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Monday, August 08, 2022

Ejected Twins manager Rocco Baldelli blasts overturned call in loss to Jays as ‘one of the worst moments’ of umpiring he has ever seen

An overturned call in the 10th inning on Sunday led to a 3-2 Toronto Blue Jays victory and an ejection for Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, who labeled the play “one of the worst moments I think we’ve seen of umpiring in any game I’ve ever been a part of in baseball.”

Caleb Thielbar pitched the 10th for the Twins and gave up a sacrifice fly to Toronto’s Cavan Biggio, with Whit Merrifield running from third. Merrifield was originally called out at the plate trying to score the winning run, but the call was reversed after Twins catcher Gary Sanchez was deemed to have interfered with Merrifield.

“It’s one of the worst moments I think we’ve seen of umpiring in any game I’ve ever been a part of in baseball, and I think it was pathetic what just played out,’’ said Baldelli, who was ejected for arguing the call, the eighth time in his career he was thrown out of a game and third this season.

Replay officials ruled Sanchez did not establish a clear lane for Merrifield, whose right foot collided with Sanchez’s left leg as he slid into home plate. The out would have ended the inning.

“I had a feeling there was going to be a play at the plate,’’ Merrifield said. “Put my head down first couple steps then looked up and tried to figure out how to get into home plate and saw Gary straddling home plate, so tried to just slide into him, straight into him best I could. I know what the rule is; it was just a matter of if they were going to call it.’‘

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2022 at 04:11 PM | 63 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, catcher collisions, twins

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   1. shoelesjoe Posted: August 08, 2022 at 05:23 PM (#6090677)
Same thing happened in the Pirates / Orioles game earlier in the day, so I assume it was the same replay umpire who made both calls. The Pirates' Greg Allen tried to score on an infield hit where the ball wound up behind third base. Orioles' SS Jorge Mateo fired home and the ball took two bounces and landed right on home plate, beating the runner by six feet. Catcher Robinson Chirinos had set up halfway in the RH batters box, moved over and caught the ball straddling the plate. Allen then slid into the tag and never touched home. Initial call was "out", but the Pirates appealed and the replay ump said the catcher didn't give the runner a lane to get to the base. Given that the throw literally landed on home plate what was Chirinos supposed to do? It should be common sense that if a throw is right at the plate then the fielder has to be at the plate as well. Or is he supposed to be off to the side and try to catch the throw backhand?

BTW -- Orioles' manager Brandon Hyde was tossed on the play not for arguing the replay ump's decision, but for just asking if he could challenge that the runner hadn't touched home plate. I think the home plate up realized the entire situation was a cluster%$#@, and didn't want to deal with it any further.

So...was Angel Hernández doing replay duty yesterday?
   2. The Duke Posted: August 08, 2022 at 05:38 PM (#6090679)
Baldellis complaint is completely over the top. And you can tell he knows it's a good call because his main complaint is "they never call that, why are they calling it on me".

I don't think MLB should let the managers go crazy on the umps like that - if I were Commish he'd get a couple days later off with a stern warning that next time will be five.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2022 at 05:39 PM (#6090680)
It should be common sense that if a throw is right at the plate then the fielder has to be at the plate as well. Or is he supposed to be off to the side and try to catch the throw backhand?


You can catch the ball and still give the runner a lane to the plate (shortstops do it all the time on throws from right). Sanchez did not.
   4. shoelesjoe Posted: August 08, 2022 at 07:30 PM (#6090698)
You can catch the ball and still give the runner a lane to the plate (shortstops do it all the time on throws from right). Sanchez did not.


The throw from RF to 2nd base is at an angle to the path of the runner, so as long as the throw is somewhat accurate there is a built in path for the runner. Both of yesterday’s plays at home plate involved throws from short / medium LF, where the throw was exactly in line with the path of the runner. In that situation an accurate throw home HAS to intersect with the runner. Now, in the Twins game the play was bang bang so one might reasonably assume the placement of the catcher might have impacted the runner. But the play in Baltimore was not especially close so it was absurd to call the runner safe.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2022 at 07:44 PM (#6090701)
I don't know about the play in the Orioles game, but Sanchez could very easily have given the runner a lane to the plate and chose not to (simply straddling home plate to receive the throw, the way the shortstop does, instead of setting up a foot in front of it will always to the trick).
   6. Pirate Joe Posted: August 08, 2022 at 07:49 PM (#6090702)
But the play in Baltimore was not especially close so it was absurd to call the runner safe.


My guess is that the call would have stood except for the fact that the catcher literally put his leg on the ground right in front of the plate, so that literally Allen couldn't even see a corner of it as he was coming home.

If they weren't going to call blocking the plate on the play the the Pirates - Orioles game they should just take the rule off the books.
   7. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 08, 2022 at 07:56 PM (#6090706)
If by fielding a throw you're placed in the runner's path, and that's illegal, then the rule is flawed.
   8. NaOH Posted: August 08, 2022 at 07:57 PM (#6090707)
Here's the play in the Baltimore game. Kind of a tough situation for the catcher—it was closer than shoelessjoe described above, and the throw is coming from behind the runner.
   9. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 08, 2022 at 08:00 PM (#6090709)
(simply straddling home plate to receive the throw, the way the shortstop does, instead of setting up a foot in front of it will always to the trick).


See 7. What if straddling the plate makes it harder to field the throw? The fielder has to be given the opportunity to get to the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible. He can't be constrained. That's not fair. Baseball was played differently for over 100 years, and while I understand the intent of the rule, it lessens the game. IMO.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: August 08, 2022 at 08:12 PM (#6090713)
See 7. What if straddling the plate makes it harder to field the throw? The fielder has to be given the opportunity to get to the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible. He can't be constrained. That's not fair. Baseball was played differently for over 100 years, and while I understand the intent of the rule, it lessens the game. IMO.


You simply have to give the runner a lane to the path. Not a full path. Just access. There is no throw from anywhere that would require a catcher to fully block the path to the plate to receive it. All of the other fielders can do it. Now, occasionally an offline throw may lead to a collision, if the catcher is setting up on one side and the throw pulls him across the path. That isn't what happened in either of these instances.

In both these plays, the catchers stepped in front of home plate, fully blocking the path to the plate. They didn't have to. Either catcher could have set up a foot or so to either side, received the ball comfortably and made a tag.

The rule was absolutely necessary, and worked very well at achieving its aims. The only problem with it is it still allows baserunners to truck the catcher if he's blocking the plate with the ball, which is ridiculous.

And for the most part, after the initial adjustment period, catchers have adjusted to the new rule just fine.
   11. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 08, 2022 at 08:51 PM (#6090726)
I'd just like to point out that I can't believe I'm so old that I remember when Baldelli was a rookie with the Tamps Bay (then-Devil) Rays.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: August 08, 2022 at 08:59 PM (#6090730)
lots of talk about this on MLB Tonight.

Billy Ripken said he agrees with Baldelli on "they never call it" - and not on "one of the worst calls evah."

he showed a nearly identical play (not sure if it also was yesterday), where the Rays C blocked the plate and the Tigers runner - with nowhere to go - went way wide to avoid the C but also to make it impossible for him to touch the plate.

the "out" call went unchallenged.

Ripken said that the inevitable takeaway from this is that all of them will be challenged now, "adding 6 minutes" to the length of each game that has such a play at the plate.

not what I want to hear, but.....
   13. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 08, 2022 at 09:35 PM (#6090740)
Both catchers put their entire lower leg on the ground to block the plate. If a shortstop did this it would be obvious interference.
   14. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 08, 2022 at 10:24 PM (#6090758)
I'd just like to point out that I can't believe I'm so old that I remember when Baldelli was a rookie with the Tamps Bay (then-Devil) Rays.


You may be a geezer but Baldelli isn’t that old, he just had a physical condition that forced him to retire early so he got an early start on managing. He’s younger than Pujols, for example.
   15. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 09, 2022 at 12:04 AM (#6090768)
on reddit some people were arguing that the C cannot block the plate before he catches the ball. And people were pointing out that at the moment he caught the ball his leg is in mid air, not yet blocking the plate. Does the rule mention this aspect?
   16. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: August 09, 2022 at 02:02 AM (#6090774)
In my opinion, a reversal should be incontrovertible. The replay ump is embarrassing his colleagues on the field; as he should if there's no doubt. But it should be a higher standard.

This looks like a controversial 51/49 interpretation (I think it's correct, but far from cut-and-dry). In that kind of situation, I think big latitude should be given to the field umps.
   17. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 09, 2022 at 02:09 AM (#6090775)
Replay stinks.
It causes more problems then it solves.
I've loathed it from the start and am happy to put up with missed calls.
I just don't really care if every call is supposed to be correct.
It's a fools errand if anyone thinks replay will eliminate bad calls.
Now if we can also somehow un-elect relievers from the HOF, then the world will be a better place.


That is all.(Trying to locate more passing clouds to shout at...)
   18. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: August 09, 2022 at 02:22 AM (#6090776)
Agree, Hugh.

It does seem that the thing I hated the most - a baserunner oversliding by a micrometer during a tag - has not happened as much of late.

I don't know if they're not calling them as much or if runners simply got better about not oversliding, but that's a situation that I hated. It often happened after a double or triple or stolen base, which is usually an exciting play. Then the whole game stops while we all watch umpires squint at a screen for like forty minutes.
   19. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: August 09, 2022 at 05:44 AM (#6090783)
In my opinion, a reversal should be incontrovertible. The replay ump is embarrassing his colleagues on the field; as he should if there's no doubt. But it should be a higher standard.

This looks like a controversial 51/49 interpretation (I think it's correct, but far from cut-and-dry). In that kind of situation, I think big latitude should be given to the field umps.

i think that depends on whether on-field umpires are instructed to make that 50/50 judgement call in the moment, or are they instructed to call nothing on the field and let replay review clean up this specific scenario.

given that replay review exists, i kinda think it's better to call nothing on the field and pawn the responsibility for these sorts of calls off to secaucus.
It does seem that the thing I hated the most - a baserunner oversliding by a micrometer during a tag - has not happened as much of late.
that's gotta be a common sense thing. if you can't tackle a runner off a base and then tag them out, why would you be able to swipe their leg off the base and get the call?
Replay stinks.
It causes more problems then it solves.
I've loathed it from the start and am happy to put up with missed calls.

the biggest issue with replay is the lack of transparency.

but the solution is simple: just pipe the umpire's discussion into the broadcast. let the audience hear the people who are making the decisions, instead of making us listen to john kruk brag about how many hot dogs him and dave hollins were able to shove up each other's asses when they got bored on that road trip in cincinnati in 92.
   20. dave h Posted: August 09, 2022 at 08:24 AM (#6090791)
I don't see why "the throw took him in front of the plate" is a valid argument. If a fielder is standing in the basepath to receive a throw in a run down, for instance, it can absolutely be obstruction. Fielders have the rights on batted balls, but thrown balls are entirely in the control of the defense so why allow them to obstruct?

The interesting question is at what point must the catcher give the path? Is it just at the moment the runner arrives at the plate - i.e. The runner should decide to slide at the plate and assume the catcher will move out of the way - or when they start their slide?
   21. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 09, 2022 at 08:59 AM (#6090795)
thrown balls are entirely in the control of the defense


I don't think so. What you're saying is that if a throw is offline, it's done on purpose to cause the fielder to block the runner's path. I don't think the fielder throwing the ball intends for that to happen, so, the fielder catching the ball should not be constrained to go wherever he needs to go in order to catch the ball.



Now, occasionally an offline throw may lead to a collision, if the catcher is setting up on one side and the throw pulls him across the path. That isn't what happened in either of these instances.

In both these plays, the catchers stepped in front of home plate, fully blocking the path to the plate. They didn't have to. Either catcher could have set up a foot or so to either side, received the ball comfortably and made a tag.


Both catchers put their entire lower leg on the ground to block the plate.

And people were pointing out that at the moment he caught the ball his leg is in mid air, not yet blocking the plate.


So, it seems that different people saw different things. What I saw was that at the last split second Sanchez stepped up to catch the ball (congrats to him for catching the ball...he doesn't always do that). But he did put his leg down after catching the ball, probably instinctively. The modern rule is counter-instinctual, for fielders. I don't like the rule. Merrifield was out by several feet, but was ruled safe on a technicality.

The throw was perfect. Was Sanchez supposed to step toward 1B, catch the ball, and then sweep tag Merrifield? That would give Merrifield the ability to slide toward the foul side of the plate and avoid the tag...on a throw that, again, was perfect and beat him by several feet.

   22. dave h Posted: August 09, 2022 at 09:13 AM (#6090796)
What you're saying is that if a throw is offline, it's done on purpose to cause the fielder to block the runner's path


No, I'm saying that even with an online throw, regardless of intent, it should be obstruction if the fielder impedes the runner without the ball. It's the defense's job to make throws such that they don't cause collisions. I realize that there is an exception written into the rule so that sometimes the fielder may follow the ball, but I don't see why. For example, should the first baseman be allowed to straddle the bag to receive a throw in such a way that the runner cannot run through the base?
   23. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2022 at 09:20 AM (#6090797)
Even with the ball a fielder should not be in the basepath. If he is the runner should automatically be granted the base.
   24. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 09, 2022 at 10:36 AM (#6090802)
I'm with dave h here. I don't understand the logic of 'The catcher must allow a path to the plate, unless he is required to catch an off line throw." That's akin to "you must follow the rules, unless you make a mistake". The catcher can block the plate to make a catch, but there is a penalty. The runner is safe regardless. Remember the WS play, I think it was Cardinals-Red Sox, where a poor throw from home to 3rd caused the fielder to lunge into the oncoming baserunner? He impeded the runner but did not make the catch. the runner got up, ran home, but was thrown out. the ruling was obstruction and he was awarded home. Many argued that the fielder did not intend obstruction, he was merely trying to catch the ball which is his right. Doesn't matter. It was obstruction, just like this play. Your right to catch the ball does not extend to obstructing the runner.
   25. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 09, 2022 at 10:38 AM (#6090804)
Even with the ball a fielder should not be in the basepath. If he is the runner should automatically be granted the base.


That makes no sense.
   26. I Knew A Guy Who Knew A Guy Who Knew Rey Ordonez Posted: August 09, 2022 at 11:47 AM (#6090821)
In that kind of situation, I think big latitude should be given to the field umps.


That's a great idea until you know that umpires on the field are told NOT to call the violation and let replay sort it out. Which makes exactly no one happy.

Edit: Coke to 19 because I didn't read the thread first.
   27. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: August 09, 2022 at 01:00 PM (#6090841)
I'm with dave h here. I don't understand the logic of 'The catcher must allow a path to the plate, unless he is required to catch an off line throw." That's akin to "you must follow the rules, unless you make a mistake".
nevermind; reading is fundamental.
   28. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 09, 2022 at 03:06 PM (#6090871)
No, I'm saying that even with an online throw, regardless of intent, it should be obstruction if the fielder impedes the runner without the ball.


Sanchez had the ball before Merrifield made contact with him.
   29. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 09, 2022 at 04:00 PM (#6090887)
Sanchez had the ball before Merrifield made contact with him.


I think dave was making a generalization and not speaking directly to this play. I think it was a response to this:

The fielder has to be given the opportunity to get to the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible. He can't be constrained. That's not fair.


Fielders can be, are, and should be constrained, if catching the ball as quickly and efficiently as possible means impeding the runner's progress.
   30. dave h Posted: August 09, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6090897)
Sanchez had the ball before Merrifield made contact with him.


As I said, I think there's a reasonable argument about when obstruction occurs. Is it the moment that a runner would have to avoid the fielder, or when contact would actually occur? Everywhere else on the field the runner is not required to risk contact to get the obstruction call. It seems like poor policy to ask them to do so when they are at the most risk of injury. But it's certainly a simpler rule to ask whether the catcher had the ball at the moment of contact, rather than some undefined, or at least variable, time before.

But yes, everywhere else on the field a fielder does not have any right to impede a runner for a thrown ball. The priority is clear: fielder playing a batted ball > all runners > fielder playing a thrown ball.
   31. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:34 PM (#6090923)
This is the comment on rule 6.01 , directly from the official rules:

Rule 6.01(i)(2) Comment: A catcher shall not be deemed to
have violated Rule 6.01(i)(2) unless he has both blocked the
plate without possession the ball (or when not in a legitimate
attempt to field the throw)
, and also hindered or impeded the
progress of the runner attempting to score. A catcher shall not
be deemed to have hindered or impeded the progress of the
runner if, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner would have
been called out notwithstanding the catcher having blocked
the plate. In addition, a catcher should use best efforts to
avoid unnecessary and forcible contact while tagging a runner
attempting to slide. Catchers who routinely make unnecessary
and forcible contact with a runner attempting to slide (e.g., by
initiating contact using a knee, shin guard, elbow or forearm)
may be subject to discipline by the Office of the Commissioner.


Note the bolded.

   32. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 09, 2022 at 06:44 PM (#6090928)
The rule specifically says that the RUNNER has as much of the onus to avoid contact as the catcher. The runner is able to hook slide; the runner is able to "give himself up", as in, concede the out, if the catcher is waiting for him with the ball in his glove.

In the Merrifield case, the throw beat him by a few feet, and Merrifield was within his right to slide, and, BY THE RULE, Sanchez was within his right to field the throw, which did not cause him to "veer"; the throw was right on the money, a high strike right on the plate. If Sanchez is not allowed to field the ball and apply the tag to the beaten runner, then baseball is going down the wrong road.

I wish the umpires, or whoever made the ruling in NYC, would make their reasoning public. The speculation we read here doesn't count for anything unless there's a rule citation that can be made.
   33. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 09, 2022 at 07:01 PM (#6090933)
This article concurs.

The last sentence of the article talks about the lack of explanation for the overturning of the call.

The rest of the article exposes the stupidity, I mean, the equivocation the rule seems to allow.
   34. dave h Posted: August 09, 2022 at 07:49 PM (#6090943)
Upthread I acknowledged that there is an exception to the normal priority at home plate. I think that's a purely historical artifact - home plate used to be so much more different - and is a poor rule. There's no reason the catcher should have more right to field a throw than the 2B or 1B. As the defense you control both ends of the throw - execute such that the catcher doesn't have to go into the runner. If the runner deviates from his path, then that is interference. Otherwise, obstruction.

I think the call here is that a) Sanchez started by straddling the baseline on front of the plate, giving the runner only a small opening and then b) dropped his knee to block that opening on a way that was unnecessary to catch the ball. He did both of those too long before receiving the ball to be exempt from obstruction.

I agree that it's not called consistently. Get rid of the exception, and establish at what time you determine whether there is obstruction, and it will be a lot clearer call.
   35. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 09, 2022 at 07:50 PM (#6090944)
The rule specifically says that the RUNNER has as much of the onus to avoid contact as the catcher. The runner is able to hook slide; the runner is able to "give himself up", as in, concede the out, if the catcher is waiting for him with the ball in his glove.
If the only thing blocking the runner's path to the plate in this case was the glove with the ball in it, the call would not have been reversed. Deliberately dropping the leg (I don't care if it's "instinctual" from how the rules used to be) is what makes me think the runner has a point, though the wording of the rule makes it way less than cut and dried.

The current rule is worded in a way to make these controversial interpretations/calls inevitable. Just ban the catcher from blocking the plate with any part of his body other than his gloved hand, with a ball in it.
   36. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 09, 2022 at 09:17 PM (#6090973)
reading the rule cited in post 31: is the catcher allowed to block the plate once he has possession of the ball? that's what it reads like but I dont think that's how its being interpreted. If so it seems horribly worded. Am I missing something?
   37. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 09, 2022 at 09:52 PM (#6090985)
Slow down or freeze-frame the play. I am NOT convinced that Merrifield doesn't get safely in without his foot being blocked by Sanchez.

Yes, the throw beats him by maybe two feet, but the throw is high. Good call.
   38. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:31 AM (#6091032)
37...good morning.

The rule says the catcher can block the plate if he's in possession of the ball.

35...good morning. The rule does not state that the catcher can only block the plate with his glove. If that's MLB's intent then the.y need to clarify. I hope they don't. I hope they find a happier medium.
   39. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 12:23 PM (#6091045)

I don't feel like I understand the rule well enough to comment. Wasn't the whole point of this rule to avoid serious collisions at the plate?

You don't really need this at other bases because the fielders don't have pads on, so they aren't just going to completely block the base and risk getting spiked or knocked over. But at home plate, the catcher can completely block the plate with little risk to himself. The runner's only recourse in that situation is to try to take out the catcher, which leads to injuries like Buster Posey a few years ago.

If you want to take away that type of hit as an option for the runner you need to give them some path to the plate. Saying that they're not entitled to a path to the plate if the throw happens to take the catcher in their way or if the catcher has the ball seems like a bad rule to me.
   40. KronicFatigue Posted: August 10, 2022 at 12:37 PM (#6091046)
I don't see why "the throw took him in front of the plate" is a valid argument. If a fielder is standing in the basepath to receive a throw in a run down, for instance, it can absolutely be obstruction. Fielders have the rights on batted balls, but thrown balls are entirely in the control of the defense so why allow them to obstruct?

The interesting question is at what point must the catcher give the path? Is it just at the moment the runner arrives at the plate - i.e. The runner should decide to slide at the plate and assume the catcher will move out of the way - or when they start their slide?


As another example, on a bunt right to the catcher, it's up to the first baseman to give a target outside of the path of the batter/runner. The catcher doesn't have the right to throw the ball at the shortest distance (aka through the runner). I mean, he does, but if the ball hits the runner, he's screwed.

The outfielder isn't entitled to throw the ball directly to the plate. Not if it creates a situation that will invoke the "blocking the plate rule". He has to throw on either side of the plate and it's up to the catcher to then sweep back in with the tag.

Unless I'm missing something.
   41. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 10, 2022 at 01:00 PM (#6091052)
Dave, the catcher can, on occasion, block third -- ask Jeter.
   42. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:05 PM (#6091127)
The outfielder isn't entitled to throw the ball directly to the plate. Not if it creates a situation that will invoke the "blocking the plate rule". He has to throw on either side of the plate and it's up to the catcher to then sweep back in with the tag.


If the ball beats the runner to the plate, it;'s exactly the throw you want the OF to make. If the throw is late, the catcher has to get out of the way because he's not in possession of the ball yet, so can't block the plate. That's the gist of the rule.
   43. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:14 PM (#6091131)
Saying that they're not entitled to a path to the plate if the throw happens to take the catcher in their way or if the catcher has the ball seems like a bad rule to me.


I've seen many runners just stop if they see that the catcher is waiting for them with the ball in his hand or glove. They don't bowl over the catcher, because the rule says they can't, so they just "give themselves up". That's what the rule demands. Expecting the catcher to step aside with the ball in his hand or glove so as to give the runner a sporting chance to score, by hook sliding or whatever, makes no sense.

I think the hang up here might be due to the terminology "blocking the plate". Standing or kneeling directly in the base path in front of the plate with the ball in the catcher's hand or glove is allowed. Standing or kneeling directly in the base path in front of the plate without the ball in the catcher's hand or glove is not allowed. If the ball beats the runner by any amount of length, the catcher has the right to be in the runner's path. The runner can slide into or around the catcher, but he can't run over him. The rule protects catchers and gives the catcher somewhat of an advantage on those plays.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:18 PM (#6091133)
I've seen many runners just stop if they see that the catcher is waiting for them with the ball in his hand or glove. They don't bowl over the catcher, because the rule says they can't, so they just "give themselves up".


Actually, they can bowl them over. The rules still allow it.
   45. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:33 PM (#6091138)

So basically the rule says you can't bowl over the catcher if he's not blocking the plate? And the catcher can only block the plate when he has the ball?*

I don't think the hitter is obligated to just give himself up if the throw beats him. Just like at any other base, the catcher needs to make a successful tag.

* I will note that on the Buster Posey play that I believe inspired this rule change, Posey wasn't blocking the plate and the runner, Scott Cousins, went out of his way to run through Posey - it was completely unnecessary in order for him to touch the bag. So the rule change would have prevented that collision (or punished the runner).
   46. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:46 PM (#6091142)
So basically the rule says you can't bowl over the catcher if he's not blocking the plate? And the catcher can only block the plate when he has the ball?*


Read the rule for yourself.
I don't think the hitter is obligated to just give himself up if the throw beats him. Just like at any other base, the catcher needs to make a successful tag.



That wasn't what I meant. The player stops running, usually somewhere near the plate, and waits to be tagged out by the catcher. You haven't seen this?
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:53 PM (#6091145)
That's how the rule should read. If you're out by so much that the catcher can be standing at the plate waiting for you, give yourself up and curse the third base coach out for a bad send.

But if the catcher is blocking the plate with the ball, you can still run him over.
   48. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:54 PM (#6091146)
Actually, they can bowl them over. The rules still allow it.

"The catcher is not permitted to block the runner's path to the plate unless he is in possession of the ball, though blocking the path of the runner in a legitimate attempt to receive a throw is not considered a violation. The runner can be ruled safe if the umpire determines the catcher violated this rule.But per a September 2014 memorandum to the rule, the runner may still be called out if he was clearly beaten by the throw. "

I don't see any reference that allows a runner to bowl over a catcher. And, I haven't seen it done in years. Have you?
   49. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:55 PM (#6091147)
That wasn't what I meant. The player stops running, usually somewhere near the plate, and waits to be tagged out by the catcher. You haven't seen this?

Of course I have. But I don't think the runner is obligated to do it -- he can still try to score (or initiate a rundown) and if the catcher is blocking the plate I guess the rule says he can still bowl over the catcher? That's what I was asking about.
   50. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:01 PM (#6091148)
and if the catcher is blocking the plate I guess the rule says he can still bowl over the catcher?


I've read and re-read the rule, and still haven't seen it said, explicitly, that a runner can run into a catcher. I guess maybe if you squint while reading it? It does specifically say that runners can't lower the shoulder to make contact, or use their elbows or hands to make contact, in an attempt to jar the ball loose. I don't see anything that says otherwise. Maybe I missed it.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:01 PM (#6091149)
It doesn't happen often, as I'm not sure how many players know it's still legal, but it's still acceptable.

This play by Kemp was deemed a legal slide because Chirinos was blocking his lane to the plate with the ball.

   52. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:47 PM (#6091160)
This play by Kemp was deemed a legal slide because Chirinos was blocking his lane to the plate with the ball.


Yeah, it looked unavoidable. Thanks.

That's a bang/bang play. You won't see that if a guy is out by ten feet. The runner will slow down and accept his fate. I've seen that at least 4 or 5 times.


edit...or, initiate a run-down. But usually they don't, the lazy bastards.
   53. Howie Menckel Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:59 PM (#6091162)
What you're saying is that if a throw is offline, it's done on purpose to cause the fielder to block the runner's path. I don't think the fielder throwing the ball intends for that to happen


if OFs have options on where to throw the ball, and one of those paths allows the catcher to block the plate - isn't that where they should be aiming?
   54. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 10, 2022 at 10:22 PM (#6091186)
The home plate rule has always been dumb, and its dumber now. This thread is the dumbest.

   55. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 10, 2022 at 11:39 PM (#6091203)
Thread may be dumb; the rule isn't. If you allow catchers to block the plate you've got to allow runners to barrel into them to avoid leg injuries. How often do 2d or 3dbasemen put their unprotected legs in the way of slides the way Sanchez does in this play? he could, and apparently per the rule should, have made the tag without that move. And it would have been too late.
   56. SoSH U at work Posted: August 10, 2022 at 11:53 PM (#6091207)
If you allow catchers to block the plate you've got to allow runners to barrel into them to avoid leg injuries.


I'm fine with not allowing catchers to fully block the plate at all, but that's not a good reason to allow runners to pile drive them. If the catcher's waiting for you with the ball in hand, you were meant to be out. Take your medicine, just as you would if a first baseman fielded a dribbler up the line and went to tag you instead of running back to the bag.

   57. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 11, 2022 at 12:32 AM (#6091214)
This thread is the dumbest.


That's the dumbest post in this thread.

I think the thread is really interesting. Bivens makes some good points and as the rule was instigated to prevent another Posey incident(where the dirtbag runner went out of his way to ruin 1 year of his baseball life), then having the ball and being right on the 3B side of the edge of the plate to make the tag should be allowed.

If the catcher's waiting for you with the ball in hand, you were meant to be out.


Unless your Baez, then you'll do some flippity floppy stomach to butt slide and avoid the tag....
   58. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 02:26 AM (#6091221)

That's a bang/bang play. You won't see that if a guy is out by ten feet.


CHirinos is literally standing there with the ball when Kemp is ten feet away or perhaps more depending on the size of the cutout. So Im not sure what youre looking at there.
   59. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 11, 2022 at 07:47 AM (#6091225)
CHirinos is literally standing there with the ball when Kemp is ten feet away or perhaps more depending on the size of the cutout. So Im not sure what youre looking at there.


"Bang/bang" and the rest was an overbid. However, Kemp was at full speed and at full speed, 10 feet or 8 feet gets covered pretty quickly, and in that split second moment (from the time the catcher caught the ball and turned toward the runner), he decided to try to knock the ball loose rather than slide. Once the runner commits, it's hard to shift. Like, when I guy is thinking "slide" and then thinks again, and gets caught in between, and half slides, half tries not to...that's a way runners get hurt. Either slide or don't. Kemp decided to bowl over Chirinos, and so he did.

I agree that the rule is dumb.
   60. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 09:45 AM (#6091238)
Yeah I get wot ur saying...so theerule is you can block the plate but only after you have it?
   61. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 11, 2022 at 12:01 PM (#6091267)
It seems that way, to me. Read it and decide for yourself.
   62. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6091305)
Looking at The MLB Glossary on collisions at home and the Umpire's Bible on obstruction/interference, I'd say that the standard interpretation is that the catcher has to give the runner a path to the plate even if he has the ball -- unless the catcher impedes the runner's path as part of a necessary action to make the catch.

Sanchez did not do that. He caught the ball and then he placed his leg wholly in front of the plate, which he did not have to do. Back in 2014 when the rule was first trialed, Posey told ESPN, "We've never been taught to set up right on top of the plate; we've always been taught to give the runner a little bit of the plate." That didn't happen here.
   63. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: August 11, 2022 at 03:57 PM (#6091324)
Ok, here's what it says:


"Obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner."

2 ways to defend Sanchez (the worst defensive catcher I have ever seen):

Either 1: he was in possession of the ball at the time Merrifield slid into him, or, 2: he was in the act of fielding the ball a split second before the impact. I'd go with with #1. He was in possession of the ball, so, no obstruction.

"The catcher is not permitted to block the runner's path to the plate unless he is in possession of the ball, though blocking the path of the runner in a legitimate attempt to receive a throw is not considered a violation. The runner can be ruled safe if the umpire determines the catcher violated this rule. But per a September 2014 memorandum to the rule, the runner may still be called out if he was clearly beaten by the throw. "

This also exonerates Sanchez. He was in possession of the ball.

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