Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Case Plays: Decoying the Runner at Second Base

This Case Play has been completed. Congratulations to UEFL League Members RichMSN, cyclone14, kickersrule, TXWrangler, Three-Ballin', clement30, nwsquid & Turducken  for correctly answering at least one portion of the posted scenario. The correct response is:

(1) The ball is alive and remains alive throughout the play on R1 at first base. Obstruction requires impeded progress; the runner's progress was not impeded as he made no attempt to return to first base (OBR 2.00 OBSTRUCTION).

(2) The ball is alive and remains alive throughout the play on R1 at first base; R1 may be awarded first base. Known as "Type B" Obstruction, this play requires the decoying act to physically impede the runner's ability to attempt a retag of his base. This physical impediment must be ruled to have occurred while the ball was in the air or before the catcher made a play on R1 and such imposition must nullify the obstruction (OBR 7.06(b)).

(3) The ball is dead and R1 is awarded second base. Known as "Type A" Obstruction, this play requires the decoying act to physically impede the runner's ability to attempt a retag of his base. This physical impediment must be ruled to have occurred after the catch, while a play was being made on R1. R1 must touch first base before advancing to second base. (OBR 7.06(a)).

Points Distribution
+3: RichMSN
+2: cyclone14, kickersrule, TXWrangler, Three-Ballin'
+1: clement30, nwsquid, Turducken

Thank you for participating in this Case Play and congratulations to all participants, who responded with at least partial correctness. Stay tuned for further Case Plays. The original Case Play post has been reproduced below.
Pursuant to UEFL Rule 4.f., this Case Play is open for 48 hours from the time of this post (5/6/12 at 8:00PM). During this time, all Case Play responses will remain in moderation (screened or invisible) until the 48 hour submission period is closed. To receive full point(s) credit, you must answer the following scenario correctly, including any relevant MLB Rule(s) and all relevant results of the play after applying said rule(s).

Video: Angels shortstop Erick Aybar decoys Blue Jays runner Rajai Davis, leading to a double play

Scenario: With zero out and one on (R1), the offense attempts a "hit and run," wherein R1 runs with the pitch as B1 swings. B1 connects and pops out to F1 as R1 slides into second base. F6 runs in front of the second base bag and fakes R1 into thinking there might be a play at second base. Seeing R1 has not tagged up, F1 then throws to F4, covering first base, for an apparent double play ... or is it? Did the umpires get this call right? How should play proceed? There may be multiple contingencies for this Case Play; if correctly identified, you may receive up to one point per. As has been past practice, rules citation is highly recommended and may save you point(s) if your ruling isn't word-for-word.

Consult the UEFL Rules Book for further information regarding Rule 4-5 and Case Plays.


kickersrule said...

If in the umpires judgement there was no obstruction then the correct call would be the double play just like it happened in the video.

If in the umpires judgement he felt there was obstruction and in the umpires judgement the runner could have made it back to first base had he not been obstructed the runner would be awarded back to 1st base safely and play would resume with 1 out.

As far as the video goes the umpires got this right 100%.

RichMSN said...

3 possibilities I can think of:

(1) The play as it happened. There is no concept of verbal obstruction in pro baseball and since the fielder did not physically impede the runner in any way, there's no call to be made.

(2) Had the runner tried going back to first as the ball was still in the air and ran into the fielder, this would be type B (7.06 (b)) obstruction. The ball would remain alive until after the play on R1 was completed at first base. The protection for the runner would likely be back to first base only as there's no minimum award for type B obstruction.

(3) Had the runner run into the fielder while the defense was trying to turn the double play after the catch of the pop-up, this would be type A (7.06(a)) obstruction. The ball would be immediately dead and R1 would be awarded second base. He would still be required to retouch first base as part of his base award.

Really, the fielder's decoy was risky, as all R1 needed to do was start back to first and bump into the fielder and it would've been an easy obstruction call.

Anonymous said...

Good by me.

clement30 said...

According to Rule Book- Rule 7.08(i) Comment: If a runner touches an unoccupied base and then thinks the ball was caught
or is decoyed into returning to the base he last touched, he may be put out running back to that base, but
if he reaches the previously occupied base safely he cannot be put out while in contact with that base.

This would indicate that Davis was still a live runner after the fake by Aybar, and was rightly put out at first base. Therefore it appears the correct ruling was invoked.

TXWrangler said...

TX Wrangler -

Sounds like the call is correct UNLESS the umpire deems that F6 obstructed the runner's ability to return to first base per Rule 2.00. If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he
may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and
missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner,
he very likely has obstructed the runner.

cyclone14 said...

As a Jays fan, I'd like to agree with Farrell, but in this case, the umpires appear to have gotten the call correct. There is no specific rule against decoying. In fact, the closest reference I could find (7.08i) points out an example where the decoying is legal.
If, in decoying the runner, the fielder had obstructed the runner from returning to first base, and in the umpire's judgment, the runner would have made it back had the obstruction not occurred, then rule 7.06b could be applied. Another exception would be in amateur leagues, where often such plays that increase the chance for injury (such as fake tags, "verbal interference") would be illegal.

Turducken said...

The call on the field is correct. The runner's progress was not obstructed by Aybar shielding him. Furthermore, the discretion of the proximity of Davis and to when and where the ball was caught regardless would have likely been an out, hence that statute as part of 7.06 is eliminated.

Rules: 2.00 [Obstruction], 7.06

Tiznownes said...

Contingency 1:

"Decoying" the runner is absolutely legal.

"Decoying" is mentioned in OBR 7.08(i) Comment section and there is no penalty for "decoying". It is the runner's responsibility to know where the ball is and the base coach is there to assist with directing runner(s)/batter-runner.

B1 is OUT1, R1 is OUT2.

Contingency 2:
If umpire ruled obstruction, then OBR 7.06(b)- No play was being made on R1, ball is live and play continues until no further action is possible. THEN umpire calls time and imposes penalty ***IF ANY***, in his judgement that would nullify the act of obstruction.

Even if it were ruled obstruction, since there was no play on R1, umpire could judge that he would not have made it back to 1B, so the out stands.

Also, R1's "progress" was never impeded, as he made no effort to return to 1B.

-Three Ballin'

nwsquid said...

Obstruction in 2.00 requires impeding the runner. Since this runner never even attempted a return to first base, there is no obstruction. Had the runner made an attempt to return, then obstruction could be called (even without contact), if his progress was stopped, slowed, or altered.

Anonymous said...

I believe you must call obstruction b here. The runner was prevented from seeing the ball by the fielder...he was obstructed. Obstruction may be called if while there is a runner on 3rd and a fly ball to the outfield, r3 is tagging up and the 3rd baseman jockeys back in forth in front of him preventing him from seeing when and where the ball is caught. The 3rd baseman must be facing him though. Also the theory that a runner is not returning or advancing to a base should not play a role in where the rubber ends up. If there is a ball hit down the right field line with no runners on and BR is rounding second and is obstructed by the SS, and in your judgement he would have made it to third, even if he returns to second or is thrown out returning to second he is awarded third. The problem I have with the play in the jays game is that you are not punishing the defense for attempting to circumnavigate the rules you are rewarding them by allowing them to turn the double play. If there is a possibility of a play at first base, even if he is returning back, you must award him first.

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