Blog

A whole lot of bumping going on

Runner on first, no outs. Lazy infield popup down first base line. First baseman and pitcher converge but it seems like it’s a play for the first baseman. As the batter-runner approaches first, he and the pitcher slightly bump which causes the batter-runner to lose his balance and fall. The pitcher also loses his balance and bumps into the first baseman who drops the popup in fair territory. The first baseman recovers and tags out the batter-runner for one out and throws to the shortstop for the second out. The umpire lets the play stand. Comments?

 “…seems like it is a play for the first baseman” tells me that the umpire should be protecting the first baseman from interference by the batter-runner. That being said, note that I would not “protect” him until the ball is on its way down. If it is early enough in the process of the fly ball, such as when the batted ball is still on its way up, the first baseman could be liable to obstruction.

Only one defensive player should be given protection at a time so if the umpire is protecting the first baseman and the pitcher obstructs, it is obstruction. Since this obstruction was inflicted against the batter-runner before first base, under the Official Rules the ball would be dead and the batter-runner awarded first (assuming of course the ball ended up fair); the runner from first would be awarded second.

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