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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: 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.
This is shockingly bad umpiring, and it's having a material effect on a pennant race.
"[The umpires said] he has to have a clear lane to the base," Melvin said.
2. Aybar not only did not try to avoid contact, he took a sharp left turn out of the baseline to deliberately create contact, which is clear because...
The batshit crazy thing is that even if the umpire is right that Moss obstructed Aybar, he should still probably be called out, since he would not have reached based safely absent the obstruction. Otero still tags him easily if Moss is out of the way and Aybar runs straight down the baseline.
Any runner is out when --
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball.
Jose, he takes two steps after Otero catches the ball, it doesn't seem likely that the hesitation/deviation cost him that much time. Also, Otero can still make a throw to first if he misses him (the second baseman is a little late getting there, but should still have a play). And even this assumes that all of the hesitation/deviation is due to obstruction, but in fact it's only after Moss is no longer making the play that he's obstructing.
Kick-started by an obstruction call and ended by a Mike Trout fielder's choice, the ninth inning during the Angels' 4-3, 10-inning win over Oakland had everything but a winner. The A's played the rest of the game under protest, but announced on Friday they had dropped the protest.
I think it's time we have another cleansing of the umpire ranks.
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