In the past few seasons, Major League Baseball has instituted new rules and processes that’s led to some frustration. Instant replay has largely been beneficial, though the length of time it takes to review a play has occasionally been an issue.
However, the frustration that’s come with instant replay pales in comparison to feelings the home plate collision rule has evoked. Rule 7:13, which is an attempt to protect catchers from serious injury, has eliminated violent collisions but has also come at a cost.
Application of the rule has been inconsistent, which the Los Angeles Dodgers have both benefitted and suffered from. MLB recently made a modification to the rule with hopes of providing more clarity as the postseason draws closer.
A.J. Ellis discussed the change and how umpires will now take into account the actual play rather than strictly relying on the verbiage of the rule, via Mark Saxon of ESPN LA:
The initial integrity of the rule was player safety. I think the questionable calls we’ve seen, player safety was not a concern in those situations. It was correctly following the new rule, but these adjustments are going to clear some of that up. If the player was clearly going to be out at home, we’re not going to be as stringent on the catcher’s setup. It’s going to use these umpires’ judgment, their baseball IQ to read the play and determine if it had any impact on the runner being safe or out.”
Manager Don Mattingly agreed with Ellis’ comments and was pleased by the steps MLB has taken to attempt to define the rule:
I think it’s good that you get it out there. Better before than after.”
The Dodgers currently have a 2.5-game lead in the NL West and any play could be the difference between winning the division or playing a Wild Card game. Clarification now should hopefully lead to fewer altercations in the future and less stress for the front office and managers.
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