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VIDEO: Call overturned when Pirates catcher Russell Martin blocks the plate … on a forceout

Jun 18, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

Rule 7.13 still needs further clarification, especially after this confusing replay overturn in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game between the Reds and Pirates at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park …

It’s a forceout situation, so Martin has to keep one foot on the plate. And it’s the throw that clearly guides him into the runner’s path. There is no motivation for a catcher to block home plate on a force play, right?

  1. sabatimus - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Good luck with this one, folks.

  2. paperlions - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Overturning that call is just stupid.

    MLB taking simple rules that are easy to apply and creating complications where none are required.

    • blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:45 AM

      MLB did this in response to all the managers, bloggers, columnists, and commentors who threw hissy fits about catchers blocking plates.

      You reap what you sow.

      And now that people have gotten MLB to change the rules to protect the catchers, they can’t complain about the outcome.

      You don’t get it both ways.

      • stex52 - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:42 AM

        Not true. It is not the fault of people who wanted to protect catchers that MLB wrote a stupid rule. That one wasn’t very hard. They just didn’t try very hard.

      • paperlions - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:43 AM

        All MLB had to do was enforce the rules on the books, blocking the plate was already against the rules as was running over the catcher. Previously, no where in the rule book were there different rules for the plate…by rule running over the catcher is no different than running over the SS at 2B….and by rule, the catcher blocking the plate without the ball is no different than the SS blocking 2B without the ball.

        ALL they had to do was tell the umps to enforce the obstruction and interference rules as they are written…instead, they did this stupidity.

      • blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        No one ever just acts, they over-react. Always.

        Nothing less would have satisfied the ones complaining, so they gave you what you wanted.

        Now it’s not good enough and you’re complaining again.

        Until (and I hope it never happens) MLB lets random fans write the rules, you’ll have to make do with what they come up with.

        Or don’t ask them to change the original rule in the first place, especially since there was nothing wrong with it.

    • ud1951 - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      That did not look any different than a force play at second base. The runner slid straight into the bag, the catcher caught the ball with his foot on the base and got out of the way. Their feet barely touched. How is that interference?

      Also refresh me on the rule, if the runner upends the catcher in an attempt to keep him from getting a double play, is the runner out then? And why at home is that not allowed while it is expected at second base, where the fielder is wearing far less protective gear.

  3. 1998yanks - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Dumbest rule in baseball.

    • moogro - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Rule is good. Second dumbest wording and implementation in baseball, after the transfer fiasco.

  4. thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    Gotta figure MLB will update the rule sooner or later after seeing this play

    • 6superbowls - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      That would be saying they’re wrong. And that takes months and months of committee meetings. Gotta save face.

      • bfunk1978 - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:53 PM

        They did it with the transfer rule. Holding out hour they fix this too.

  5. term3186 - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:46 PM

    This is the correct application of the rule AS WRITTEN. However, the fact that this is overturned shows that this rule is written poorly. Terrible rule.

    • 6superbowls - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      So every first baseman is in violation of the rule then? As is every shortstop, second baseman, and third baseman? Gonna be tough being a pitcher in MLB in the future.

      • bfunk1978 - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        Rule only affects home plate.

      • sabatimus - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        Um, this is about catchers blocking the plate..

      • 6superbowls - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        I understand this. My point being what is so special about home plate they had to make a stoopid rule like this? All because ONE high-priced player got a concussion they felt the need to change the history of the game. And they can’t even get it right???

      • renaado - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        “All because ONE high-priced player got a concussion they felt the need to change the history of the game.”

        Is this really the reason? Catchers are gettin banged up there at homeplate already, It’s not just because of “one guy” but it’s for the rest of the catchers, Baseball isn’t a contact sport in the first place.

    • jpaugh19 - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:22 AM

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t you need to tag with the glove, and not your foot? The glove never actually made contact if you look at the one view. However, Mesoraco did make foot-to-foot contact. So does that make him out then?

      • tmc602014 - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        You don’t need to tag the runner on a force play.

  6. 6superbowls - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    The Buster Posey Rule. It’s created a little league atmosphere at major league rates. Complete joke!

    The guy that created the rule, along with the idiot who overturned tonight’s call, should be publicly exposed, then fired. Both of them. This call made the Jerry Meals call in Atlanta a few years ago almost acceptable.

    Baseball has lost me for good. New rule in my house. No MLB on TV allowed.

    • sabatimus - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:56 PM

      Stick to football, please.

    • renaado - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      “It’s created a little league atmosphere at major league rates. Complete joke!”

      Uh… What?

    • miguelcairo - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      Keep drinkin that Haterade.

      • timmmah10 - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:30 AM

        Thankfully for our sake…, his New Rule at his house still allows him to troll MLB message boards.

      • 6superbowls - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:58 AM

        Keep drinking the kool-aid MLB is feeding you. Baseball will be about as safe as ping pong soon. Weak.

      • renaado - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        Go to your rugby sport superbowls, it aint worth callin “football” anyways.

    • stex52 - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      Don’t hurry back.

    • blabidibla - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Does your rule apply to baseball blogs/websites too? Because, you know, you’re here.

  7. djp266 - Jun 18, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Martin did not clearly block the plate, his foot was on the middle for a force out and the momentum of the play brought him backwards, this is a basic force out at the plate, nothing new to be reviewed and was a bad overturned call.

  8. miguelcairo - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    What an awful call. Common sense does count for something, more umpires need to know this.

  9. DJ MC - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    I can’t believe I’m the only person that sees Martin set up on the third base side of the plate, so he’s standing right across the basepath.

    First of all, that’s poor positioning anyway. It puts the runner in between him and the throw, which may be nice on a non-force play where he has to drop a tag, but is unnecessary on a force. It only risks a throw into the runner.

    Second, it’s clearly blocking the basepath without the ball.

    It’s a force play, so it shouldn’t have been overturned based on common sense. However, he put himself in the position to be the victim of a bad call with his poor decision.

    • DJ MC - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      I’d love to see any of the downvoters argue otherwise.

      It’s a dumb implementation of the rule, but Martin brought it upon himself.

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:05 AM

        Where do you want him to stand on a throw coming from third base. The far right corner with his body stretched towards first?

      • DJ MC - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        How about right in front, where he can have his foot on the plate and not have the runner in between him and the ball?

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        You have apparently never played ball if you think a player has time to think about the exact positioning of his feet in that split second.

      • DJ MC - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        Don’t be ridiculous. He had more than a “split second” to set himself. He had plenty of time to put himself in a proper position, and instead stood astride the baseline making any invoking of the rule possible at all.

        As I’ve said, if he stands in front of the plate with his foot on it and the rest of his body in fair territory, it’s a better position to receive the throw AND the rule doesn’t come into play at all.

        Bad call, but only possible through a bad mistake.

      • cavafox - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Watch the video again, he is position as well in front as he can be without having to open up his body backwards (as he had to do anyhow due to the throw).

        If he put his right foot on the plate and had his left foot any farther in fair territory he would be bending backwards to catch the ball and would be even further off-balance.

    • scotttheskeptic - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:49 AM

      Um, no. He has a foot on the plate (necessary for the force), and a foot in the batter’s box. And, as he was not in front of the plate, it cannot be asserted he was blocking the plate.

      • DJ MC - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        Except that he was standing directly in the runner’s path from third. Shown when he had to jump to the side to avoid the slide.

    • mrznyc - Jun 19, 2014 at 7:42 AM

      Runner was out of the basepath. Just sayin’

      • DJ MC - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:53 AM

        No he wasn’t. Certainly not by rule where he would be called out.

    • pmpott - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:36 AM

      I agree with you, he is blocking the plate. It may not be on purpose but the way he set up to catch that ball, his left foot was blocking the path to the plate. A player would be called safe if a first baseman did the same thing with a foot across the foul line at first base.

      It’s tough for catchers because this is what they’ve been trained to do their whole lives but he easily could have had his left foot in fair territory and it wouldn’t have been an issue. People can disagree with the rule all they want but it was the right call.

    • 6superbowls - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      You’re joking right?

      • DJ MC - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        In what way?

  10. hcf95688 - Jun 18, 2014 at 10:51 PM

    Baseballs had this right for 100+ years…then, precious little Buster Posey comes along and we have this mess.

    • clydeserra - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:05 PM

      ok, I cannot believe I am defending him, because I catch a ton of Giants fan ire everytime it comes up because I continuously point out that its Posey’s terrible positioning that got him hurt, not the force of the baserunner, but here it goes,

      Posey did not ask for this rule. blaming him is ridiculous. the team owners who have a vested interest asked for it and got it.

      please stop implying that he was the one that made this rule.

      • hcf95688 - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:31 AM

        If thats what you got out of my comment you should take a reading comprehension course.

  11. derklempner - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    I’m just surprised that they said he blocked the plat when the runner slid STRAIGHT into home.

  12. wilmyers09 - Jun 18, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    he clearly was in runners path glad clal was overturned

  13. musketmaniac - Jun 19, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    if that was a game deciding play I would still be stoked. but something else was wrong in Pittsburgh last night. our pitching.

  14. campcouch - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:39 AM

    Ridiculous. no matter where he positions himself it’s still a forceout. He didn’t impede the runner at all. As soon as he caught the ball the play was over.

  15. dj4900 - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    absolutely correct campcouch. the force out is registered the moment he has possession of the ball ahead of the runner touching the base. total butchering of he rule interp. no way is that blocking the plate

  16. nsstlfan - Jun 19, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    6superbowls….. I don’t agree with this either but it wasn’t because Buster Posey got a concussion, but a shattered leg and missed the rest of the season that they looked into changing the collision rule.

  17. 4cornersfan - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    These umpires exercised the same kind of judgment that I reserve for choosing future ex-wives.

  18. Walk - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    Looks like martin caught the ball and tried to fall back off the plate to give a better lane. Bad use of replay i think. Martin could have positioned himself differently and made it easier but i believe that should have been an out.

  19. tmc602014 - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Clean out play. Blocking is in the basepath – which ends at the plate. Positioning on the third base side or first base side is an instantaneous decision based on where the catcher is and where the ball is coming from. That part can’t be second guessed if it’s not up the line. Bad replay call.

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