MLB Rumors: Obstruction Rule Around Bases Will Be Enforced During 2024 Season

Originally published by

Major League Baseball introduced significant rule changes for the 2023 season, including a pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts and the use of larger bases.

The changes took some time to get used to but were considered successful as they led to shorter game times and increased action on the field.

The addition of these rules came two years after MLB began more strictly enforcing guidelines against the use of foreign substances on baseballs. With the 2024 season approaching, the league is taking another step to address some rules issues.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, MLB will strictly enforce the obstruction rule around the bases this year to prevent infielders from blocking runners’ paths to the bag:

Major League Baseball intends to strictly enforce the obstruction rule around the bases this season, instructing umpires to be more diligent in calling the infraction, sources tell ESPN.

The league is holding a Zoom call with managers on Wednesday to inform teams as well.

Rogers added that MLB nearly began enforcing the obstruction rule last season but wanted to see if the bigger bases would dissuade infielders from blocking the basepath:

The league has been closely monitoring play around the bases since 2021 and came close to enhanced enforcement of obstruction last year, according to sources familiar with their thinking. But with other major rule changes being instituted — including using bigger bases — they opted to see if the trend continued. Now they want umpires cracking down and behavior around the bases to change accordingly.

MLB defines obstruction as an “act by a fielder, who is not in possession of the ball or in the process of fielding it, that impedes the base runner’s progress.”

The league is informing umpires to call a runner safe if obstruction occurs unless the infielder must move into the path to receive the ball.

The enforcement of the obstruction will mostly affect plays at second and third base. Players will still be allowed to stand in front or behind the bag, but going to a knee to block the path is not permitted.

MLB rule modifications for 2024 season

MLB previously announced that modifications to several rules were approved by the joint competition committee and will go into effect at the start of the 2024 regular season.

The MLB rule changes being implemented are widening the runner’s lane to first base, reducing time on the pitch clock with a runner on base, timer during pitching changes, reducing the number of mound visits allowed per game, a pitcher that warms up for an inning needing to face at least one batter, time permitted for a relief pitcher to enter, and when a pitch clock starts.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!