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Baseball’s controversial plate-blocking rule strikes again

Jul 27, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

Opponents of baseball’s new plate-blocking rule, meant to protect catchers, got another round of ammo to add to their arsenal with what went on in Philadelphia this afternoon.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks were tied 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Howard had drawn a two-out walk to bring up Marlon Byrd. Byrd worked the count 3-2 before skying a fly ball into shallow right-center. Second baseman Didi Gregorius ranged out for it and appeared to have it, but the ball deflected off of his glove towards shallow center. Center fielder Ender Inciarte alertly picked up the ball and fired a seed to catcher Miguel Montero, who applied an easy tag to Ryan Howard for the third out.

Only one problem: Montero didn’t give Howard a lane to the plate. The umpires reviewed the play for more than three minutes, but ultimately reversed the out call, giving the Phillies the run although Howard never ended up touching the plate.

Let the debate begin anew.

  1. hcf95688 - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Buster Posey strikes again

  2. weareluckytohavemikeflorio - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:56 PM

    congrats Bud Selig for screwing up baseball just one more time.
    this rule is a joke and is just plain stupid. a normal baseball play with no collision
    no injury is reviewed and overturned.
    thanks again bud.
    when is it you are leaving again???
    if it was yesterday it was too late

  3. xxakshunxx - Jul 27, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Get rid of the blocking the plate rule, go back to how it always used to be.. these guys get paid millions to play a game, the injuries are part of that sacrifice or else they should get a different job if they dont wanna get dirty and do the same exact job the guys before them did for over a hundred years and got paid peanuts compared to now.

  4. Bob Loblaw - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    If not for the rule, Ryan Howard may have destroyed Montero on that play. Montero was planted in front of Howard’s path to home and never moved. The ball didn’t move him. CLEARLY SAFE by the rule. And Montero would be CLEARLY DAZED RIGHT NOW if not for the rule.

    • hojo20 - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      Don’t get all butthurt now. It’s a lame rule, admit it.

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 27, 2014 at 11:38 PM

        I’m not butthurt you dolt. It is a lame rule. And every word I wrote is true.

    • clydeserra - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:07 AM

      by current rule, Howard could have plowed him.

    • bringin1234 - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      or Ryan Howard would have been on the DL yet again….

    • miamimatty46 - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      Montero a big boy he can take a hit especially a overpaid loser. Posey was a wuss from FSU

  5. sabatimus - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    If, say, George Kottaras got hurt instead of Posey, this rule doesn’t exist in the first place.

    • jss1330 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      If it had been Pierzynski, collisions would be mandatory

  6. paint771 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Thank God it was just a Phillies-Diamondback back game or this could have really mattered.

  7. Tim's Neighbor - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Meh was blocking the plate. Easy call. Nothing controversial.

    More importantly, at the end of the day, no concussions or other injuries for these men.

    And if you need to see some large dude hit another, MMA is right around the corner.

    • clydeserra - Jul 28, 2014 at 12:09 AM

      Is it? Is it an easy call? We don’t know from that angle we were shown.

      Sure Montero was in the path as the ball is travelling in the air. But we don’t see what happens before that.

      He may have been standing in the same spot and would have violated the rule.
      but we didn’t get to see that

  8. whatacrocker - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    If the rule only fails to work following a Ryan Howard walk, then I think we’ll be ok.

  9. serbingood - Jul 27, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    Isn’t the bigger news that Howard actually played in a game AND got to the home plate area all on the same day?

  10. inanedmonds - Jul 27, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    This is a joke. Throughout the history of sports, players have sacrificed their bodies to show why they should be considered the best in the world. Yes, it’s true that these guys get paid millions and everybody who is directly involved with these players are looking to protect their investment. However, injuries are part of the game and some can be extremely serious. Now to the subject at hand. Should there be a rule about blocking the plate? Absolutely not. This rule was put in place because the rookie of the year from the previous year, catcher of the then reigning world champions, Buster Posey was injured when he blocked the plate. Immediately MLB started looking at what they could do to protect catchers and came up with this. What they should have done was recommend that Posey learn how to play his position better. If you look at the play, Posey’s footwork was all wrong. The positioning of his feet did not allow his legs to give way in the event he was ran over. Because of this, his cleats dug into the ground and his season was over.

    Bottom line is players need to learn their position and how to play good sound fundamental baseball to reduce the risk of injury. Why take away from the excitement of the game because someone is hurt due to poor fundamentals? I love the game of baseball and I don’t see the need for this rule to be part of it. Bud Selig, I have three words for you “LET THEM PLAY”.

  11. styx630 - Jul 28, 2014 at 2:30 AM

    Between this and the challenge system, Selig is making sure he screws up the game as much as possible before stepping down.

  12. professor30 - Jul 28, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    What makes this call a joke is that Howard was 10 feet from the plate when Montero caught the ball. Agree with Saba, if it was somebody other than Posey that got injured this would not be a rule.

  13. JB (the original) - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:10 AM

    So, does the “path” move around? If the runner swings out around third and is approaching home from the grass (as in this case), is the catcher required to move to let the runner have a direct path to the plate or just need to provide “a path”? Because if you go to 1:06 or so of the video, that angle appears to show a clear path straight down the baseline had Howard chosen to run down the basepath. Only Posey’s right foot is on the line, the rest of his body is off to the side—but, in line with the direction Howard’s coming from. If that’s the case, there’s a whole ‘nother way to manipulate the game–teach the runners to keep the catcher between themselves and the plate, and then complain.

  14. jrbdmb - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    That was a gritty call by the umpires. Kirk Gibson respects that.

  15. J. Robert Hanson - Jul 28, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    The new rule clearly gives the advantage to the runner in play.

  16. blue792014 - Jul 28, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    An obstruction call should have been made at the outset.

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