• “Hey Blue, the runner busted his butt running to first base, the least you could do is move 10 ft. to make a call!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike, Blue!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, did they stop printing the rulebook in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Lenscrafter called and said your new glasses will be ready in 30 minutes!”~~~

  • “You're killing me, Blue!”~~~

  • “Blue, that was a strike in any bowling alley!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate Blue! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, you really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Blue, just 'cause it's a night game, doesn't mean you should be asleep!”~~~

  • “Blue, if that pitch were any further outside it would be in the West Desert!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy is impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “Blue, now I know why there’s only one eye (I) in umpire”~~~

  • “You can go home Blue. We'll take it from here.”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, it’s a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Blue, kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Blue, if the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask him to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on?”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “I’m gonna break your cane and shoot your dog!”~~~

  • “If I had a dollar, Blue, for every good call you’ve made, I’d be broke!”~~~

  • "Is that your final answer?”~~~

  • “The magic 8 ball says……”~~~

  • “When your dog barks twice, it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Mix in some consistency once in awhile!”~~~

  • “Take off that welding mask”~~~

  • “Lenscrafter called... They'll be ready in 30 min.”~~~

  • “Open your good eye!”~~~

  • “Can I pet your seeing eye dog after the game?”~~~

  • “Looked pretty good from up here Blue!”~~~

  • “Do your sleeping at home Blue!”~~~

  • “You must be losing them in the lights!”~~~

  • “Why do you keep looking in your hand...do you have a map of the strike zone in it?”~~~

  • “I'll take three pencils!”~~~

  • “For a guy that only works 2 hours a day, you're doing a pretty bad job!”~~~

  • “Hey blue, if you had one more eye you'd be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “RING..RING....Wake up call Blue!”~~~

  • “I've seen better blue in a toilet bowl!”~~~

  • “What's a matter you gotta broken arm?”~~~

  • “Look through the mask, not at it!”~~~

  • “It really is hot today - that strike zone is melting!”~~~

  • “Wrong!”~~~

  • “Here's a quarter, go buy a strike zone!”~~~

  • “How's work experience going Blue?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue…if you had one more eye, you’d be a Cyclops!”~~~

  • “Keep that up and we’ll shoot your dog and break your cane!”~~~

  • “"Easy Flinchy" – After a slight flinch behind the plate.”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “You're blinking way to long!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, that pitch was so far outside it had a hat and coat on!”~~~

  • “You couldn't see the plate if your dinner was on it!”~~~

  • “Wake up Blue, you're missing a great game!”~~~

  • “Somebody call the police, this guy's impersonating an umpire!”~~~

  • “You're like a bat without sonar!”~~~

  • “I didn't know we were golfing today, I would have brought my clubs!”~~~

  • “Did you star in "Weekend at Bernie's"?”~~~

  • “Hey blue, that call was a get outta here quick call!”~~~

  • “I thought only horses slept standing up!”~~~

  • “That was higher than a t-shirt at Mardi Gras!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, it's against the law to make prank calls!”~~~

  • “(Hold up cell phone) Is this your cell phone? Because it has three missed calls!”~~~

  • “That pitch was like your last date, you didn't want to see her or call her.”~~~

  • “To batter as he steps into the box: "You better be swinging. You're standing in the strike zone."”~~~

  • “After the ump has dusted off home plate: "You're gonna make someone a great wife someday!”~~~

  • “You're not gonna sleep a minute tonight because you've slept all game!”~~~

  • “Did you make the call on WMD in Iraq as well?”~~~

  • “Is your rule book written in Braille?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, how can you sleep with all these lights on!”~~~

  • “Stevie Wonder could see that one!”~~~

  • “Flip over the plate and read the directions!”~~~

  • “How about some Windex for that glass eye!”~~~

  • “The French judge says it's a strike!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, diarrhea has more consistency than your strike zone!”~~~

  • “You need to go to confession after that call!”~~~

  • “I've seen better Blues in a box of crayons!”~~~

  • “Don't bother brushing off the corners, you're not calling them anyway!”~~~

  • “We know you're blind, we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “They're putting your strike zone on the back of milk cartons!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, that's not a 9 iron he's hitting with!”~~~

  • “How do you sleep at night?”~~~

  • “I was confused the first time I saw a game too!”~~~

  • “I've gotten better calls from my ex-wife!”~~~

  • “Good thing there are not three choices!”~~~

  • “Somebody get the ump his prescription mask!”~~~

  • “You flipping coins?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue is that a dinner plate? Apparently it has no corners!”~~~

  • “Admit it.... You lied!”~~~

  • “Why don't you get your Seeing Eye dog to call it for you?”~~~

  • “I forgot the Milk-Bone for your seeing-eye dog!”~~~

  • “Have you lost your strike zone in the lights?”~~~

  • “Now I know why there's only one eye (I) in umpire!”~~~

  • “You couldn't get a pitchout right!”~~~

  • “You're making more bad calls than a telemarketer!”~~~

  • “Kick your dog, he's lying to you!”~~~

  • “Be careful when you back up, so you don't fall over your dog!”~~~

  • “Did you haul in your strike zone on a tractor trailer bed?”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, if you had another eye it would be lonely!”~~~

  • “You couldn't call hogs!”~~~

  • “Keep calling them like that and you'll be bagging groceries in no time!”~~~

  • “Get a hammer and some nails, the plate is movin' around again!”~~~

  • “You call more strikes than a union delegate!”~~~

  • “Did your glass eye fog up?”~~~

  • “You couldn't call a cab!”~~~

  • “The circus is in town and the clowns are wearing blue!”~~~

  • “It's a strike zone, not an end zone!”~~~

  • “You really shouldn't be in the game until you get warmed up!”~~~

  • “Come on Blue, turn that mask around and get a GOOD look!”~~~

  • “You can go home blue, we'll take it from here!”~~~

  • “How'd you become an umpire? Flunk out of tollbooth school?”~~~

  • “How about asking the crowd?”~~~

  • “Do you want to use another lifeline?”~~~

  • “3 Blind Mice, 3 Blind Mice,”~~~

  • “What were you, a lookout for the Titanic?”~~~

  • “How many fingers am I holding up?”~~~

  • “(For an umpire is slow getting in position) C'mon blue, put the Snicker Bar down!”~~~

  • “Sweep the plate! It's the least you can do!”~~~

  • “Move around, you're tilting' the infield!”~~~

  • “Move around Blue, you're killing' the grass!”~~~

  • “It sure sounded like a strike!”~~~

  • “How'd you get a square head in that round mask?”~~~

  • “Have they stopped printing the rulebooks in Braille?”~~~

  • “Don't donate your eyes to science, they don't want 'em'”~~~

  • “Does your wife let you make decisions at home?”~~~

  • “Pull the good eye out of your pocket!”~~~

  • “Wipe the dirt off that called strike!”~~~

  • “Sure you don't want to phone a friend?”~~~

  • “You can open your eyes now!”~~~

  • “Do you get any better or is this it?”~~~

  • “You're blinking too long!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make the right call if you had a phone book!”~~~

  • “You couldn't make a call in a phone booth!”~~~

  • “Do you take Visa or American Express?”~~~

  • “Leave the gift giving to Santa!”~~~

  • “Take out your glass eye and wash it!”~~~

  • “Guess again, the last call was wrong!”~~~

  • “Blue, do you feel guilty?”~~~

  • “If the pitcher is throwing too fast for you, we can ask them to slow it down!”~~~

  • “Your strike zone is a moving target!”~~~

  • “You're getting better, you almost made the right call that time!”~~~

  • “Punch a hole in that mask, you're missing a good game!”~~~

  • “Hey, Sleeping Beauty, wake up!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, Magnum P.I. called and he can't find your strike zone!”~~~

  • “I've seen potatoes with better eyes!”~~~

  • “Next time buy a ticket if you're going to watch!”~~~

  • “Can I buy you another beer?”~~~

  • “We know your blind we've seen your wife!”~~~

  • “I’ve seen better blues in a crayon box!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls at a square dance!”~~~

  • “I've heard better calls between two tin cans and a piece of string!”~~~

  • “Hey Blue, were you looking for the curve?”~~~

  • “Hey Blues, which one of you is the designated driver?”~~~

  • “Move a little Blue, you're growing' roots!~~~

  • '

Come On Blue!

The bang-bang blogging thoughts of an experienced umpire.

Obstruction - ASA Ruling - Does the runner automatically get another base?

Obstruction - ASA Ruling - Does the runner automatically get another base?

MichaelASASITUATION: While umpiring at the 2014 Spanish Fork Halloween Havoc tournament 10U girls fast pitch championship game the runner rounded first and headed towards second base. The runner stopped and dashed back towards first. The first baseman was in the base path obstructing the runners easy return. The runner ran into the first baseman who was blinded by the late afternoon sun in her eyes and the runner still managed to get safely back to first, while I signaled obstruction. Meanwhile, in a way late fashion, the defensive team decided to throw back to first to try for the out, but was unsuccessful yet thankful that their first baseman even saw and caught the ball. A frustrated mother was heard to scream out from the bleachers near the offensive dugout, "C'mon Blue, that's obstruction and she should get second base!" As the plate umpire, I responded loudly to all those on and within earshot of the diamond, "Yes, that it obstruction and the runner gets to stay safely at first base."

Was that the right call?

If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, then is an extra base automatically awarded?

RULING ON THE FIELD: The runner was obstructed and made it safely to the base they were heading.

ASA-Umpire-Manual-2014-200RULE BOOK: In the ASA 2014 Official Rules of Softball you must consult two different sections to get the answer. The first is in the Section 1 definitions where it states...


 OBSTRUCTION. The act of a defensive team member:

  • A. Who hinders or impedes a batter from striking at or hitting a pitched ball.
  • B. Who impedes the progress of a runner or a batter-runner who is legally running the bases unless the fielder is:
    • 1. in possession of the ball.
    • 2. in the act of fielding a batted ball.
  • NOTE: Contact is not necessary to impede the progress of the batter-runner or a runner.

 The definition makes it clear that when using ASA rules the defensive player must have possession of the ball to be able to be in the base path unless they are making an attempt to field the batted ball. In our situation the ball did not get to the defensive player until long after the runner was already back safely at first base.

The next section is 8.5. I will share it in its entirety, but will highlight the important parts for this scenario.


Section 5. RUNNERS ARE ENTITLED TO ADVANCE WITHOUT LIABILITY TO BE PUT OUT.

  • A. When forced to vacate a base because the batter was awarded a base on balls.
  • EFFECT: (Fast Pitch Only) The ball remains in play unless it is blocked. Any runner affected is entitled to one base and may advance farther at their own risk if the ball is in play. (Slow Pitch Only) The ball is dead.
  • EXCEPTION: In 16” SP and all divisions that can steal, the ball remains live.
  • B. When a fielder not in possession of the ball or not in the act of fielding a batted ball, obstructs the progress of a runner or batter-runner.
  • EFFECT: When obstruction occurs a delayed dead ball is ruled.
  • NOTE 1: Obstructed runners are required to touch all bases in proper order and may be called out if properly appealed.
  • NOTE 2: Should an act of interference occur following any obstruction, enforcement of the interference penalty would have precedence.
  • 1. An obstructed runner may not be called out between the two bases where obstructed.
  • EXCEPTIONS:
    • a. when an obstructed runner, after the obstruction, safely obtains the base they would have been awarded, in the umpire’s judgement, had there been no obstruction and there is a subsequent play on a different runner.
    • b. an act of interference, or
    • c. if passing another runner.
    • EFFECT: a-c The obstructed runner is no longer protected between the bases where obstructed and may be put out.
    • d. Missing the base.
    • e. Leaving a base before a fly ball was first touched.
    • EFFECT: d-e The affected runner is out if properly appealed.
  • 2. If the obstructed runner is put out prior to reaching the base which would have been reached had there no obstruction.
  • EFFECT:  A dead ball is called and the obstructed runner and all other runners shall always be awarded the base or bases which would have been reached, in the umpire’s judgment, had there been no obstruction.
  • 3. 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 the obstruction occurred.
  • EFFECT: The obstructed runner will be called out. The ball remains live.
  • 4. The runner, while advancing or returning to a base;
  • a. Is obstructed by a fielder who neither has the ball or
  • b. Is attempting to field a batted ball, or
  • c. When a fielder fakes a tag without the ball
  • EFFECT: The obstructed runner and all other runners shall always be awarded the base or bases which would have been reached, in the umpire’s judgment, had there been no obstruction.
  • NOTE: If the umpire feels there is justification, a defensive player making a fake tag could be ejected from the game.

 CORRECT RULING: The runner safely attained the base they were heading back to and since they had no intent of going to second base they were not awarded second.

 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: It may be that the mother in the stands had been watching baseball  under MLB rules, which state:2014MLB

OBSTRUCTION is 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.
Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball. For example: If an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.

Reading section 7.06 of the MLB rules you can see a clear distinction between Type A and Type B obstructions. When  play is being made on the runner, then the ball is called dead and the runner is advanced a minimum of one base. If the runner is obstructed when a play is not being made upon them, then there is a delayed dead ball and runner is protected to whatever base they would have made without the obstruction. If our play occurred on the baseball diamond, then I would have determined that the runner was just returning to first and that the play upon her was long after her decision to return to first and it would have been a Type B obstruction. She had no intention of going to second and just wanted to return to first base safely. An argument could be made by the coaches in that situation, but this is where the umpire's judgment comes into play. NOTE: I have always been taught to be very, very, very reluctant about awarding extra bases for obstruction while returning to your base in young youth baseball. The same is true with the young girls in fast pitch softball.

What are your thoughts?

Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah

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