Thursday, September 1, 2022

Ask UEFL - When a Catcher Can Legally Block Home

Replay Review confirmed HP Umpire Dan Bellino's out call, ruling that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina legally blocked Reds runner Colin Moran's path at home plate when St Louis prevented Cincinnati from walking off with an extra inning win Wednesday night.

The two-fold review, a failed challenge by Reds manager David Bell that saw Bellino's home plate collision violation no-call confirmed and resulted in an out (tag) call that stood, brought into focus the main points of Official Baseball Rule 6.01(i)(2), MLB's Collisions at Home Plate regulation: "Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as they are 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."

Accordingly, Molina's plate blocking action was ruled legal because he came into possession of the baseball prior to blocking baserunner R3 Moran's pathway to home plate during the runner's slide. Because Cardinals shortstop Tommy Edman's throw took Molina from his initial positioning with a foot on the foul line that may or may not have otherwise been a blocking violation away from home plate to field the ball before spinning back around (now with possession of the baseball) to block the runner, it effectively "reset" the plate blocking calculus: Molina's final act of blocking the plate was legal, and, due to the timing of the runner's arrival, was the only instance of plate blocking considered by Replay.

Video as follows:


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