The Ole Ball Game

Obstuction or not on attempted pickoff

by Ed Souza

Ed asked: Hi Rick , man on second base takes his lead, the shortstop flashes in front of the runner, the second baseman breaks to the bag for a pick off play.

However the runner takes off for third and collides with the ss who was trying to get back to his defensive spot after screening the runner.

2b throws to third after receiving the pick-off throw. The runner then was tagged out at third .

Should the umpire have called interference or obstruction on the ss and give the runner third base? NOTE: The runner was slowed up but tried his best (tried to regain his sprint) to still make it to third after contact.

Rick answered: Ed, thank you for your question.

Rule 7.06 - Obstruction

When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal "obstruction"

(1) If a play is being made on an obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire's judgment, if there had been no obstruction.

The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls "time", with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not the obstruction occurred.

On a play where a runner is trapped between second and third and obstructed by the 3b going into third base while the throw is in flight from the ss, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched, before the obstruction was called.

In the play you asked about, the umpire should have immediately thrown up both hands and yelled obstruction. Ball becomes dead immediately, the runner would have been awarded third base.

From your description, it sounds like there was a "no call", and the runner was out.

Offensive team should have asked the umpires to get together and sort it out.

Obstruction is obstruction; it does not have to be judged intentional to be called.

Once the runner ran into the ss on his way to third, the call should have been made.

Yours in baseball,


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