Tuesday, February 25, 2014

MLB Muddies Water On Home Plate Collisions

(Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)
Leave it to Bud Selig to screw up a simple idea. Instead of just banning home plate collisions by forcing runners to slide (as is the case in every level of baseball except the majors), MLB announced a half-baked rule to prevent the most "egregious" collisions while still allowing some. Confused yet? Let's see if Bud's  lawyers can clarify it for you: "The rule that will be in effect in 2014 does not mandate that the runner always slide or that the catcher can never block the plate. However, runners who slide, and catchers who provide the runner with a lane to reach the plate, will never be found to be in violation of the new rule. Beginning immediately, Clubs will be required to train their runners to slide and their catchers to provide the runner with a pathway to reach the plate at all levels in their organizations." Thanks for clearing that up! Let's try another explanation: "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). If, in the judgment of the Umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the Umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball). Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe." OK, now we get it. Not!