Angles-A's game from last night. Just when I thought I understood the rules... I'd always thought the fielder had absolute right to field a batted ball, with 100% of the onus on the runner to avoid him. That would make this a classic case of interference. So why was the ruling obstruction?
Only one fielder is protected. The umpire judges who has the best chance to field the ball and protects that player. In this case, it was the pitcher. The problem was F3 was involved in the play, not protected, and obstructed the runner before he got to the pitcher fielding the ball. If the batter - runner is obstructed prior to reaching first base, it's Type A obstruction. The ball is dead immediately and the batter is awarded first base. So in this play, the moment the batter - runner was obstructed, the play ended. This play stopped before any possible interference with F1 making a play.
It's a complicated play with lots of judgment involved. But the problem was too many defensive players involved and the one without the ball and not protected was closest to the runner.
This message was edited by VTHokieUmp on 8-29-14 @ 4:09 PM