Official Baseball

Why isn't obstruction called in Major League Baseball games?

In Major League Baseball games it seems like every time when a base-runner is trying to make a steal for home plate the catcher jumps right in front of the home plate preventing the base-runner from scoring and most of the time catchers jump in front of the home plate before they even have the baseball. The catcher can only block home plate if they have possession of the baseball. Stated by the Official Baseball Rule 7.06

There's a good reason obstruction isn't called in your situation - it's because it isn't obstruction. 7.06 defines the consequences of obstruction. You have to read 2.00 OBSTRUCTION to find the definition. It reads:

"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."

First, the catcher is not guilty of obstruction by just standing in the line or blocking the plate while the runner approaches the plate, since the runner has not yet been hindered. It's nothing - yet.

Second, the catcher cannot be guilty of obstruction if he has the ball, or a throw is on the way. (That's pro rules. In NCAA, high school and most youth ball, the catcher must have the ball to be exempted from obstruction.)

Third, obstruction does get called, when it applies. It just doesn't happen very often in MLB. Plus, most people don't understand how the obstruction rule actually works because they read 7.06 without reading 2.00 first.

Obstruction is called quite a bit in Little League, since the fielders tend to stand on top of the base and get in the runner's way when there's no play at the base.

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