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What's the obstruction rule in baseball?

Author's Note

As a baseball fan, I thought I knew everything about how the rules of the game, but I wasn't aware of the details of the obstruction rule and its background before researching this article. What would happen if the obstruction rule had never been introduced at the turn of the century? I imagine baseball would look a lot more like football or hockey, and we'd probably see a lot more injuries occur on the basepaths.

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