The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates last week were involved in a controversial play that called into question the validity of Major League Baseball’s new home plate collision rule.
On Tuesday, the league took a formal step to ensure such controversy won’t happen again.
The rule in question is Rule 7.13, a new edict that prohibits catchers from blocking home plate without possession of the baseball. In a statement issued Tuesday, the league altered that rule by allowing catchers to block home plate and keep their feet on the bag if there is a force play at home.
“Rule 7.13 was adopted in order to prevent unnecessary collisions at home plate between a runner attempting to score and a catcher attempting to make a tag play on the runner,” the statement read. “The Rule as intended has no function or purpose in the context of a force play (i.e., a runner attempting to score from third with the bases loaded). As a result, effective immediately, Umpires will be instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate.”
Questions surrounding the original rule arose last Wednesday, when Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon came to bat with the bases loaded and hit a weak ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher threw home to Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who was standing on home plate to record the force out when Reds baserunner Devin Mesoraco slid into his foot.
Mesoraco initially was called out, but after a video review, the umpires overturned the call after determining that Martin violated Rule 7.13 by blocking home plate.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected for arguing the call.
The league added that collisions at home plate between the catcher and baserunner still will be allowed “within the limits of rules governing interference.”
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