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Two Types of Obstruction

“Type A” Obstruction

Type A obstruction occurs when “a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base.” In other words, this means that the defensive team is trying to make a defensive play on a player without possession of the ball. (e.g. a catcher blocking a runner from touching home without the ball) This is a dead ball penalty, and bases would be awarded to the offensive team as appropriate.

Obstruction on Batter-Runner Before He Reaches 1B

If the batter-runner is obstructed before he reached 1B, the ball is dead and all runners advance to the bases they would have reached had there not been obstruction.

Protected fielder? Obstruction? Interference? Runner makes contact with the pitcher who was not the protected fielder.

Placing the Runners

The task of placing runners can be challenging but ultimately it is up to the umpire to decide where the runners are placed as if there had been no obstruction. Here are factors umpire consider:

  • Because the ball is dead at the moment of obstruction, actions which occur in the aftermath of the obstruction (subsequent throws, or additional bases advanced) are not to be considered in placing the runners.
  • If a wild throw was in the air at the time of obstruction, umpires consider whether the throw ends up in play or dead ball territory. If the ball bounces into dead ball territory the penalty for a wild throw into dead ball territory is enforced.
    • Penalty for wild throw is two bases from the time of pitch if the throw is the first action off a batted ball or time of throw if the throw occurs after the first action off an infield batted ball
  • If the throw remains on the field, the umpires will judge where the runners would have advanced had obstruction not occurred.

Umpire Tip:

The proper umpire mechanic for Type A Obstruction is to raise both hands, as in calling time. At that point the ball is dead.

The most common Obstruction A occurs during a rundown.

KNOW THIS: Sometimes players caught in a rundown will “hunt” a fielder without the ball to draw an obstruction call. If the runners goes beyond his base path, obstruction should not be called.

The runner is caught in a rundown goes out of the baseline to “hunt” for an obstruction call.

Obstruction and Interference Plays: Approved Rulings: [Umpire Interpretation 46]

Obstruction: [Official Rule 6.01(h)(2)]

“Type B” Obstruction

Type B obstruction is more incidental and occurs when no play is being made on the obstructed runner. These are infractions that happen “away from the ball” but still involve a defender blocking a runner’s right to advance to the next base on his base path. If a defensive player slips and accidentally trips a runner on the base paths, for instance, this would be considered Type B obstruction. This is considered a delayed dead ball violation and penalties can vary depending on the umpire’s interpretation.

When Type B obstruction occurs, the ball remains alive until the end of the play. The umpire then calls “Time” and imposes penalties, if any.

Here are two of the most common examples of Type B obstruction:

  • Runner dives back into a base to avoid a pickoff attempt. The throw is wild and the fielder dives over the runner. The ball passes the fielder and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner. It is likely Type B obstruction because the fielder is no longer in the act of fielding. The ball stays alive and the umpire awards the obstructed player one base.
  • Batter hits a base hit and the first baseman is watching the play in the outfield while standing in the path of the batter-runner as he rounds 1B. The runner runs into the first baseman away from the play.

Obstruction Mechanic: [Umpire Interpretation 44]

The Rockies and Braves played at Coors Field on July 21 when the Type B obstruction rule came alive. Watch the play, make a call, and then get the expert interpretation from Rich Marazzi in this Insider Report.

Insider Reports: Obstruction

Bregman Obstruction

Need a clear and concise primer on Obstruction? In this Insider Report Rich Marazzi does a clean job of explaining the basics of obstruction. He then breaks down a big league obstruction violation when the Astros hosted the Rays, August 28, 2016.

Obstruction

If you need help understanding the details of the obstruction rule, read this Insider Report to get the real scoop in easy to understand words. Rich Marazzi also deciphers an obstruction call that was made during the May, 2016 White Sox-Rangers game in Arlington.

By definition, obstruction occurs when “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.” There are two types of Obstruction: Type A and Type B.

Obstruction – Type A and Type B

The more you know about the obstruction rule the smarter you will be! The Padres and D’Backs had one of the most interesting plays of the 2015 when they hosted the Padres May 10. This Insider Report is an interesting read.

Obstruction Rule Revisited

Another nice presentation of the sometimes confusing obstruction rule. If you read this Insider Report, you will know more than anyone else in the ballpark.

“Type B” Obstruction

The Rockies and Braves played at Coors Field on July 21 when the Type B obstruction rule came alive. Watch the play, make a call, and then get the expert interpretation from Rich Marazzi in this Insider Report.