Major League Baseball’s new rule 7.13, states “a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate).” A runner violating the rule shall be declared out, even if the fielder drops the ball.
MLB also released two comments to help with the interpretation of the new rule:
The first comment says, “the failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation.” The comment says players who slide appropriately are not in violation of the rule.
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The second comment says that “unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score.” The runner shall be declared safe if the catcher violates that provision. In addition, it is not a violation “if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable.”
The umpire crew chief will also have the ability to use replay to determine their final call, as it relates to the catcher or runner in that situation.
The new rule will be in place for one year and reevaluated after the baseball year has been played out.
Home plate collisions have been a major part of the game — a test of wills — with the catcher trying to stand his ground, versus the runner who is trying to knock the ball lose from the catcher.
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One of the most famous collisions came from the great Pete Rose when he ran over Ray Fosse in an All-Star game.
In 2011, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was steamrolled by Scott Cousins, and was out most of the season because of injuries from the collision, which is one of the reasons this rule was pushed to get in.
On one hand, I understand MLB is doing their best for player safety, but on the other hand, players are being paid millions of dollars a year to play the game the way it’s suppose to be played.
These plays at home plate are not that often and fans love to see them, so sometimes it’s just better to just leave them alone.
We will see this year how this will change the scope of games, especially when one run can be crucial in baseball.
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David Kano is lead MMA writer for TVMix and MMA Show News. Kano will now be covering the sport he first remembers as a child — baseball.
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