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MLB rules committee decides to eliminate collisions at home plate

Dec 11, 2013, 5:10 PM EST

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Joe Torre and Sandy Alderson just announced that the MLB Rules Committee has voted to outlaw collisions at home plate. The decision is now subject to approval by the players.  If the players do not approve the rule change it will not go into effect in 2014, but MLB would be able to unilaterally implement it in 2015. It is expected, however, that the players will approve the change.

The rule has yet to be formally defined or drafted, but the upshot of all of this will be that base runners will be required to slide into home plate, not initiate contact with the catcher. Likewise, catchers will not be able to block home plate. Rather, they must tag runners — and allow runners a path to the plate — just as any other fielder does at any other base. Players who violate the collision rules will be subject to discipline in all likelihood, though exact sanctions will be determined once the rule is finalized.

This rule change has been a long time coming. Recent public understanding of the seriousness of concussions has helped spur it on, as has high-profile injuries to players in collisions such as Buster Posey. Indeed, it was Posey’s manager Bruce Bochy and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, whose own catching career was cut short due to concussions, who spearheaded this rule change.

  1. mdpickles - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Ray Fosse just went, “WTF!”

    • missthemexpos - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      And Pete Rose just went, ” Well in my day….”

      • dcfan4life - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Pete Rose doesnt remember his day anymore…lol.

  2. phillysports1 - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Hey I was at that game sitting right behind cubs dugout . ( picture above )

    • aphillieated - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM

      I was at this game too.

  3. meatcarroll - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Wow, took the last remaining physicality out of a soft sport. No wonder baseball is dying.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      http://sports.yahoo.com/news/mlb-revenue-reaches-7-5-164013039–mlb.html

      “Factoring in inflation, the sport’s revenue has climbed 257 percent since 1995 when it was $1.4 billion.”

      Yep, stick a fork in it.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      Why are you here?

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      Call your cable provider and ask for NFL Network.

    • dcarroll73 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:29 AM

      You should really go back to your football blog, but first let me tell you a story. I used to catch in a softball league and I once had a 6’3″ macho-man baserunner on third telling me, “hey little guy, get out of the way or I’ll crush you.” I am about 5’4″. I ignored him, the batter looped one to LF, and my fielder caught it and made a great throw home. Meanwhile Neanderthal had tagged up and was barrelling home. The ball literally came to my glove over his shoulder. I had just time to catch it and tuck down to “fireplug position” about a foot in front of the plate. The jackass hit me and went airborne landing about two feet past home. Now I was damned sure my glove with the ball inside had made contact with this clown when he hit me, but I was not about to have the umpire blow this one. I stepped back and slap-tagged the clown as I pointed out to the ump, “he missed the plate.” This of course led to his feelings being hurt, his wanting to fight a guy about a foot shorter than him, and a bench-clearer – in short a good time was had by all. As much fun as I had that day, I still think that this home collision stuff is bull that needs to go away.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        Didn’t you tell him: “Don’t call me little.”

      • dapop - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        Thanks for wasting 2 minutes out of my day

      • jimeejohnson - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        The bigger and stupider they are…

  4. cackalackyank - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    I’m fine with this except for the ‘tin platted’ god’s that will be responsible for ruling on this, a.k.a. the Umpires. It seems like it should be a clearly defined call, but with some of the umps out there, I just see the possibility for all kinds of fun and games…

  5. chiadam - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Good. Runners can’t plow into fielders at any other base.

    • JB (the original) - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM

      What exactly gets “taken out” during a “take out” slide at 2nd then?

      That said, I imagine there will be a lot more scrutinizing at the plays around 2nd, and with all this new “safety” in the game, there should be, thankfully, the complete elimination of the “in the neighborhood” play.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

        Not a tag play, not at all the same. MIF do not get taken out on tag plays at 2B….although, that would make stolen base attempts more interesting. I imagine Matt Holliday could lead the league in steals, anybody getting in front of that when it is moving fast?

      • nbjays - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:49 AM

        Wait… what? Matt Holliday can move fast? Since when?

  6. The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    If you want to see guys trying to hit each other as hard as they can and make them drop a ball, we already have a sport that does that. It’s never made sense to me that this was tacitly considered appropriate play by the league, and it sounds like they want to correct that. Bravo.

  7. ariellesdad13 - Dec 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Seriously? Of course I think this is smart, but only if it affects the runner and the catcher. The catcher is usually most to blame. The majority of injuries are to the catcher because they stand right in front of the plate and beg the runner to bowl them over. What are you supposed to do if you’re the runner, running full speed and then last second the catcher is there with the ball and waiting right in front of the plate? Do you hold up real quick or jump over him or try running around him only to possibly pull a hammy or tear an acl or break something? The only way this works is if the catcher stops standing in front of the plate right in the runner’s base path. They should be taught to stand in the vicinity but not in the base path. This way no one gets hurt.

    • gibbyfan - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      From what I read in the piece, I think that is the general idea.

    • JB (the original) - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      I can understand the rule change and envision some sort of keep-out zone being added to the batters’ boxes around the plate to give the umps a solid reference point, but what if the throw is up the line (but on line) and the catcher receives the ball say 10-12 feet in front of the plate–is it interference because the catcher is not providing a clear path? is the runner obligated to stop and not run into the catcher? (if so, I can see a bunch of strategies where the catcher deliberately sets up well before the plate area). Should be some interesting plays and umpire interpretations.

      • spudchukar - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        This has always been my argument. If I am an ump, and a throw is 4 feet up the line and the runner arrives at the same time as the catcher moving to make the play and a collision results, what the hell do I do?

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        If the catcher enters the baseline without the ball, that’s obstruction. With the ball, interference.

    • edpeters101 - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      If they enforce catcher interference if in front of the plate without the ball, and runner failing to avoid contact equally: We should be good to go, collisions are just plain stupid!

    • hackerjay - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      The other option for the runner is to do what they do at every other base: slide.

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      They stand up because they know they are getting run over….what do you think would happen to a catcher if he placed his glove in front of the plate while waiting for a runner? He would get run over anyway.

      Players at every other base that have the ball or are fielding the ball are allowed to be in the runners path an not give him a lane to the base. Having different rules for home plate is stupid.

      Again, all they have to do is follow the rules as written.

      • spudchukar - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

        Sorry PL, but it is more complicated than that.

        One more thing, home plate is not like any other base. At home you don’t have to stay on the base to be safe.

        I want Baseball to be safer too. And I’m not saying I am not in favor of the rule change, although it robs the game of athletic endeavors, my concern is the implementation, which I see as a nightmare.

        One last thought. In my heart of hearts, I believe that the Cards primary reason for sending Freese to LA, was due to instant replay. If I were conversing with anyone else here I would elaborate, but since it is you I will refrain, but happy to explain more tomorrow.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:31 PM

        There are no special rules for home plate. Yes, you can’t be out once you touch it, but you can over run any base. Feel free to read the rules of baseball and find any exemption of obstruction or interference rules for home plate. There are none. Just like the BS neighborhood plays, or umpires giving a batter first when he leans into the pitch…these are all just instances of umpires refusing to enforce clearly written rules.

      • spudchukar - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

        Yeah, but at home if you overrun the base, the play is over, and that ain’t the case elsewhere. As usual your comments are salient, but in all honesty there is a difference.

  8. deadeyedesign23 - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Seems to me you can let the adult men playing the game make this decision. If a catcher doesn’t stand up and block the plate there’s no collision. Buster Posey has been choosing not to square up in the baseline since he came back. If a catcher chooses to block the plate he’s accepting the potential collision.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      He was also choosing that as Cousins was bearing down on home plate. Didn’t help, because choosing to blow the catcher up into next year, even if a direct to the plate wasn’t taken, entailed no risk to the baserunner.

  9. doubleogator - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I think it’s BS…it’s always been part of baseball, just like a brush back by a pitcher…traditional baseball as it’s always been played.

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:59 PM

      No, it has not always been part of baseball. Back in the good old days, no one ran over the catcher, everyone slid into home. At some point in the 60s that started to change.

      • Professor Longnose - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        Bill James discussed that a bit in his Historical Abstract. Here’s a discussion of the discussion: http://miscbaseball.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/the-mlb-rulebook-bill-james-and-the-buster-posey-scott-cousins-collision/

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      I think it’s BS…it’s always been part of baseball, just like a brush back by a pitcher…traditional baseball as it’s always been played.

      Other things that used to be “traditional” but we’ve gotten over:

      6 balls for a walk
      4 strikes for an out
      no minorities
      players using the same glove for both teams
      no night games
      reserve clause

      etc

      • spudchukar - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:29 PM

        Also: 9 game WS,

        The ball must bounce once before a catcher can make a play,

        No batting helmets,

        Umpires, behind home plate,

        Fences,

        etc.

  10. blazenhawks - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I think this is real bs what is the poin of Running home then to just stand and let him tag you out. the fact that the game of baseball is getting so weak its getting sad. What’s next you get hit ny a pitch its a free run

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      It is easy. You just get home before the ball does….you know…the same idea as reaching any other base safely.

  11. dparker713 - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Collisions at home plate are just plain entertaining. Sure, the game is marginally safer now. Its also marginally less exciting.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      Blanco to Scutaro to Posey, sweep tag, sit down Fielder.

      Entertaining? Sure was.

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      Close plays at home are exciting. Collisions are not necessary for that excitement.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:13 PM

        Or: you can have a bang-bang play without the bang.

  12. tn16 - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    To me the picture above should be legal he is on the act of sliding. That should be allowed of a catcher is blocking the plate. This should also mean catchers can’t block the plate this is really a BS rule

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      I have to hope you haven’t seen video of that particular play, because I don’t think anyone who had would consider Utley’s move a “slide”. Tacitly validated by MLB as a legit play, sure. But by no means a slide.

  13. titansbro - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Can they still block the plate? I think trying to take out a 2nd baseman who’s trying to turn a double play is way more dangerous.

  14. mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Next up: putting the ball on a tee, leaving the BP cage in front of the pitcher’s mound, outlawing the fastball, and all fly balls that land within 10 feet of a fielder are outs. Hate to see someone get hurt!

    • nbjays - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:55 AM

      You’ve already been proven yourself to be a Neanderthal dick on the other thread about this. Give it a rest and go watch your MMA and other “manly” sports.

  15. thepittsburghkid - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    It’s garbage, our society is pathetic.

    • scubagolfjim - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      Correction: YOUR society is pathetic. You can stay out of ours: the one of reason, sensibility and common sense

  16. jburk003 - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Good change. They had no choice in today’s day and age. We all just saw the near billion dollar lawsuit the NFL just sent through

  17. tablescrappy - Dec 12, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    Awesome. We can call it the Buster Pu$$y Rule.

    • miguel3557 - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:32 AM

      And you can call yourself a vulgar moron.

    • dcarroll73 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:43 AM

      And you might want to learn some facts before engaging your keyboard. In fact Posey did not complain a bit even though he was NOT blocking the plate, It was a dirty play that should have gotten the runner a suspension longer than the DL stint of the guy he took out, but baseball tradition winks at this crap. Offhand I would bet a LARGE sum that Buster could kick your ass on his worst day and your best one, so STFU!

      • gowhitten - Dec 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        Posey attacked Cousins without the ball, so Posey is the one who should have been charged with assault and battery. Watch the video idiot!

  18. louhudson23 - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    If we can just get the TV production to show the ball the runner and the fielder in the same shot as all converge on the same point,we can actually see and enjoy an exciting, anticipatory experience(by Willie Makit & Betty Dont)…instead we will get a ball in flight(wow!!)..jump cut…a guy running(yep,that’s a guy running alright)…jump cut…a guy catching a ball and the blur of the runner flashing into the picture at the last moment..(WTF happened?…wait for replay)…..This is also the current formula for the formerly exciting DP.

  19. louhudson23 - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:55 AM

    comma,comma,comma,

  20. keets55 - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    making comparisons between what takes place at Home Plate and anywhere else on the field is illogical……………………..I would argue that a sharp single to left field with a fast runner on second base in a close game is probably the most exciting play in Baseball at any level.

    this rule change will alter the game dramatically, that’s why I think it’s a bad idea.

  21. cubb1 - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    The wussification of sports has spread from the NFL to MLB. What a shame.

    • nbjays - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      You probably think hockey also got “wussified” when goalies started wearing masks and players started wearing helmets. Stick with MMA and leave baseball to those who don’t particularly consider it a blood sport.

      • cubb1 - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        How many times are you going to use the same MMA line, jag off? Get some new material.

  22. quincy1959 - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Most memorable for me was Buck Martinez getting run over and breaking his leg. But he held onto the ball and got the runner out. Somehow still managed to throw to third to catch another runner, who in turn decided to try for home as apparent Martinez was not gonna be able to get up. But Garth Iorg made a nice throw and Matinez able to tag him out too. Martinez carried out on a stretcher and done for the season.

    While I’m not in favour of eliminating collisions on close plays, bowling over a catcher who clearly has the ball and the plate blocked could be discussed.

  23. sailbum7 - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    This is a good idea, if it is properly defined in the rules and properly implemented by the umpires. There is no reason that a batter should be allowed to basically throw a body block into the catcher to try and make him drop the ball when the throw home has clearly beat the runner. There is also no reason that the catcher should be allowed to block the basepath or the plate when he does not have the ball. This rule should prevent a lot of unnecessary injuries to players that do not need to be part of the game.

  24. realgone2 - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Ok, no collisions at home plate now? So in roughly 20 years we’ll be at the stage where every team finishes first? We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings that can lead to depression and suicide.

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