Monday, March 3, 2014

My take

I've been trying to digest the new rule that will go into place this season regarding collisions at the plate. Obviously the play at the plate is an important part of the game in my book.  I collect play at the plate cards. I collect catcher cards.  Obviously I don't want catchers to get hurt.  I also don't want to see one of the most exciting plays in the game reduced to a free pass.  The more I read about the rule change, the more I think things will be ok.  Let's take a look.

Rule 7.13 will go into effect on an experimental basis this season and will "prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate."

If the umpire determines that a runner has initiated contact with the player covering home plate and/or deviated from his direct pathway to do so, the umpire will declare the runner out. If the catcher blocks the runner's pathway without holding the ball, the umpire will call the runner safe.

"The big thing we are trying to eliminate, and I wholeheartedly support it, is the cheap-shot collision," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "[A] guy, completely exposed, doesn't have the ball, and some guy hunts him."

That means runners can't do this



and especially this.

Catchers can't do this.


No blocking the plate without the ball in your glove. 

To make their determination, umpires will consider whether runners have made an effort to touch the plate, and whether they lower their shoulders or push through their elbows, hands or arms. The rule does not mandate that a player slide or that the catcher cannot block the plate, but runners who slide and catchers who allow a lane to the plate will never be found in violation.

Catchers and runners can do this.

"The biggest thing is, if you have a place to slide, you really need to slide," Yankees manager -- and former catcher -- Joe Girardi said. "We don't want any of these unnecessary collisions, because we want our players on the field, and we don't want the health issues to come back and haunt players 10, 20, 30 years from now. We just don't. ... I think it's a good rule, and I think it's a really good step in the right direction."

As you can see, some great play at the plate cards might not exist with this rule in place. I don't think it means the end of the play at the plate card either.

That really depends on Topps and how many play at the plate photos they buy from Getty.

I'll reserve final judgement until I see how the new rule affects the game. It does seem that the "bang-bang" play at the plate is a thing of the past.


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  2. Can never forget the play at the plate with Lonnie Smith (Braves) colliding with Brian Harper (Twins). 1992 Stadium Club photo from game 4 of the 91 World series.

  3. The thing I like about the rule is legislates both sides. It attempts to make them both avoid collisions. The catcher can't block the plate without the ball and the runner can't initiate contact needlessly. And its apparently a one year experiment in its present form. MLB can tinker with the rule to make it better for the following year.

  4. Good job with the breakdown. At this point, all we can do is keep an open mind and wait to see how things play out.