’ve never cared or paid much attention to official scoring as an umpire, but it seems crazy when a guy hits a stand up double and an out is made on an appeal after play is over, he doesn’t even get a single, but I’m an umpire, what do I care? 🤷‍♂️
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Saw a player recently (I believe from the Reds) thrown out at home on what normally would be a base hit to right. Runner went back to tag and when the ball dropped, the throw beat him to the plate. (bases were loaded)

Scored a fielder's choice, 9-2 putout. Batter not credited with a base hit.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Question about obstruction.

yesterday had a game on 60/90 field (solo game, always fun). Runner on 2nd, batter laces a line drive to fence in left center field.

I am getting to the working area (C position) and see the touch of third by R2 and then look to try and get touch of first.

Batter-Runner is already just past first (hole in 1-man) when a nasty collision occurs with F3 who got in his way and wasn’t paying attention.

I immediately declared “that’s obstruction” and pointed to first. Batter gets up (both on ground) and keeps running. First base coach is screaming for him to just keep going, don’t stop.

batter slid into third without a throw (cut off man caught ball as he was coming into third)

first base coach was mad that third base coach stopped him.

after inning ended, I told coach that his runner is only protected to the base he would have achieved without the obstruction, so if he had been thrown out at home (just keep running), the out would count.

he made the argument that since he made third without a throw, even after falling to ground, he would have made it home without it.

that’s purely judgment but it usually takes a lot to get an in the park HR (OF comes in and dives and misses ball, someone falls down, error)

just curious if anyone has ever had the “just keep going” mentality in a game and how they handled it. Did coach have even a reasonable argument?
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Question about obstruction.

yesterday had a game on 60/90 field (solo game, always fun). Runner on 2nd, batter laces a line drive to fence in left center field.

I am getting to the working area (C position) and see the touch of third by R2 and then look to try and get touch of first.
I'd suggest you pause before you get to the mound on this play. Staying below the mound gives you a "V" look at the action on the corners. Then if you want to get all the way to the C, have at it. (although, I personally would not go past the mound.... angle over distance)

Batter-Runner is already just past first (hole in 1-man) when a nasty collision occurs with F3 who got in his way and wasn’t paying attention.

I immediately declared “that’s obstruction” and pointed to first. Batter gets up (both on ground) and keeps running. First base coach is screaming for him to just keep going, don’t stop.

batter slid into third without a throw (cut off man caught ball as he was coming into third)

first base coach was mad that third base coach stopped him.

after inning ended, I told coach that his runner is only protected to the base he would have achieved without the obstruction, so if he had been thrown out at home (just keep running), the out would count.

he made the argument that since he made third without a throw, even after falling to ground, he would have made it home without it.

that’s purely judgment but it usually takes a lot to get an in the park HR (OF comes in and dives and misses ball, someone falls down, error)

just curious if anyone has ever had the “just keep going” mentality in a game and how they handled it. Did coach have even a reasonable argument?
His argument carries no more weight than if you ruled that the runner tripped on his own and there was no obstruction. It's your judgment against his..... You did everything you could and even tried to educate him about the rule..... If he doesn't want to listen for future reference, that's on him.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Sounds good...as for getting past the mound, I was headed there because the only possible play on batter was going to be at 2nd or 3rd, but I see what you mean...since there’s no possible play on R2 or BR yet, only need to see touches (and obstruction)
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Sounds good...as for getting past the mound, I was headed there because the only possible play on batter was going to be at 2nd or 3rd, but I see what you mean...since there’s no possible play on R2 or BR yet, only need to see touches (and obstruction)
Love the hustle, but getting to the C early causes you to lose that angle on the corners..... once the corners are clear if you want to get closer go for it ! ;)
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
So 2020 has been the year of oddities...I swear I have had more "firsts" this year than ever before, and frankly, I am so thankful for this thread. Because I have read it many times, and some of those "firsts" I knew the answer to because of this thread. So on that note, let me add a few more that I had this weekend:

1) I was doing a tournament this weekend, on Saturday I had the 9/10U games, and one of the teams was actually 7/8 playing up, first games that weren't coaches pitch. I can't remember the last time I did a game below about 13 years old, but it was easy money and kind of fun to see the little kids. Anyways...both coaches said this was about learning, go ahead and instruct kids if anyone saw anything, (HS rules were in effect but they didn't want balks called, etc)

Well it quickly became apparent that one coach lied, he wanted to win, not learn. His team was up to bat. His son was batting (might have more to do with it) and his son hits a dribbler up 3B line, and I mean like 10 feet from the plate and spinning like crazy. Well I do what I normally do, except I forgot the defensive team was 7 and 8 and don't react the way 14 - 18U catchers do....I went to be on the line to observe fair/foul and I don't even know what the catcher did, but basically I knocked his little behind to the ground in a collision. Idk if it was his fault or mine, but ball came to rest right on outer half of chalk. I took out the only player who had a chance to field the ball.

So I called time, brought the coaches together, and said I was calling umpires interference on myself and we were re-doing the pitch. The coach who wanted to win said "that isn't in the rule book" and I said "umpires interference is", the re-do is not, but it was the only way to be fair in a game where we are trying to learn.

So my question is, did I handle it okay given the age group and situation. And what would the "official" rule be when an umpire collides with a catcher trying to make a play....again, I think it was more that fact the kid was 7 or 8 because I have done a LOT of games behind the plate and never had this happen with a single older catcher. I think I just reacted a lot faster than the catcher did and got in his way.

2) Yesterday, 14U semi-final game of same tournament, two-man game, I am HPU. Runner is on first, clean single to right-center, so I am heading for third base per my rotation. R1 should have easily been heading to third but screwed up and got a bad read, and 3B coach held him up (dugout was yelling at base coach for holding him up). Then as I am walking back to plate, the batting team dugout is yelling to BU that the batter-runner was obstructed after rounding first, apparently F3 was watching the ball and in the batter's path.

The BU told them, "well you should have kept your guy running, if he keeps going it is obstruction, if he goes back it isn't". I know that is not correct, but didn't want to throw my partner under the bus because they let it go.

After the half-inning, I went and told the team "I didn't see it b/c I was heading to third and watching for the play to develop with R1, but even if obstruction occurred on batter, since there wasn't a play being made on him, the penalty for obstruction is to be placed where he would have ended up (judgment) if the obstruction had not occurred. But since R1 stopped at 2nd on his own and 3B coach told him to stop, the batter never would have gotten past 1st, even without the obstruction, so there was no based to award", and they seemed to like that explanation better (I never said my partner was wrong, just that nothing would have changed even if he had called it).

I guess I am just wondering if I was correct in what I said?


3) Same tournament, now 14U championship game and I am BU. Nobody on base so I am in A position, right-handed batter is up to plate. Batter squares to bunt, and the bat is easily out in front of the plate but held square. The pitch basically blasted the batter in the chest and the HPU said he got blocked by the catcher standing up in front of him. I said the batter did not offer at the bunt attempt b/c he never had a forward motion with the bat and therefore awarded the base. Of course the defensive team was pissed, but basically he squared with the bunt, and in trying to react to the pitch coming at him, left the bat out front and fell backwards, but never motioned forward with the bat.

I am 99% sure I remember reading the difference between baseball and softball was that softball only required the bat to be out front, baseball required a forward attempt to bunt.

I know this would fall under the "had to be there" but was I correct in the criteria for whether a base should be awarded or not?
 

AllSports12

Moderator
1) While knocking the catcher down was unfortunate, it is not Umpire's Interference under any rule code. Umpire's Interference is defined specifically as in the NFHS Rule Book as: (2-21-2)

"when he inadvertently moves so as to hinder a catcher’s attempt to throw, or when a fair ball touches an umpire as in 5-1-1f, (hit by a batted ball) or thrown ball as in 5-1-1g.(pitch or throw becomes lodged in equipment or uniform)"

2) When a runner is obstructed, he is awarded a minimum of one base beyond the base he obtained at the time of the obstruction. Any preceding runners forced to move due to the base award will be placed at the next base. If you do not award the bases, the defense has a free shot at putting a runner out without any potential for penalty.

3) Merely holding the bat in the strike zone is not considered an attempt to strike at the pitch. (7-2-1b) In this situation, only two things can happen... You either have a hit by pitch, which is what is what you described, or you have a dead ball strike because of the attempt to strike at the pitch followed by said pitch directly hitting the batter.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Had this (friendly) debate yesterday with a fellow ump, so said I’d go to this thread to settle it; hope I’m right, haha


IFF situation, irregardless of 1/2 or bases loaded.

pop up to infield, IFF called, runners are advancing at their own risk. Pop up is missed or dropped.

defender grabs ball and throws to base that a runner is advancing to.

force out or runner has to be tagged?

**i didn’t think this was difficult but debate ensued so I tried to describe situation above without any bias implied as to what I would rule**
 

AllSports12

Moderator
Had this (friendly) debate yesterday with a fellow ump, so said I’d go to this thread to settle it; hope I’m right, haha


IFF situation, irregardless of 1/2 or bases loaded.

pop up to infield, IFF called, runners are advancing at their own risk. Pop up is missed or dropped.

defender grabs ball and throws to base that a runner is advancing to.

force out or runner has to be tagged?

**i didn’t think this was difficult but debate ensued so I tried to describe situation above without any bias implied as to what I would rule**
Must be tagged as the force is removed once the Infield Fly occurs.
 

CoachHoversten

Active member
Must be tagged as the force is removed once the Infield Fly occurs.
Thanks, that's what I said as well. Since the batter is out and runners are not, I likened it to a ground ball to F3 where he steps on first, retiring the batter-runner while other runners are advancing. Once the batter is out, they are no longer forced and must be put-out.
 
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