MLB and MLBPA Adopt Experimental Rule on Home Plate Collisions

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced Monday an experimental rule on home plate collisions was voted on and accepted. The new rule (Rule 7.13) goes into effect immediately and will prohibit egregious collisions at home.

Tony Clark, head of the MLBPA, said Monday the union will monitor the addition to the rule book throughout the year and determine at the end of the season whether the MLBPA wants the rule to be permanent in 2015.

Press Release from Major League Baseball

MLBPA, MLB ADOPT EXPERIMENTAL RULE 7.13 ON HOME PLATE COLLISIONS – Rule Will Prohibit Egregious Collisions at Home Plate in 2014; Pathway Guidelines for Runners and Catchers Established.

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) have officially negotiated the addition of Rule 7.13, covering collisions at home plate, on an experimental basis for the 2014 season, the parties jointly announced today. In 2014, the rule being implemented by MLB and the MLBPA (set out below) will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate.  The new experimental rule sets forth that: 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.

In determining whether a runner deviated from his pathway in order to initiate a collision, the Umpire will consider whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate, and whether he lowered his shoulders or pushed through with his hands, elbows or arms when veering toward the catcher.  The rule that will be in effect in 2014 does not mandate that the runner always slide or that the catcher can never block the plate.  However, runners who slide, and catchers who provide the runner with a lane to reach the plate, will never be found to be in violation of the new rule.  Beginning immediately, Clubs will be required to train their runners to slide and their catchers to provide the runner with a pathway to reach the plate at all levels in their organizations.

MLB will distribute training materials throughout Spring Training and discussions on the new rule, including the retraining of catchers and base runners, will be held during MLB’s meetings with managers in the weeks ahead.  Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a committee of players and managers to review developments as the season progresses and to discuss the possible application of the new rule in 2015. Finally, instant replay will be available to review potential violations of Rule 7.13.  The Umpire Crew Chief will have discretion to invoke instant replay in order to determine whether Rule 7.13 was violated.

OFFICIAL BASEBALL RULE 7.13 COLLISIONS AT HOME PLATE

(1) 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).  In such circumstances, the Umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.

Rule 7.13 Comment:  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 7.13.  A slide shall be deemed appropriate, in the case of a feet first slide, if the runner’s buttocks and legs should hit the ground before contact with the catcher.  In the case of a head first slide, a runner shall be deemed to have slid appropriately if his body should hit the ground before contact with the catcher.

(2) 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.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

Quote of the Day

"The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball,' you know." - Willie Stargell
Share on Fancred
  • BosephHeyden

    This rule is stupid. Just because one player (Buster Posey) got hurt in a gruesome fashion does not mean you change the way the game is played. I like that baseball is trying to be more modern, but this isn’t modernizing the game: it’s revamping the way a certain position plays the game that goes against everything they’ve learned on their way to the majors.

    • Tony_Hall

      It has been more than Posey.

      This is not something they have learned on the way to the majors. It is not like they have held practice sessions on how to knock over the catcher. Any practice time on coming into home is on sliding away from the tag, usually wide and using your hand to tag the plate while keeping most of your body the farthest away as possible.

    • JasonOfTheBurbs

      when ARod tried knocking ball out of 1b glove, it was called “bush league”…yet knocking the ball away from a C is ok. Inconsistent and part of silly “unwritten” baseball rules. I am more interested in the close plays at the plate, where you need instant replay to confirm if the player got his foot or hand on the plate before being tagged…that is exciting. Nothing exciting about watching Pujols run over some backup catcher that weighs 190. That is what the NFL is for…

  • Pingback: MLB and MLBPA Adopt Experimental Rule on Home Plate Collisions - Cubs Chronicles

  • raymondrobertkoenig

    This is a good rule. Imagine if the runner went for the fielder at any other base instead of going for the base in order to knock the ball loose. We know what the call would be then.

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree. I have never understood the concept of being able to knock over the catcher. It is not accepted as these guys play the game growing up.

    • paulcatanese

      Back in the day??
      Runners could go almost as far as they wanted to in the attempt to break up the double play.
      Dump the SS or 2baseman. Been on both ends
      of those. When playing SS or 2nd one better be able to take it as well as dish it out.
      Taking the catcher out to score was part of the game.
      This went on until the rule changed around 2nd
      base, and until now home plate.
      In those years I cannot say it was right or wrong, just the way the game was played.
      On the other side of the scale, I have seen many a catcher block the plate and ride runners out before they had the ball, never or rarely enforced. Pitchers brush back or aim at the head, all in the game I guess.
      Don’t like to see anyone get hurt at all, but it does happen, and if the umps can get the intentional injury minimized then great, I’m all for it.

  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    I hope that Willie Collazo makes an MLB comeback and plays the Dbacks this year, and has to cover home when their SS tries to score.

    That could lead to a possible Gregorius-Collazo egregious collision.

    Yeah…I’m a dork…sue me.

  • John G

    Are they going to teach the umpires how to make the calls correctly. I’m thinking Angel Hernandez here.

    • mutantbeast

      Doesnt it seem Angel Hernandez blows at least one call every year in a Cubs game, and its always against the Cubs? Remember a few years ago, a Sunday night game against the Cards, Steve “mongo” McMichael was the 7th inning conductor, and in the bottom of the 6th, Hernandez blatantly blew a call on a play at the plate to end the inning. Mongo came to the booth for the bottom of the 7th, took the mike from the PA announcer and told everyone”Mr Umpire, me and you need to talk when the game is over”. Hernandez had stadium security escort Mongo out 5 minutes later. Cubs ended up winning the game anyway.

  • BillyFinT

    I read through this, and I found this issue fascinating. We all know this rule helps protect pro players. It’s a consequence of the economics for this business.

    Is this rule a sign of progress? Baseball was way more violent earlier last century. Then the leagues addressed that feature, and baseball became a safer sport as opposed to boxing, soccer, football, rugby, and hockey.

    I read that before late 80s, catchers didn’t block the plate like 3 feet in front of the plate. It then became common practice. Runners then needed to adjust to such outrageous interference to base-path. All the collision talk and the Giants lost their prized catcher are stirring a long time problem that happened before this Century.

  • Pingback: Today on JOBC (February 25) | Just One Bad Century