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Umpires uphold call at home plate in Yankees/Blue Jays game

Apr 5, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

Take a look at this play at home plate in the top of the third inning of this afternoon’s game between the Yankees and Blue Jays. R.A. Dickey gave up a single to Jacoby Ellsbury to center field, but Colby Rasmus was able to cut down Francisco Cervelli at the plate. However, did Josh Thole block Cervelli’s path to the plate? You be the judge:

Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to argue and the umpires reviewed it, but the call on the original field was confirmed.

For a refresher, here’s part of the new rule on home plate collisions:

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. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the Umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable.

While there is some grey area here, it looks like Thole didn’t do anything to violate the new rule in this instance. This particular review, which was initiated by the umpires, was to determine whether Thole blocked the plate, but the Yankees might have gotten a run if Girardi used to a challenge to argue that Cervelli was safe. It looks like he got his foot in before the tag from Thole.

  1. tonyrlz51 - Apr 5, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    According to the Yankees broadcast you’re incorrect on that last part. They reported that MLB told them that umpires could overturn a play based upon something other than what thy are specifically reviewing for. In this case, if they had determined that there was enough evidence that Cervelli’s foot was in before the tag, they could have overturned it even though they were reviewing for blocking the plate.

    • deep64blue - Apr 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

      Interesting, the Phillies broadcasters have spent about 10 minutes tonight discussing how you have to be specific and the Umps can only look at what you have challenged! MLB have done a poor job of explaining this new system haven’t they.

  2. clydeserra - Apr 5, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    this isn’t even close to blocking the baseline. Thule is standing over the base. Cervelli has the whole plate to slide at.

    As far as safe or out, there is not enought there.

    His foot may have been forward, but we would need to know if it made contact with the plate, which you can’t tell from that angle.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 5, 2014 at 4:26 PM

      Indeed Clyde, with the evidence that he wasn’t blocking the plate being the foot that had plenty of room to get to the plate.

  3. spudchukar - Apr 5, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    I concur that MLB and the umps got this right, but it also illuminates the controversy that will ensue with this rule change, cause if that throw was up the line another couple of feet, and the catcher goes and gets it a collision in the baseline is possible. Not that the rule change isn’t desirable, but there are circumstances when overlapping rules will occur and it will be interesting to see how it will be handled. Hopefully if the throw forces the catcher into the baseline, it won’t be considered blocking the plate, but it is going to be tough to tell.

    • clydeserra - Apr 5, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      absolutely. ths rule is hard to interpret. the plate is in fair territory, in front of the foul lines. Running to the plate looks like running at the catcher and catching the ball up the baseline looks like impeding the runner.

      Honestly they should say “don’t plow the catcher. I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it”

      • spudchukar - Apr 5, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        If it works for the Supreme Court and obscenity laws why not Baseball.

      • zackd2 - Apr 5, 2014 at 3:31 PM

        Because runners CAN plow the catcher, they just can’t go out of their way to plow him

  4. proudlycanadian - Apr 5, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    A well pitched game by both Dickey and Pineda. The Yankees were in the game until Phelps gave up 2 home runs in the 8th.

  5. chiadam - Apr 5, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Nothing like taking a simple black-and-white play and introducing countless shades of grey.

    • zackd2 - Apr 5, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Black and white play…it took the ump 10 seconds to make a call “to make sure the catcher held onto the ball” while his view was 100% blocked by the catcher’a body.

  6. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 5, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    Anyone have any umpiring experience and can explain why the hell DeMuth stood behind Thole to make his out call?

    • zackd2 - Apr 5, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      “Human element”

  7. jimeejohnson - Apr 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    DirtyHarry!

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      Try not to wake Harry from his stupor.

  8. mtr75 - Apr 5, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Just another example of what a confusing, unnecessary and useless rule this is. If you want to say the baserunner can’t leave the baseline to purposely take out a catcher, fine. That’s a judgement call I don’t mind giving the ump. But when someone is chugging down the 3rd base line and the throw is coming in from left, the catcher is supposed to stand… where, exactly? He’s not allowed to block the plate without the ball as per this crappy rule. So I guess he should just idly stand to the side and let the runner gayly gallop home. It’s better for everyone, guys, really.

    What a joke.

  9. lazlosother - Apr 5, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    I really don’t see the problem here. He had a clear path to the plate. He took it. The only question is whether he touched the plate before he was tagged. I can certainly live with this one. Good play by Toronto.

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