Text of MLB obstruction rule cited in World Series

Text of Major League Baseball’s obstruction rules, cited by

third base umpire Jim Joyce in the ninth inning of Game 3 in the

World Series on Saturday night. The play gave the St. Louis

Cardinals a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.

Rule 2.00.

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.

Rule 7.06.

When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal


(a) If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the

batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball

is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put

out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s

judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner

shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last

legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners,

forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for

obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed

runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that

he calls ”Time,” with both hands overhead. The ball is

immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a

thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the

umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as

they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a

play where a runner was trapped between second and third and

obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the

throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the

dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other

runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases

from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was