THE San Francisco Giants Blog

New Rule for Home Plate Released

Posted in Uncategorized by dirtnrocksnomo on February 25, 2014

An experimental rule, 7.13, intended to increase player safety by eliminating “egregious” collisions at home plate was jointly announced by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association on Monday.

The timing allows for managers, coaches, players and umpires to use the entire Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules to acclimate themselves to the rule. The intention to enact regulations was adopted at the Winter Meetings last December; now the exact wording has been agreed upon. The highlights:

• A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher, or any player, covering the plate. If he does, the umpire can call him out even if the player taking the throw loses possession of the ball.

• The catcher may not block the pathway of a runner attempting to score unless he has possession of the ball. If the catcher blocks the runner before he has the ball, the umpire may call the runner safe.

• All calls will be based on the umpire’s judgment. The umpire will consider such factors as whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulder or used his hands, elbows or arms when approaching the catcher.

• Runners are not required to slide, and catchers in possession of the ball are allowed to block the plate. However, runners who do slide and catchers who provide the runner with a lane will never be found in violation of the rule.

• The expanded instant replay rules, which also go into effect this season, will be available to review potential violations of Rule 7.13.

Maybe I am missing it but I don’t see anything here addressing launching oneself as a human missile so I read this as a lot of words that don’t really address the issue.

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  1. ewisco said, on February 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

    i think it would have been covered under the “lowered shoulder” part. i also thought it said something about
    “extending” the arms/hands. Pence asked if he needed to lead with his face, though he pointed out he doesn’t slide head first.

    • dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Is there another rule that prohibits lowering the shoulder? It seems like blowing up the catcher is still allowed.

  2. Alleykat said, on February 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Most Managers now will just have the runner slide at the plate,it will take out any controversy.
    Toronto’s manager is already instructing his players do so…

  3. salty said, on February 25, 2014 at 10:51 am

    All I saw was Torre saying to the effect Cousins would have been called out and possibly suspended under the new rule. That’s a big difference from his comments 2 yrs ago.
    Think we’ll see a lot more passive aggressive encounters at the plate.

  4. Macdog said, on February 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Best I can tell, the first part — “A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher, or any player, covering the plate” — seems to address what Cousins did, although I’m not sure what “covering the plate” means. But I also saw the Torre quote. If all this means an untalented hack like Cousins will no longer be allowed to go out of his way and launch himself at an All-Star catcher like Posey with as much force as a strong safety, then I’m for it. However, there may be one downside: A new batch of rules for already incompetent umpires to try to enforce can’t be a good thing. See: The NFL.

  5. unca_chuck said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Yeah, the first bullet addresses it. As well as bullet 3, the lower-the-shoulder bullet.

    The part that will instanltly be scrutinized in the ‘covering the plate without the ball’ aspect. Catchers have always done this. Mainly because they can’t determine whether the ball will get there before the baserunner, so they (so to speak) cover their base, or block the plate.

    Sounds pretty subjective. Which means unequal application of the rule.

    • dirtnrocksnomo said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      I see not going out of the line and launching yourself as different. I can see where bullet 3 addresses it but I think you are right it is pretty subjective.

  6. ewisco said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    total bullshit turnaround by torre. scrub.

  7. Bozo said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Bum gets the opening day start.

    • snarkk said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      Kinda early before anybody’s pitched an inning in ST. He’d probably trade that for a few extra $ million on the contract…

  8. zumiee said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    It’s a big step in the right direction, although I’m disappointed they’re still going to allow catchers with the ball to block the plate. Some of the baseball execs just weren’t ready to completely let go of the “exciting” homeplate collision. If the catcher’s blocking the plate, the runner has to run into the catcher. There’s still going to be pointless injuries.

    • zumiee said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      Although- I’m sure a lot of teams will be instructing their catchers to NOT block the plate anymore.

  9. chipower9 said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Yep…Bum gets the opener (in AZ). Rotation = Bum, Cain, Hudson, Timmy, Vogey.

    Hudson gets the home opener.

  10. chipower9 said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Mainly the new rule penalizes those who leave the base path to blow-up a catcher (like Cousins did with Posey). I am okay with them leaving the blocking of the plate (if catcher has the ball).

  11. chipower9 said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Mainly the new rule penalizes those who leave the base path to blow-up a catcher (like Cousins did with Posey). I am okay with them leaving the blocking of the plate (if catcher has the ball).

    • snarkk said, on February 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Agreed. The catcher can still block the plate but only if he already has the ball. So, the catcher should theoretically be ready for and less vulnerable to collision injury. In fact, sounds like the collision will be legal only if the catcher invites it by having the ball and blocking the plate. Posey already does not do that, and won’t unless it’s a deciding game of a series, I would think…

  12. unca_chuck said, on February 25, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I mean what happens if someone is blocking the plateand the ball gets to the catcher 0.5 seconds after contact? If the catcher has the plate blocked, and thus tags the runner out, is he now safe since the runner got there before the ball? and, according to the above, this is reviewable. Yay. We get to parse this out into tenths of seconds?

    I think the original rule says this, but it isn’t enforced that way. Is that part changed?

    • chipower9 said, on February 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      The way I read it Charlie is that the catcher must already be in possession of the ball before he can block the plate. So, if the catcher is set-up to block the plate while “waiting for the relay” my understanding is the ump can call the runner safe (catcher is operating outside the rule by blocking the plate without possession of the ball). Will be interested to see how it all plays out and gets called this coming year.

      • unca_chuck said, on February 25, 2014 at 2:37 pm

        My point is that the rule has always been that way regarding ‘can’t block the plate without the ball’. Are they going to rule differently now?

  13. blade3colorado said, on February 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I like the rule. No matter what, any attempt at protecting the catcher or the runner was going to elicit controversy. What this rule does in my opinion – is allow the umpire to “judge” the legitamcy of the play and rule accordingly. In short, it’s sort of like that Supreme Court ruling years ago about pornography, where someone said, “. . . I know it when I see it.”

    • Nipper said, on February 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm

      Damn it’s here!


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