If ball is hit to the infield and the shortshop throws the ball to first base and the first baseman is backing up across the bag to catch the ball cause he is scared of it is this obsturction?
Photo Bill Stanton: Checkswing.com
John asked: My son plays 10u, we have had several situations this year where the first baseman had is foot all the way across the bag to where my players cannot get their foot on the bag, and the umpire allows this to happen.
Is this the correct?
Can the first baseman have his foot all the way across the bag?
We have had where one of the players throws it hard to first and he is backing up blocking the bag, where my players have no where to touch the bag. Is this legal?
Rick answered: John, thank you for your question!
The rule covering this situation is Rule 2-22 Obstruction and Fake Tag: Art 1...Obstruction is an act(intentional or unintentional, as well as physical or verbal) by a fielder, any member of the defensive team or it's team personnel that hinders a runner or changes the pattern of play as in 5-1-3 and 8-3-2, or when a catcher or fielder hinders a batter as in 5-1-2b, 8-1-1e, 8-1-1c and 8-3-2.
When obstruction occurs, the ball becomes dead at the end of the play action and the umpire has authority to determine which base or bases shall be awarded the runners, according to the rule violated.
In the situation you have described, it sounds like one of two things is happening.
Either the players are intentionally taught to do what they are doing, or the coach or coaches involved have not taught their first basemen how to play the position.
The purpose of the rule, as well as the common sense reasoning for such a rule, is the substantial possibility for one or both players to get injured.
I would suggest when you play this team, or teams again, that you speak with the umpires before the game and express your concerns over this situation and that your interest is to protect both players.
That puts the ball immediately in the umpire's court. They should step up and make the proper call if it should happen.
Should it happen and the same no call is made, you can call time out and ask them why they called it the way they did and to show you in the rule book where that can be found.
Umpires should all have a book in their pocket, a good practice to follow for coaches as well.
While you are unable to argue or protest balls and strikes and judgement calls, rules are discussible and can be overturned.
As you can see by the rule, the obstruction does not have to be intentional to be called.
Good luck as you go forward. This one is worth your time pursuing, as the potential for a player or players to get hurt is high in the situations you have described.
Yours in baseball,
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