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Stump The Ump Email Chain 2024:

Week 1:

Runner on second base. A ground ball is batted toward 3rd base which is fielded by the 3rd base fielder. The shortstop backs-up the 3rd baseman in the event the 3rd baseman fails to make a play on the ball. After the ball is hit, the runner on second advances to third behind the 3rd baseman and in front of the shortstop, and while doing so, the 3rd baseman errs in fielding the batted ball and the ball goes under his legs, which hits the advancing runner before the shortstop has a chance to make a play while backing up the 3rd baseman. Make the call.


Basic understanding of the rule:

On a typical play, if a batted ball makes contact with a base runner before the fielder has a chance to make a play on the ball, the runner is out. As well, if a batted ball makes contact with a base runner after the fielder has a chance to make a play on the ball, the runner is not out. This rule and other situations alike can be found in 7.08 of the Rule Book.

Week 2:

With a runner on 1st with no outs Jack is up to bat. While swinging at the incoming pitch Jack makes contact with the catcher glove and ball. The ball is hit to the shortstop where Jack is then called out at 1st. Make the Call.

Basic understanding of the rule:
As an umpire when we see Catcher's interference, we should not call the ball dead immediately but instead announce/signal that there was catcher's interference and then let the play develop. Once the play has fully developed the umpire shall call time and issue the BR 1st base and give R1 2nd base in this situation. But why do we let the play develop?

As umpires we let play develop because coaches may elect to decline the interference call if the outcome of the play is more beneficial to the offense. Some examples of this are when the game winning run was on third and they scored, a home run was hit or if the play resulted in runners advancing more than one base. 

Rule References: 6.08(c) and 2.00 Interference (b)

Week 3:

Little League definition of obstruction: Obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. A fake tag is considered an obstruction. (2.00 Definition of terms)

Types of obstruction: 

Type A: A play is being made on the runner; this is an immediate dead ball and the runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base last legally touched by the runner before the obstruction. All runners and preceding runners will advance without liability to be put out (7.06 a)

Type B: A play is not being made on a runner; this is a delayed dead ball and the umpire shall award bases (impose penalties) if any at the end of the action that they believe will nullify the act of obstruction (7.06 b)

Note: Obstruction does not have to have contact it can be the runner simply slowing down, stuttering steps, changing their route/path or even sliding early. These are judgment calls and are not always easy to notice. Any umpire can call obstruction. 

Question 1: With a runner on 3rd the pitcher delivers a wild pitch. R3 decides to try and steal home but ends up getting caught in a rundown (pickle). While R3 is returning to 3rd base is in the process of catching the ball R3 and F5 collide. Make the call, where does R3 go and why? 

You guessed it it's obstruction! However, this is an example of type A obstruction as a play is being made on the runner. The fielder was in the process of catching the ball but never had possession which made this obstruction. In this situation, we will call time immediately and award R3 home. We award this runner home because the last legally acquired base before the obstruction was 3rd and the runner in this situation in entitled at least one base. 

Question 2: Runner on 1st the Batter hits a line drive to Left field in which the ball rolls past the fielder.  R1 while rounding 2nd collides with the 2nd basemen causing R1 to stumble. The ball arrived at the cut-off before the fielder could regain his feet and try to go to 3rd make the call.

This is type B obstruction. As an umpire, we should point an announcement obstruction when we see this and wait till the play is completed to enforce any penalties. Please note this play is all judgment in what you believe the runners would get if obstruction did not occur. In this situation in my judgment, I would award R1 3rd as he was trying to make a genuine attempt to advance. I do NOT have to give the Batter runner 2nd if he wasn't trying to advance. I CAN give BR 2nd if he was halted by reading R1 stopping or falling due to the obstruction. 

Week 4:

Scenario: 1 out Runners on 1st and 3rd the batter hits a fly ball to center field before the ball is caught both runners leave early. The first baseman noticed R1 left early and properly appealed that R1 left early which the umpire declared R1 out for the 3rd out. The defensive coach wants to know if the R3 run will count since the runner left early. Can the Defense still appeal R3 left early even though 3 outs have already been made? Make the call. 

Answer: As of right now R3 run will count as long as he scored before the 3rd out was made. (for this situation let's say he does score before the 3rd out)  However, the defensive team does NOT lose the right to appeal that R3 left early. If the defense remains on the field and properly appeals that R3 left early then R3 will be declared out and the run will not score. This is a rare example of what we call the 4th out.

Bonus: When is a Runner allowed to leave when a fielder is making a catch?

Runners are allowed to leave when the fielder first touches the ball in glove or hand. The runners do not have to wait for the fielder to have control of the ball to leave their base.

Local Sponsors

New Hampshire District 2 Little League

Kathie Lynch, 3 Boyan Place
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801

Phone: 603-396-8651

Email: [email protected]

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