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.
Now watch this video. The relevant clip starts almost half way through, with about 1:07 to go.
Michael Barrett was obstructing on two different counts.
- He clearly kicks his leg out to impede Holliday at the last moment, not to establish fielding position. This was not a situation in which Barrett "must occupy his position to receive the ball." (Bold letters are mine)
- "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." Barrett dropped the ball before Holliday slid into his shin guard. If he is no longer fielding the ball, he has no right to "impede the progress of the runner".
Of course, nobody ever enforces these rules. They are so completely ignored that nobody even mentioned obstruction, amidst all of the hysteria about the need for instant replay in baseball. In an ironic twist, this may actually be a case in which replay would have led to a greater injustice. The Rockies rightfully won the game; Holliday didn't need to touch home.(I don't ask for much. But I'd appreciate a few "Nicely done, Tremont"s in the comment section for the work I've done in this post. I am completely right and apparently the only person on the planet whose considered it.)
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