The Ole Ball Game


Question Recently Asked:

With R2 stealing, the batter swings at the pitch and is interfered with by the catcher. The catcher throws to third base in time to get R2. The umpire should award the batter first base and return R2 to second?

Rick Answered:

When obstruction occurs, the ball becomes dead at the end of playing action, and the umpire has the authority to determine which base or bases shall be awarded the runners.

It is a delayed dead ball when a catcher or any fielder obstructs a batter or runner.

RULE 5-1:
If the batter and all runners attempting to steal or who are forced do not advance, award each one base.

Rule 8-2
The batter becomes a runner when: The catcher or any other defensive player obstructs him. The coach or captain of the team at bat, after being informed by the umpire in chief of the obstruction, shall indicate whether or not he elects to decline the obstruction penalty and accept the resulting play. Such election shall be made before the next pitch, before the award of the intentional base on balls, or before the infielders leave the diamond. Obstruction of the batter is ignored if the batter runner reaches first base and all other runners advance at least one base.

Any runner attempting to advance ( steal or squeeze ) on the catcher's obstruction of the batter shall be awarded the base he is attempting. If the runner is not attempting to advance on the catcher's obstruction, he shall not be entitled the next base, if not forced to advance because of the batter being awarded first base.

If obstruction is enforced all other runners on the play will return to the base occupied at time of the pitch. The batter is awarded first base, if he did not reach base.

In the situation in question, since the runner from second was in the process of stealing when the obstruction occured, if enforced, he would be given 3B, and the batter given 1B.

The key factor in this is that the runner was attempting to advance on the catcher's obstruction. Had he just shuffled out into his secondary lead, he would remain at 2B.

Thank you for your question. I hope the information was helpful.

Yours in baseball,


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