|Overbay is obstructed by Hernandez.|
Replays indicate that Morales caught the ball and jabbed first base with his right foot mere fractions of a second before Overbay's collision with Hernandez, which hindered, impeded and prevented Overbay's opportunity to touch first base.
After umpire consultation spurred by a brief Joe Girardi argument, Wedge received an initial explanation from crew chief and HP Umpire Jerry Layne before Wedge angrily stormed towards umpires Wendelstedt and Greg Gibson to demand further explanation, Wendelstedt repeatedly informing Wedge that Overbay was obstructed by virtue of Hernandez standing in the baseline and between Overbay and first base.
OBR Rule 2.00 [OBSTRUCTION] defines the aforementioned as "the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner."
OBR Rule 7.06(a) obstruction states:
If a play is being made on the 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 judg- ment, 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.As batter-runner Overbay was obstructed before touching first base (due to the obstruction, he never did touch first base), Overbay was awarded one base beyond the last legally touched (HP + 1 = 1B).
Rule 7.06(b) obstruction, which does not apply here, states:
If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.Accordingly, it is important to note that Type B and not Type A obstruction specifies the "nullify the act of obstruction" penalty wherein an obstructed runner may, at the umpire's discretion, be awarded one or more bases, be directed back to a base or may even be declared out if he was put out during play.
Type A is very clear, awarding at least one base to an obstructed runner. Type B is the "nullify the act" rule.
Furthermore, the MLB Umpire Manual specifies three distinct cases of Rule 7.06(a) and Rule 7.06(b) obstruction wherein a batter-runner is obstructed before reaching first base. They are:
Case 1: (a) Ground Ball to Infielder: Though "it appears that the infielder will have an easy play on the ball," "Time" is called immediately and the obstructed batter-runner is awarded first base.
Case 2: (b) Pop-Up or Line Drive to Infielder: Act ID'd ("that's obstruction"), but the ball is kept alive. If the pop- or liner is caught, the batter is out; if not, the batter-runner is awarded first base ("Time").
Case 3: (b) Any Ball Hit to Outfielder: Similar to (b), the ball is kept alive. If caught, batter is out; if not, the batter-runner is always "protected" to at least first base and more if the umpire judges accordingly.
The Overbay-Hernandez play was an instance of Case 1 and, pursuant to both OBR rule and MLB interpretation, was correctly ruled Type A obstruction, Overbay awarded first base and R1 forced to second.
Video: On what MLB.com calls "defensive interference" (?), Overbay is awarded first base (NYY)