June 05, 2019

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 4 comments

The college softball World Series ended on a great play, but it made me wonder whether it would've qualified as catcher interference if it turned out differently.

posted by rcade at 09:46 AM on June 05

qualified as catcher interference

Hang on a second until I get my umpire plate gear on.

OK. First of all there are 2 types of catcher's obstruction -- the team at bat can commit Interference, and the team in the field can commit obstruction. The most common is when the catcher inadvertently contacts the bat during a swing. That is obviously not what we're talking about here. The other is when a runner is obstructed when trying to reach a base. There is a further interpretation that occurs when a fielder blocks a base, and is particularly used when a catcher blocks the plate. In the video the runner does exactly what she should in order to avoid contact; that is, she must slide, evade, or retreat. Had the catcher been standing in the baseline waiting for the ball, and the runner had to change direction to avoid, it's clearly obstruction. The runner is awarded the base she is attempting to reach, and in any case one base past the last one legally occupied.

In this play there is no obstruction. The catcher entered the baseline while making a play on the ball. There can be no obstruction in this case. The general interpretation is that a fielder is entitled to her position in order to make a play, and if a runner interferes, the runner is out. In the video, the play happened quickly, with the catcher moving into the baseline as the runner is on her. Had the runner contacted the catcher without making an effort to avoid, she could have been called out, even if the catcher had dropped the ball. Had the collision been deliberate, the runner could also have been ejected. The latter part of the obstruction/interference rule at the plate, that is for ejection, is of fairly recent vintage and is chiefly meant to prolong the life expectancy of the catcher.

Back to the bench before I toss you.

posted by Howard_T at 12:47 PM on June 05

LOL. Always wanted to throw an epic managerial fit like the guy who crawled at second base and pretended he was throwing grenades at the pitcher's mound.

posted by rcade at 12:56 PM on June 05

You guys are alright.

posted by bender at 03:05 PM on June 06

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