Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Joe West's Pittsburgh Rundown Obstruction

HP Umpire Joe West enforced Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(1) regarding obstruction during a rundown in Pittsburgh as Pirates catcher Elias Diaz, without the ball, obstructed Brewers runner Trent Grisham between third base and home plate. Though no contact was made, this rules myth is easily debunked: impeding the runner is all that is required for this call, and there are several ways to impede short of making contact.

In this situation, the rundown occurred during a pickoff and stolen base attempt in the top of the 9th inning of Tuesday's Milwaukee-Pittsburgh game. R3 Grisham found himself in a pickle, caught between third and home. As catcher Diaz ran Grisham back toward third and threw the ball to third baseman Colin Moran, he failed to leave the baseline, impeding Grisham as Grisham had to alter his base path in order to avoid the illegally placed catcher. HP Umpire West thus awarded baserunner Grisham home plate as a result of Diaz's obstruction (officially a caught stealing error by catcher Diaz).

The Rule: "Obstruction is 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 (Definition of Terms)."
Related LabelObstruction (UEFL University).
Related PostObstruction in Chicago - Fielder Must Avoid Runner (7/25/19).

The Penalty: "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...The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction (6.01(h)(1))."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Joe West's Obstruction During MIL-PIT Rundown (CCS)


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