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Discussion: You make the call

Posted Discussion
May 4, 2022
Bruce M
Men's 55
98 posts
You make the call
League play. SSUSA rules. Runners on first and second. One out. Fly ball to short left field. Loudly shouted single voice: "Infield fly rule. The batter is out!!" Second base runner remains on second. Left field throws the ball to third. The umpire calls the person occupying second base out as he did not advance to third. Umpire says, "I did not call infield fly. That was the catcher." Without looking, no one on base could distinguish between the umpire's voice and the catcher's voice.
May 5, 2022
30 posts
I assume the ball was not caught based on your scenario. Because the runners obviously reacted to the catcher's voice, I would call obstruction and award all runner's one base. This type of obstruction happens somewhat frequently in our league. Fielders call foul ball on a ball that is fair, etc.
May 5, 2022
Men's 75
553 posts
In rec games, it does seem more players make the call before the volunteer, not certified, not experienced, player ump from the batting team does. The other issue at times is players/umps do not understand can the catch be made with "reasonable effort" rule, even on the grass by an infielder.
May 5, 2022
Bruce M
Men's 55
98 posts
Thx. Dirk and Dan. Yes, the ball landed in the short outfield. Your assumption was correct. No, this wasn't a catcher mumbling under his breath. It was a loud shout out. The entire infield heard it and stopped.
May 5, 2022
Bruce M
Men's 55
98 posts
I trust the tournament directors will correct me. I've done some research. Seems that Section 1.48 covers this: Obstruction: B. A fielder who is not in possession of the ball, in the act of fielding a batted
ball, nor about to receive a thrown ball, who impedes the progress of a
runner or batter-runner who is legally running bases. Although one could interpret this to be physical obstruction, it could also apply to a catcher who makes a loud call that could reasonably be heard as coming from the umpire. This is also called out in 8.4 when runners are entitled to advance...

So, it seems it is the umpire's judgement call as to if the catcher's loud voice constituted an obstruction. If yes, I think the umpire can call the ball dead and award each base runner an extra base.
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