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ted lilly crushes molinaIt’s not exactly a no collisions rule, but things are going to look a little different than they have in the past.

Here’s the new rule, which is a one-year experiment for now, from the MLB press release:

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.

So, basically, you can’t try to blast the catcher unless he’s in your way already, and the catcher can’t block the plate unless he’s already got the ball. It’s kind of a flabby rule, subject to a great deal of interpretation. But one thing appears reasonably clear: there can still be a collision if the catcher already has the ball, is blocking the plate, and the runner hits him while trying to score.

That’s what a lot of collisions already are, but I suppose this strongly urges runners to slide, if at all possible, and urges the catcher to set up off of the plate and swipe tag. That was the intent, as that would increase player safety, but this language is kind of thin. Indeed, it kind of seems like this is what the rule already should have been.

I guess we’ll see how this plays out. These plays will be subject to the new review system, by the way.

  • johnnyp

    “Experimental” Ya right. I can’t ever see mlb bringing back collisions. And the pacification of American sports continues. They might as well eliminate tagging too. Lord knows WWE wrestling fake better contact than most shortstops.

    • hansman

      Man, sports were awesome back in the day when players didn’t care about inflicting career ending injuries!!!!!!!!

      Those gladiators had it right!!!! THEY WERE MEN! MANLY MEN!!!!

      • johnnyp

        It’s sports. Injuries happen. You can’t tell me a home plate collision is not one of the more exciting plays in baseball. Now it’s practically gone.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It would be even more exciting if the runner was handed a flaming sword by the third base coach as he rounded the bag and charged toward home. But, you know, there should probably be limits to our bloodlust.

          • hansman

            Not in that case.

            If that handoff could occur cleanly…it would be epic and well worth whatever happened next.

          • hansman

            (maybe this rule change is coming with the DH to the NL, suddenly Vogelbach and Soler become the next Ruth/Gehrig)

          • Edwin

            That’s some hunger games shit right there.

          • ChrisFChi

            Only works if the catcher has Captain America’s shield and the hammer of Thor. Gotta keep it fair.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Speaking (or writing) of which, have you begun binge-watching Game of Thrones to get ready for Season 4 yet?

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Just finished re-watching Season One last night. :)

              It’s amazing how much more I pick up each time I re-watch.

            • Drew7

              I added HBO back onto my DISH programming last night *just* so I could do that.

          • http://obstructedview.net Myles

            I agree that the flaming sword is a great idea. #IStandWithBrett #FlamingSwordat3B

          • DarthHater

            I say put the catcher in plate mail and give the baserunner a lance…

          • 70’s Cub

            This year w/new field management, I expect the Cubs to deal with the high spike high Cardinals!

        • hansman

          It’s exciting, sure. Just like a 20 car pileup in NASCAR is exciting. It’d be REALLY exciting if a runner could plow into a 1B to dislodge the ball.

          It’d be interesting to see how many times the catcher released the ball (without a concussion) compared to how many catchers went on the DL after the collision.

          I find it interesting that the catcher is the only one that is allowed to block the basepath and the only one where a collision is acceptable.

          • johnnyp

            He’s the only one wearing full pads. They don’t have to eliminate collisions completely. They could have just eliminated more dangerous aspects of the collision.

            • johnnyp

              A flaming sword certainly would make the Allstar game worth watching.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Sadly, Thoros of Myr is busy in an insurrection these days….

                • Rich H

                  Dang it I keep wanting to ruin what is going to happen next. I got the full set of books for Christmas and am now REALLY interested in seeing where the series takes stuff next.

            • hansman

              “He’s the only one wearing full pads.”

              Except for the region from the knees up (That chest protector isn’t doing anything when you get steamrolled (and it barely does much against a ball)). Catching gear isn’t made to take a tackle like football gear.

              Also, when collisions started, many catchers wore no gear.

              “They could have just eliminated more dangerous aspects of the collision.”

              As in, the collision? They did reduce the liklihood of a catcher being blindsided while not being in the path of the runner.

              But hey, that’s un-manly.

              • DarthHater

                [img]http://www.designed2bsweet.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/small_image/295×295/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/n/inflat84_1.jpg[/img]

              • DarthHater

                Grrr…
                [img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2882/12755824383_e106a9e27a_m.jpg[/img]

                • Funn Dave

                  Hahaha, that’s perfect.

              • johnnyp

                I’m all for the rule eliminating catchers being blindsided. Just saying there are other ways to protect the catcher, without eliminating collisions.

                • Funn Dave

                  They haven’t eliminated collisions.

                  “there can still be a collision if the catcher already has the ball, is blocking the plate, and the runner hits him while trying to score.”

                  • johnnyp

                    “The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of Rule 7.13. If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, he shall not be adjudged to have violated Rule ”
                    I find it highly unlikely, that a base runner would leave a collision open to interpretation by the umpire after reading this part of the rule.

                    • Funn Dave

                      Well, I guess we’ll see.

                    • hansman

                      Eh, the runner knows he is out anyway. You might get an favorable ruling from the ump and give the catcher enough of a concussion to dislodge the ball.

                      What I want to see is a runner stop short and then punch the shit out of the catcher’s mitt when he goes to apply the tag.

                    • Funn Dave

                      Ahahaha, yes.

                • hansman

                  They are trying to stop this:

                  [img]http://balls.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Screen-Shot-2013-12-12-at-16.32.321.png[/img]
                  (Clear chance to slide around the collision)

                  and this:

                  [img]http://www.azcentral.com/i/a/5/1/M11_CIFRea53ceaa603a88e9271a621f5f93c15a.jpg[/img]

                  (WHO CARES ABOUT TRYING TO KNOCK THE BALL OUT!!!!! LOWER THAT SHOULDER!!!!!!!!)

        • Edwin

          I don’t find home plate collisions as exciting. At least the collision part. I’m interested to see if the throw can beat the runner, but whether there’s a physical collision or not doesn’t really change the excitement factor of the play.

          • http://bleachernation.com woody

            I used to love to watch Pete Rose coming down the line at third. He would punish a catcher. I would like to think that they are doing this to be humane, but with players salaries and insurance policies for guys on the DL this is probably as much of a business decision as anything. What’s next? Maybe taking the middle infielder out on the DP is next.

            • dw8

              “I used to love to watch Pete Rose coming down the line at third.”
              A Thing Ray Fosse never said.

            • Jon

              Avoiding future litigation is a huge factor i’m sure. Just look at the NFL. When 5% of the worlds’ population has 70% of all the lawyers, it’s always a concern.

            • Edwin

              But do you really watch baseball soley for home plate collisions, though? They can make for memorable plays, but I don’t think the game suffers too much without them.

              • johnnyp

                It’s the totality of circumstances. We all watch for a variety of reasons. This makes baseball less exciting to watch. There are other ways to protect players. Eliminating lowering of the shoulder and head, as well as increasing the protection of pads could have been explored. I just don’t think eliminating the collision completely was the way to go.

                • TWC

                  “This makes baseball less exciting to watch.”

                  Yeah, if you watch baseball for the violent acts.

                  “I just don’t think eliminating the collision completely was the way to go.”

                  Good thing (for the violence-porn fetishers) that they didn’t.

                  • Internet Random

                    [img]http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k230/XMLCTkd76eTb/9d142593-eae6-45d5-a504-d51135182a65.jpg[/img]

                    • TWC

                      Total sploosh. Amirite?!

                    • Internet Random

                      It just needs some C-class models in camouflage bikinis firing full-auto AK’s at watermelons.

                  • johnnyp

                    Read the whole rule. Collisions are as good as gone.

                    • TWC

                      Even if I agreed that “collisions are as good as gone”, that’s a far cry from your claim — an hour ago — that the new rule is “eliminating the collision completely”.

                • hansman

                  I’m guessing that we have generated more comments than there have been home plate collisions in the last decade.

            • Funn Dave

              Pete Rose? Is he really the best example to be used here? :P

            • Brocktoon

              I got odds saying you can’t name an instance of this other than the all star game

      • DarthHater
    • Edwin

      It’s a constant battle for sports. Fans may enjoy a certain amount of physical violence in a sport (although physical violence is probably a non-factor for baseball enjoyment), but a sport can reach a point where too much physical violence threatens to hurt the sport long term, especially when it threatens the health of star players. Sports need star players to drive interest.

      Home plate collisions can be interesting, but I don’t think they’re worth the risk of potentially having great players like Posey sidelined for the season. I’ll tolerate a less physical game for an increased likelihood of having great players play.

    • cavemancubbie

      This is probably a stupid comment but if MLB really wanted to stop collisions between a catcher and a runner, why not just use the first base rule. A runner is out if the ball is caught by the catcher touching home plate before the runner touches the plate.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    So basicly if the catcher has the ball he can block the plate and in essence a collision is legal?

    • johnnyp

      There’s a little more to the rule. The umpire is also supposed to consider lowering of the shoulder, pushing through the hands or elbows to initiate contact. To me, it really seems like any legal contact, must be inadvertent, while trying to touch the plate. That’s my amateur take on it.

      • hansman

        “may not deviate from his direct pathway ”

        The runner cannot go out of his way to plow through the Catcher.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s the way I read it.

      • johnnyp

        Thanks. I feel better about my reading comprehension skills.

        • hansman

          Except that Brett isn’t agreeing with your assessment of the situation.

          • DarthHater

            There will now be a panel of judges seated behind home plate who will award some percentage of a run to each runner based on a combination of technical difficulty and artistic merit.

            • hansman

              So we just need to start paying off the Russian judge?

          • johnnyp

            I believe he was agreeing with me. His comment was posted well before yours.

            • C. Steadman

              Brett’s comment was directed to woody, not you

            • hansman

              In that case, his comment would be before and in-line with mine.

            • TWC

              “I believe he was agreeing with me.”

              No, he wasn’t.

              • hansman

                Brett just doesn’t know how to use his own commenting system.

              • DarthHater

                We need Patrick to issue an authoritative ruling on whom Brett was responding to.

                • hansman

                  He won’t get here until someone throws the challenge flag.

                • Fishin Phil

                  I agree with Patrick.

                  • DarthHater

                    Nobody likes a brown-nosing puppet.

  • Jon

    Too much grey area with this rule.

    • hansman

      Eh, it’s baseball, where we have the sacrifice (scorer has to determine batter intent) and the RBI (where, sometimes, that run batted in, wasn’t batted in)

      • Jon

        Those decisions just impact who gets credited with a stat. This impacts runs on the board.

  • section233

    Are Matt Holliday’s slides into second base covered under this new rule?

    • Rich H

      + 1

  • CubFan Paul

    “I suppose this strongly urges runners to slide, if at all possible”

    The Cubs have sucked *so hard* at baserunning, specifically sliding into home the last two years that I’m still not sure this helps them.

  • Cubbie in NC

    This reminds me of the Brady rule.

    More guys get hurt at 2nd base.

  • TommyK

    Wasn’t it always the rule that the catcher couldn’t block the plate without the ball? Without that rule, couldn’t the catcher block the runner like an offensive lineman while someone else came and tagged him? Which would be hilarious, by the way.

    I doubt we’ll notice much difference in gameplay due to this rule.

  • Funn Dave

    I’m cool with it. If you need collisions to make the game exciting, maybe baseball just isn’t for you. I’d give nascar a try.

    • johnnyp

      Nobody needs it. But it adds to the excitement. These plays always make top ten. If it weren’t for crashes in nascar, they’d lose half of their viewing, if not more. That’s a ridiculous point that adds to my argument.

      • Edwin

        They don’t though. Walk-off home runs, big late game hits, web gems, key double plays, strikeouts in important situations, suicide squeezes, those all make up top play lists just as often or even more often than home plate collisions. Even without a collision, a play at the plate is still exciting.

        • Jon

          “Even without a collision, a play at the plate is still exciting.”

          Especially when called by Chip Caray

          Line Drive Base Hit…Caught out there, here comes the throw to the plate, OFF TARGET and IN TIME, a double play!

      • mjhurdle

        “If it weren’t for crashes in nascar, they’d lose half of their viewing, if not more.”

        then half or more of the NASCAR audience is not watching NASCAR for the racing, but because they got confused and thought they were watching a demolition derby.

        Whether the throw beats the runner or the runner can avoid a tag is exciting to me, but when the ball beats the runner by a mile and the only thing in doubt is whether the runner can hit the catcher hard enough to make the ball pop out.

        Maybe I feel that was because it is the only scenario in the entire sport that allows the offensive player to initiate contact for the sole purpose of dislodging the ball. Even slides into second are technically “into second” and contact is “incidental”. It seems like such an outlier to the rest of the sport that I don’t feel it will affect my enjoyment much.

        • hansman

          “but because they got confused and thought they were watching a demolition derby”

          This is probably true.

        • johnnyp

          It’s not your enjoyment that concerns me. I’ll still watch baseball. It’s the the fringe viewers that concern me. Baseball doesn’t need to be less exciting to casual viewers and like it or not, those casual viewers bring a lot of money into the sport. Home plate collisions that make top ten can draw interest. The collision has always been part of baseball. It’s a great play. How about making catchers keep their helmets on? How about redesigning their gear to be more protective. There’s other solutions here than eliminating an exciting element of baseball.

          • mjhurdle

            “Home plate collisions that make top ten can draw interest.”

            I would not agree with that at all. I have a hard time believing someone is disinterested in the sport of baseball, sees a collision on ESPN, and then sits and watches through the next 20-30 games it will take before they see a home plate collision again.

            If they are that casual of a fan, i don’t think something that happens as rarely as an actual collision will draw them in.

            • Funn Dave

              Yup. I remember back when I was a casual fan, I didn’t even know home plate collisions were a thing. Like you said, they’re such a rarity that it seems unlikely to deter a significant number of viewers.

              • johnnyp

                It’s gets people talking about it, that’s for sure.

    • Funn Dave

      No it’s not, and no it doesn’t. My point is that some sports–e.g. hockey, football, and Nascar–derive a great deal of their appeal from violent plays. Baseball is not one of those sports. Baseball has a much slower pace and its appeal lies in its players’ strengths at running, batting, catching, throwing, etc.–not running into people. Watch George Carlin’s bit on it. Moreover, since baseball relies much, much, much less heavily on violent plays to attract fans than those other sports, removing such plays will not detract from its appeal as much as it would in a different sport.

      • Funn Dave

        That was meant to be in response to Johnny, not to…myself.

        • johnnyp

          But it does detract from its appeal. Baseball doesn’t need that.

  • Fastball

    The new interpretation of how a play should occur is just fine. The catcher gets paid to protect home plate. The runner gets paid to score. I like a nice fair collision at the plate. Typically your little guys are not going to try running over a bigger dude wearing protective gear. Coming in from 3rd at 6’3″ 215 and blocking the plate at 6’0″ 230 and POW did he hang on or didn’t he hang on? It’s part of baseball and I am glad it’s still a part of the game.

    • johnnyp

      That’s the argument here though. There’s very little room for that collision to occur. I don’t think we’re going to see anymore collisions. There’s more to this rule than what was cited here on this page.

  • hawkboy64

    Really we need to have mlb regulate home plate collisions what’s next no diving for balls on the outfield u might be hurt , no mike trout yr not allowed to jump fences for balls you could be hurt comeon it’s not powerful puff football on occasion there’s contact

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