Saturday, May 22, 2021

Game of Millimeters & Cuzzi's Cubs-Cardinals Fair Ball

When Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado picked up Cubs batter Nico Hoerner's slowly hit ground ball near the foul line in St Louis Saturday, HP Umpire Phil Cuzzi's subsequent fair ball call drew strong reactions from both rivalry fanbases with Chicago convinced the umpire had gotten the call correct and St Louis just as adamant that the umpire had erred by not calling the ball foul. What truly did happen?

Play: With two out in the top of the 9th of a game which St Louis led 2-1, Cubs batter Nico Hoerner hit a 1-1 curveball from Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes on the ground toward third base. Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado picked up the baseball as it rolled along the foul line, believing he had retrieved the ball in foul territory.

Call: HP Umpire Phil Cuzzi, however, ruled the ball fair, deeming that Arenado touched the ball as it was on or over fair territory.

Rules Review: As is critical to objective analysis, we again begin with the relevant Official Baseball Rules, namely the definition of terms: "A FAIR BALL is a batted ball that...while on or over fair territory touches the person of an umpire or player" while "FAIR TERRITORY is that part of the playing field within, and including the first base and third base lines, from home base to the bottom of the playing field fence and perpendicularly upwards. All foul lines are in fair territory."

Analysis
: Next up is a discussion of the orbital nature of a baseball: it is a sphere and, given the aforementioned definitions for fair ball and fair territory, a ball need not actually contact the ground in fair territory while being touched by a fielder in front of first or third base for it to be deemed fair ("on or over"). 

Sidebar: Had this been a first contact by the batted ball in the outfield, it would need to make contact with the left/right field foul line or within those lines to be deemed fair [a recent MLB Umpire Manual interpretation add-on regarding batted balls in the outfield clarifies this to be the case for outfield hits, but not for infield hits]).

Accordingly, we have a parallax problem because this does not necessarily involve a ball touching painted line on the ground, but a portion of the ball breaking a plane nary inches off of the ground.

In our 2018 video regarding parallax in baseball and hockey, we simulated the difficulty in accurately assessing a ball (or puck)'s location when said object was not entirely flush with the ground and the camera angle provided was not positioned directly down the line used for fair/foul consideration.

The age-old question, then, of whether Cuzzi's call was correct or not may never be known: Cubs fans on Twitter think Cuzzi got it right, Cardinals fans think Cuzzi got it wrong, and neither side has definitive video proof to support their conjecture—especially with pitcher Reyes' leg blocking out the moment of truth on a key replay angle. In other words, this ruling truly is the "call stands" of fair/foul decisions.

(Note: The Cardinals won the game on a fly out several pitches later) | Video as follows:

Injury Scout - Ron Kulpa Leaves After Shot to Mask

HP Umpire Ron Kulpa left Saturday's #Brewers-#Reds game in Cincinnati after a deflected fastball off the mask, officially ruled a passed ball allowing a baserunner to advance.

In the top of the 6th inning, Brewers batter Willy Adames took a 1-0 93.4-mph sinker from Reds pitcher Sonny Gray for a called ball, which was deflected by catcher Tyler Stephenson into Kulpa's traditional-style facemask.

Kulpa was replaced at home plate by 2B Umpire Nic Lentz while 1B Umpire and Acting Crew Chief Bruce Dreckman and 3B Umpire Shane Livensparger remained on the lines.

Relevant Injury History: Like Danley, Layne has a significant history of head trauma.
> On April 15, 2019, Kulpa left a game after a 94-mph direct shot that eluded catcher Yasmani Grandal.

Last Game: May 22 | Return to Play: TBD | Time Absent: TBD | Video as follows:

Friday, May 21, 2021

KBO Walk-Off Rundown & Force Play Analysis

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO)'s SSG Landers walked off the LG Twins 6-5 Friday when the defense forgot to make a play on the winning runner during a groundout to third base and ensuing rundown. Umpires Choi Young-joo, Kang Gwang-hwe, Kwon Young-chul, and Lee Yong-huk presided over the unique walk-off situation that is actually covered by the Official Baseball Rules.

Play: With one out and the bases loaded, Landers batter Lee Jae-won hit a ground ball to Twins third baseman Kim Min-sung, who stepped on third base and threw to catcher Yoo Kang-nam to make a play on Landers baserunner R3 Choo Shin-soo.

What followed was pandemonium for one team and jubilation for the other as the catcher ran R3 back to third base, where trail baserunner R2 Han Yoo-seom was standing. The defense's attention then turned to R2, who retreated toward second base as R3 again broke for the plate, only this time, there was no throw home and he scored the winning run in uncontested fashion.

Analysis
: As stated, the batter with the bases loaded and one out hit a ground ball to the third baseman, who stepped on third base. This forced out R2, as signaled by the umpire right after his fair ball call, and removed R3's obligation to run home, meaning the defense now needed to tag R3. When the catcher ran R3 back to third base and saw R2 begin to run back toward second base, he began to chase R2 as R3 scored, all while the 3B Umpire signaled that R2 was already out (due to the force play).

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(a)(5) Comment states, "If the batter or a runner continues to advance or returns or attempts to return to his last legally touched base after he has been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders." This means R2, by virtue of advancing to third then retreating toward second, was legal in the sense that, although R2 was already put out, his actions are not to be construed as retired runner's interference. Accordingly, that means R3's run was legally scored and the game properly declared over in walk-off fashion.

Hypothetical
: Assume that fielder F5 never stepped on third base to force out R2 and, for whatever reason, F2 never stepped on home plate to force out R3. OBR 5.06(a)(2) states that, "Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 5.06(b)(2) applies." (b)(2), in turn, states, "If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced."

Plainly, relative to our hypothetical case, if R2 and R3 both stood on third base during a force play situation and both were tagged while on the base, lead runner R3 would be declared out.

But if R2 and R3 both stood on third base when there was no force (e.g., first base was not occupied at the start of the play or the batter-runner was already thrown out at first base, etc.), and both were tagged while on the base, trail runner R2 would be declared out. Note that as long as R3 runs back to third base and remains on the base without going up the left field line (e.g., past the base), there is no runners passing situation: as stated in prior articles, the base, relative to runners passing, is somewhat of a neutral zone.

Video as follows:

Thursday, May 20, 2021

MLB Ejection 051 - Dan Iassogna (1; Brad Miller)

HP Umpire Dan Iassogna ejected Phillies 1B Brad Miller (strike three call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 9th inning of the #Marlins-#Phillies game. With one out and none on, Miller took a 2-2 slider from Marlins pitcher Zach Pop for a called third strike. Replays indicate the pitch was located over the inner half of home plate and below the midpoint (px -0.20, pz 3.40 [sz_top 3.47 / RAD 3.59]) and that all other pitches during the at-bat were properly officiated, the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Marlins were leading, 6-0. The Marlins ultimately won the contest, 6-0.

This is Dan Iassogna (58)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Dan Iassogna now has 4 points in the UEFL Standings (0 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).
Crew Chief Dan Iassogna now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*This pitch was located 3.28 vertical inches from being deemed incorrect.

This is the 51st ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 20th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Miller was 1-3 (SO) in the contest.
This is Philadelphia's 4th ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL East (PHI 4; MIA, NYM 2; WAS 1; ATL 0).
This is Brad Miller's 1st ejection since Sept 24, 2019 (Alan Porter; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

MLB Ejection 050 - Alan Porter (1; Bob Melvin)

HP Umpire Alan Porter ejected Athletics manager Bob Melvin (multiple calls; all QOCY) at the conclusion of the 5th inning of the #Astros-#Athletics game. With none out and none on in the bottom of the 5th inning, A's batter Sean Murphy flied out to right, Tony Kemp walked, Elvis Andrus lined out, Mark Canha singled, and Seth Brown struck out swinging. Replays indicate all callable pitches during the half-inning preceding ejection were properly officiated, Astros pitcher Luis Garcia did not balk, and no calls could be conclusively determined to be incorrect, the call was irrecusable. At the time of the ejection, the Astros were leading, 5-2. The Astros ultimately won the contest, 6-3.

This is Alan Porter (64)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Alan Porter now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Chris Guccione now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).

This is the 50th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 27th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Oakland's 3rd ejection of 2021, 1st in the AL West (OAK 3; LAA, TEX 2; SEA 1; HOU 0).
This is Bob Melvin's 2nd ejection of 2021, 1st since April 26 (Sean Barber; QOC = N [Replay Review]).

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

MLB Ejection 049 - Will Little (1; Torey Lovullo)

HP Umpire Will Little ejected Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (runner's lane interference call; QOCY) in the top of the 5th inning of the #Dbacks-#Dodgers game. With one out and one on (R3), Diamondbacks batter Matt Peacock bunted a 1-1 slider from Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the ground to Kershaw, who threw toward first baseman Max Muncy in an attempt to retire batter-runner Peacock. Replays indicate Peacock failed to legally enter the runner's lane by virue of running inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in doing so interfered with Dodgers first baseman Muncy taking the throw at first base in accordance with rule 5.09(a)(11), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Diamondbacks were leading, 2-1. The Dodgers ultimately won the contest, 4-2. 

This is Will Little (93)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Will Little now has 5 points in the UEFL Standings (1 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 5).
Crew Chief Marvin Hudson now has 2 points in Crew Division (1 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 2).
*Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11) states, in part, that a batter is out when—"In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead...The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base."

This is the 49th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 26th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Arizona's 3rd ejection of 2021, T-1st in the NL West (ARI, SD 3; COL, LAD 2; SF 1).
This is Torey Lovullo's 2nd ejection of 2021, 1st since May 9 (Manny Gonzalez; QOC = Y [Balls/Strikes]).

MLB Ejection 048 - Chris Conroy (1; Dave Martinez)

HP Umpire Chris Conroy ejected Nationals manager Dave Martinez (runner's lane interference call; QOCY) in the top of the 7th inning of the #Nationals-#Cubs game. With none out and none on, Nationals batter Trea Turner swung at and missed a 1-2 fastball from Cubs pitcher Tommy Nance, the pitched ball evading catcher Willson Contreras for an uncaught third strike before Contreras threw to first base in an attempt to retire batter-runner Turner. Replays indicate Turner failed to legally enter the runner's lane by virtue of running inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in doing so interfered with Cubs 1B PJ Higgins taking the throw at first base in accordance with rule 5.09(a)(11), the call was correct.* At the time of the ejection, the Nationals were leading, 4-2. The Nationals ultimately won the contest, 4-3.

This is Chris Conroy (96)'s 1st ejection of 2021.
Chris Conroy now has 6 points in the UEFL Standings (2 Prev + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 6).
Crew Chief Chris Conroy now has 3 points in Crew Division (2 Previous + 1 Correct Call = 3).
*Official Baseball Rule 5.09(a)(11) states, in part, that a batter is out when—"In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead...The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base."
Related AnalysisWorld Series Interference - Blame the Rule, not the Umpire (10/30/19).

This is the 48th ejection report of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 25th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Washington's 1st ejection of 2021, 4th in the NL East (PHI 3; MIA, NYM 2; WAS 1; ATL 0).
This is Dave Martinez's 1st ejection since October 29, 2019 (Sam Holbrook; QOC = Y [Run Ln INT]).
This is Chris Conroy's 1st ejection since July 16, 2019 (Gabe Kapler; QOC = U [Warnings]).

Wrap: Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs, 5/19/21 | Video as follows:

2021 No-Hitter 6, Ryan Additon (1; Cory Kluber)

A day after Angel Hernandez's no-hitter in Seattle, HP Umpire Ryan Additon called New York Yankees pitcher Cory Kluber's no-no against the Rangers in Texas Wednesday night, joined by 1B Umpire and Crew Chief Bill Miller, 2B Umpire Doug Eddings, and 3B Umpire Brian Knight.

In accordance with UEFL tradition, the following are umpire Additon's three plate scores, including a perfect 100% (123/123) performance under ML Private/Zone Evaluation Equivalent conditions, 97.6% (120/123) UEFL f/x score, and 91.1% (112/123) value for ML Public / the broadcast-facing zero error system.

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 79 called balls outside strike zone / 3 called balls within strike zone = 79/82 = 96.3% accuracy.
Strikes: 41 called strikes within strike zone / 0 called strike outside strike zone = 41/41 = 100% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score for Additon = 120/`12 = 97.6% accuracy (+3 NYY/skew favored Yanks).

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

MLB Ejections 046-47 - Brian Gorman (2-3; MIL x2)

HP Umpire Brian Gorman ejected Brewers RF Avisail Garcia (check swing strike two call by 1B Umpire Adrian Johnson) in the top of the 9th inning of the #Brewers-#Royals game. With two out and none on, Garcia attempted to check his swing on a 2-1 fastball by Royals pitcher Josh Staumont ruled a check swing on appeal by 1B Umpire Johnson. (A prior 1-0 pitch ruled strike one was located over the heart of home plate and at the hollow of the knee.) This play is under review by the UEFL Appeals Board (check swing call), the call was *PENDING*. At the time of the ejections, the Royals were leading, 2-0. The Royals ultimately won the contest, 2-0.

These are Brian Gorman (9)'s 2nd and 3rd ejections of 2021.
Brian Gorman now as 12 points in the UEFL Standings (4 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 2 QOCY] = 12).
Crew Chief Brian Gorman now has 6 points in Crew Division (4 Previous + 2 Correct Calls = 6).

These are the 46th and 47th ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 19th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Garcia was 0-4 (SO) in the contest.
This is the 24th manager ejection of 2021.
This is Milwaukee's 4/5th ejection of 2021, 1st in the NL Central (MIL 5; CIN 3; CHC, PIT 2; STL 1).
This is Avisail Garcia's 1st ejection since June 15, 2017 (Paul Emmel; QOC = Y [Check Swing]).
This is Craig Counsell's 2nd ejection of 2021, 1st since May 13 (Jim Reynolds; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).
This is Brian Gorman's 2/3rd ejection of 2021, 1st since May 8 (Joe Maddon; QOC = Y [Replay Review]).

Wrap: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kansas City Royals, 5/19/21 | Video as follows:

2021 No-Hitter 5, Angel Hernandez (1; Spencer Turnbull)

HP Umpire Angel Hernandez called Detroit Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull's no-hitter against the Mariners in Seattle Tuesday evening, joined by 1B Umpire Edwin Moscoso, 2B Umpire Lance Barksdale and 3B Umpire and Crew Chief Ted Barrett, the second consecutive no-hitter for Ted Barrett's crew (2021 No-Hitter 4, Lance Barksdale (1; Wade Miley)).

In accordance with UEFL tradition, the following are umpire Hernandez's three plate scores, including a 97.5% (116/119) performance under ML Private/Zone Evaluation Equivalent conditions, 93.3% (111/119) UEFL f/x score, and 86.6% (103/119) value for ML Public / the broadcast-facing zero error system.

The UEFL f/x look:
Balls: 80 called balls outside strike zone / 2 called balls within strike zone = 80/82 = 97.6% accuracy.
Strikes: 31 called strikes within strike zone / 6 called strike outside strike zone = 31/37 = 83.8% accuracy.
Total Raw Accuracy Score for Hernandez = 111/119 = 93.3% accuracy (+6 SEA/skew favored Mariners).

MLB Ejections 044-45 - Jim Reynolds (3-4; MIN x2)

HP Umpire Jim Reynolds ejected Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey (throwing at White Sox batter Yermin Mercedes) and manager Rocco Baldelli (arguing Duffey's ejection) in the top of the 7th inning of the #WhiteSox-#Twins game. With one out and none on, Mercedes took a first-pitch fastball from Duffey for a called first ball. Replays indicate the pitch was located behind Mercedes' legs, the call was irrecusable*; warnings had not previously been issued and Mercedes was ejected pursuant to Official Baseball Rule 6.09(c)(9)(A) Intentionally Pitch at the Batter.* At the time of the ejection, the White Sox were leading, 4-2. The Twins ultimately won the contest, 5-4.

These are Jim Reynolds (77)'s 3rd and 4th ejections of 2021.
Jim Reynolds now has 10 points in the UEFL Standings (6 Prev + 2*[2 MLB + 0 QOCU] = 10).
Crew Chief Jim Reynolds now has 5 points in Crew Division (3 Previous + 2 Irrecusable Calls = 5).
*OBR 6.09(c)(9): "If, in the umpire’s judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to: (A) Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or (B) may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager."

These are the 44th and 45th ejection reports of the 2021 MLB regular season.
This is the 18th player ejection of 2021. Prior to ejection, Duffey's line was 0.1 IP.
This is the 23rd manager ejection of 2021.
This is Minnesota's 2/3rd ejection of 2021, T-1st in the AL Central (KC, MIN 3; CLE, CWS, DET 0).
This is Tyler Duffey's first career MLB ejection.
This is Rocco Baldelli's 1st ejection since Sept 15, 2020 (Will Little; QOC = N [Balls/Strikes]).
This is Jim Reynolds' 3/4th ejection of 2021, 1st since May 13 (Craig Counsell; QOC = Y [Fair/Foul]).

Wrap: Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins, 5/18/21 | Video as follows:

Monday, May 17, 2021

Manny Machado Slides Into Edman - Legal Baseball Play?

When Padres baserunner Manny Machado slid into Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman in San Diego Sunday night, fans debated whether the slide was dirty...but was it legal? We visit the relevant rules to officiate this play.

Play: With none out and one on (R1) in the bottom of the 4th inning, Padres batter Jake Cronenworth hit a first-pitch slider from Cardinals pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim on the ground to second baseman Tommy Edman, who attempted to tag Padres baserunner R1 Manny Machado, who slid into Edman, after which both players stood up with Machado returning to the Padres' dugout.

Call: 2B Umpire Dan Merzel ruled Machado out and Cronenworth remained at first base.

Rules: The first rule governing this play is Official Baseball Rule 5.09(b)(1), "any runner is out when they run more than three feet away from their base path to avoid being tagged unless their action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball." As Machado appeared to continue along his path to second base without horizontal deviation, we can eliminate OBR 5.09(b)(1).

Next up is OBR 6.01(j), sliding to bases on double play attempts or the bona fide slide rule. For the most part, 6.01(j) is encountered at or near a base, but not always, and in general as the rule states, the runner must de deemed to initiate contact with the fielder "for the purpose of breaking up a double play."

For the purposes of this play, and the aforementioned notwithstanding, one key phrase within this rule clarifies that Machado's slide was legal: "Interference shall not be called where a runner’s contact with the fielder was caused by the fielder being positioned in (or moving into) the runner’s legal pathway to the base." Because Edman clearly is moving into Machado's legal pathway to second base, this exception to interference is applicable.

Willful and deliberate interference rule 6.01(a)(6) also has potential, but, ultimately, if the slide is already deemed legal as a result of the bona fide slide rule, the runner who effects such a legal slide should not be deemed to have willfully and deliberately interfered with a batted ball or fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play.

No Tag, But Out? Replays clearly indicate Edman never tagged Machado, so why was Machado declared out? The answer is OBR 5.09(b)(2) and abandonment ("leaves the base path, obviously abandoning their effort to touch the next base"). When Machado returned to the Padres dugout, he abandoned and was declared out by 2B Umpire Dan Merzel in accordance with 5.09(b)(2). Had Machado continued to advance to second base without being tagged, the proper call would be to rule him safe at second.

Conclusion: Clean, dirty or anything in between is not within the rulebook's purview (until it turns into intentionally pitching at the batter or something of the sort). Instead, we consider only whether the slide is rules-legal or rules-illegal, and pursuant to the professional ruleset, Machado's slide was not only legal, it was successful in avoiding the middle infielder's tag attempt and would have worked, if not for Machado's abandonment.

Video as follows:

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Obstruction Scores Andrus After Elvis' Embellishment

HP Umpire John Libka awarded A's baserunner Elvis Andrus home plate on an obstruction call after Andrus ran into Twins catcher Ben Rortvedt, leading to complaints ranging from "he's on the grass" to "he flopped"...but what does the rule actually say and, by rule, was the umpire's ruling correct?

Play: With one out and two on (R2, R3) in the top of the 5th inning of Sunday's Athletics-Twins game, A's batter Ramon Laureano hit a ground ball to Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who threw home as runner R3 Andrus ran toward the plate. Catcher Rortvedt caught the ball and began chasing Andrus back to third base, eventually throwing the ball to third base to continue the rundown.

Call
: At this point, Andrus turned back toward home plate and collided with Rortvedt, falling to the ground as HP Umpire Libka called obstruction on Rortvedt, awarding Andrus home as a result, scoring a run for Oakland and charging an error to Minnesota's Rortvedt. Even more consequential? The A's ultimately won the contest by one run, 7-6.

Rule: To determine whether this was the correct call or not, we first must consult Official Baseball Rules 6.01(h)(1) pertaining to obstruction ("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"): "If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before they touch 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 judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base they 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."

Analysis
: We review the play and observe Andrus, throughout the course of the rundown, has chosen a base path on the edge of the infield grass in fair territory.* We use this information as a guide to conclude that because Andrus makes contact with Rortvedt on the edge of the infield grass in fair territory, it is reasonable to say that Andrus did not run significantly out of his way solely to contact the fielder.

That said, it is apparent that Andrus appears to stick his arm out in exaggerated fashion to heighten the level of contact and that Andrus appears to embellish this contact by falling onto the ground in a similar exaggeration. However, as much of a potential flop as the falling might be, we are restricted to considering OBR 6.01(h)(1) and the definition of obstruction: Rortvedt is a fielder not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, having thrown the ball to another player. Accordingly, this is obstruction, because at the time of the interaction, Andrus was running toward home plate and even if he was impeded ever so slightly, the fact remains that he was impeded and, thus, is entitled to an obstruction call.

*Remember, a runner choses their own base path and is not out for being outside of this base path (not baseline, see OBR 5.09(b)(1) and our series on Base Path situations for further information) unless the runner deviates by more than three feet from a direct line between the runner and the base the runner is attempting to achieve, in order to avoid a tag.

Finally, this is an example of obstruction type 1 (Type A OBS) because a play was being made on the runner at the time: After Libka calls "Time" (type 1 causes the ball to become dead), the obstructed R3 Andrus gets home plate and all runners behind him get whatever bases the umpires believe they would have achieved had obstruction not occurred.

In hockey this perhaps would be a two-for-interference / two-for-embellishment coincidental minor penalties situation, but in baseball, it is only obstruction on the defense. The rules do not allow for a diving call in this play.

Video as follows: