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Friday, August 19, 2022

Have you noticed MLB overturning more calls at the plate? Here’s why

After years of these sorts of plays flying largely under the radar, officials at the league office started to notice what looked to be catchers pushing the limits of what was considered legal. Essentially, a creep back toward blocking the plate that took advantage of the safety created by the collision rule. Some teams noticed, too, and called it out to the commissioner’s office.

Since the play is somewhat subjective, there are guidelines, but ultimately an umpire must make a judgment. One replay review crew might let a catcher get away with it, so to speak, while another would not.

At least one team suspected that umpires had been given instructions to crack down and call the rule more strictly.

But in a statement to Yahoo Sports, MLB said: “There has been no change to the home plate collision rule or its interpretation, and we appreciate its continued positive impact in serving the goal of player health. In response to increased recent behavior by catchers that violated the rule, we provided a routine reminder to Clubs and umpires regarding the responsibilities of the catcher and the runner. The primary message was that catchers may not block the pathway of runners unless they are in possession of the ball or are in the act of fielding the ball.”...

After the particularly controversial call in Minnesota, and after teams started to reach out for clarification, MLB did circulate a memo early last week among teams and umpires that included a presentation of what constitutes legal and illegal catcher positioning, with detailed photo examples for various situations.

The intent is to create greater consistency — and strict adherence to a rule designed with safety in mind — but it could be seen as another instance in which the league has changed the enforcement of a longstanding rule midway through the season, as it did last year with the ban on sticky stuff.

The minutiae of rule enforcement is inherently esoteric, but these particular plays are always impactful. The difference between an out at home and a run scoring has an outsized ability to sway the ultimate result of a game. Teams that lose these challenges are likely going to continue to be incensed, but at least now they can’t say they weren’t warned.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2022 at 04:13 PM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catcher collisions, replay

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