Diane Kluesner from Washington, MO asks:
My grandsons both play baseball, one is 7 years old and the other is 14 years old. My question is, lately the first baseman on the opposing team is always standing right in front of the base and our runners have to go around him to reach first base. Are they allowed to stand in front of the base, making it difficult for the runner to find the base? The umpires told us that both the runner and the first baseman have equal possession of first base and out coaches have told the boys to run over the first baseman.
The first baseman is not allowed to stand right infront of first base unless he is in the act of fielding the batted ball or the throw.
For this situation we will assume that the ball was hit to the outfield. Since this act of obstruction (the fielder impeeded the batter-runner) occured when there was not a play being made on the batter-runner the umpire shall point at the obstruction and say "that's obstruction" but not call time. Once the play is over or the runner who was obstucted it tagged out close to the base, the umpire shall immediatly call time and reward the runner the base that he thinks the runner should be rewarded or would have reached if the obstruction had not happened.
If this happened while the ball was in the infield and a play was being made on the runner then time should be called right away and the runner will get first base.
Also, there is no need for the runner to run over the fielder in order to receive the obstruction call. Even though they are entitled to the basepath, if the runner is malicious while running over the fielder he will still receive the obstruction call but might be ejected due to unsportsmanlike conduct. If it is obvious that the fielder impeeded the runner or the runner bumps into the fielder then he will get the obstruction call.
Answered by: Jonathan Bravo