With one out and Padres baserunner Will Venable on second base, Reds pitcher Mike Leake attempted to pick off R2, but instead threw the ball into shallow center field as shortstop Cesar Izturis lunged after the errant throw in vain, landing on top of Venable, who had slid head-first back into second base. Venable, realizing his situation, attempted to rise and advance as Izturis delayed and impeded his progress, drawing an obstruction call from 2B Umpire Hamari.
|CF Shin-Soo Choo retrieves the loose ball as|
players stop playing during a live ball
obstruction call by 2B Umpire Adam Hamari.
Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment clarifies when a fielder may considered in the act of fielding a ball, stating that after a fielder has attempted to field a ball, he is no longer in the act of fielding the ball. As example, the rule cites the hypothetical: "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."
Question: Replays indicate Izturis obstructed Venable, but did Hamari rule Type A or Type B, defined by Rule 7.06?
(a) 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.
(b) 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.Answer: As specified above, the key criterion to consider is whether a play was being made on the obstructed runner at the time of his obstruction. Even though Venable was the only runner on base at the time of obstruction, the ball was loose in the outfield and a play was not being made on the runner at the time of obstruction. This is an example of Type B obstruction (also MLBUM 41.2-3).
Replays indicate Hamari correctly identified the latter version of obstruction by pointing at the infraction and keeping the ball alive and in play (had this been "A" obstruction, Hamari would have raised both hands, as in calling "Time"). However, both Venable and the Reds fielders' actions indicate the players improperly believed the ball was dead at the moment of obstruction.
Had Cincinnati realized the ball remained alive during the officiated 'B' obstruction, an out likely could have been recorded (however had Venable realized the live ball situation, he likely would have remained at 2B).
Whose Time is it Anyway? Not the umpires', who correctly kept play alive until Venable reached third.
Video: Hamari rules obstruction on Izzy, but called interference on Cedeno by the online editor (SD)