Friday, March 22, 2024

Lindor Called for Obstruction After Base Blocking

As Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor appeared to tag out Tigers baserunner Carson Kelly on a stolen base attempt, 2B Umpire Brennan Miller called the New York fielder for obstruction pursuant to MLB's new point of emphasis concerning base blocking, declaring Kelly safe at second due to the violation.

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(1) itself has not changed and obstruction is still defined 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."

However, the primary focus of the new emphasis appears to be fielders blocking runners on pickoffs and steals (or any time a play is being made at a base).

Major League Baseball seems concerned that infielders have used the "in the act of fielding the ball" exemption to the obstruction rule as an excuse to illegally block the offense from reaching a base, by sticking a leg, knee, or foot in the runner's way, and has adopted a stance on OBR 6.01(h)(1) similar in theory to the existing standard for home plate collisions in OBR 6.01(i)(2), which prohibit a catcher from blocking the pathway of the runner—even when in the act of fielding—unless the catcher is blocking the runner's path "in a legitimate attempt to field the throw."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Obstruction visits Detroit-NYM Spring Training on SB play foot block at 2B


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