Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MLB Issues Rule 7.13 Plate Blocking Clarification

MLB issued a clarification of home plate collision Rule 7.13 this week, stating that even though the letter of the law requires catchers to allow runners a lane to score (and, in turn, requires runners to avoid unnecessary contact with catchers), "common sense" shall prevail, both in real time and via instant replay review.

In other words, runners will still be ruled out, as in pre-2014 baseball, if the catcher gains possession of or imminently fields the throw before the runner arrives at home plate.

MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre's words:
If the runner would have been called out notwithstanding the catcher’s improper positioning in front of the plate, the out call will stand.
The clarification references hindrance and impedance, both elements of obstruction, suggesting in a sense that umpires may indeed adjudicate Rule 7.13 using the same principles that would otherwise apply to obstruction (or interference in the case of a runner deviating to contact the catcher) pursuant to Rule 2.00.

The only difference, naturally, is that Rule 2.00 [Obstruction] and [Interference] are not reviewable while Rule 7.13 is subject to Replay Review.

Tuesday night's Rule 7.13 review in New York resulted in a confirmed out call at home plate, with replay officials ruling that the baserunner would have been called out despite the catcher's positioning.

Video: Rule 7.13 Crew Chief Review highlight reel, featuring ejections and overturns (MLBAM)
Video: Greg Amsinger, John Smoltz and Harold Reynolds discuss the 7.13 clarification (MLB Network)


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