Monday, November 7, 2011

8-5-B-3 Humbled

I umped a playoff game yesterday:

  • Situation: Score tied bottom of the 7th, one out runners on first and second
  • Ump Crew: One man job - me
  • Play: Ground ball to short where there is an error but the ball stays in the infield. On his way to 3B, the runner on second collides with the third baseman (between second and third) . The third base coach yells obstruction and sends runner home, where the runner is out by at least 10-20 feet.
  • My Initial Call: I did see the obstruction, but there was no play at third during the obstruction, I followed the play and called the guy out at home. After the play, the offensive team came out and argued that the runner should have been awarded home due to obstruction and game over. The Defensive team did not argue.
Talk about your crunch time messes.

My Decision: As an ump you can never show indecision or weakness as the sharks smell blood. After the play I made the following ruling : "Dead Ball. Runner goes back to third. Bases loaded and one out. In my judgement the runner would not have scored because of the obstruction, he was only interfered going to third, not rounding going to home and the ball was in the infield. The coach only sent him home because he thought he was dealing with free money (safe b/c of the obstruction).

I informed both teams that if they wanted to protest do so now and play will resume now. No protest was filed. My intentions were good, I couldn't end a game, much less a playoff game that way. 

Next Play : Long shot over a drawn in Outfield. Game over

When I went home I researched my ruling in the ASA Rule Book and came up with the right call in under Rule 8 Section 5 Clause B, Point 3 (8-5-B-3) which states

"If the obstructed runner is put out after passing the base which would have been reached had there been no obstruction or advanced beyond the two bases were the obstruction occurred:
EFFECT: The obstructed runner will be called out. the ball remains live.

I also reached out to Inwood's head umpire and other officials they acknowledged it was a tough one man call, but the runner should have been called out.

I was wrong.Fuck

Most people wouldn't admit their mistake, but I always try and face the truth. I know I didn't cost the team the game because the defensive team wasn't even upset as they had key defensive breakdowns and took responsibility/ownership for their play. It does go to show you how important two umpires are at playoff time as crazy shit happens. Ironically, both teams agreed to one ump before the playoffs.

It's a humbling game


  1. One Ump in the Playoffs, must be the Bums league..: )

    Rick, its huge to know the importance of the Rules because of situations like this.
    At the same time, if you would have called him out at home, which is the correct call. The Offensive team would have yelled out Bloody Murder and worse, would never go back to check the Rule.


    Now you an set up a Rule clarification section on this website: Umps and players can research the Rule, note which book and page it was found.

    This will help many players and umpires alike.

  2. great job all around...what a tough gig, jeeze

  3. just eject both teams. rule # 1 rick.

  4. Your first instinct was correct about calling him out at home. Its like the infield fly rule, the runners/coach risk being out after leaving the base they would have been rewarded if there was obstruction. (The runner is safe until he tries to advance further)

  5. Ricky -

    You were faced with perhaps the stupidest ASA rule, namely that the runner must make an attempt at the next base in order to for an obstruction call to be made. But if the ump does not believe obstruction occurred, then the runner is out. In short, it is a guessing game for the runner, which is why few runners try it. The manager obviously thought differently than you. However, this is no reason why the runner should be put out.

    The rule should be changed so it is the same ruling as interference with a player by a spectator or player on another field: Umpire's Judgement. The Ump should be responsible for making a judgement call at the time of the obstruction and either award the extra base or not. Under no circumstances should the runner ever be out.

    Despite the fact that your call differed from ASA Rules, you made the correct call and should be fine with that.


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