It’s no secret; catchers get thoroughly abused during the nine innings of a game. One of the biggest dangers catchers face are plate collisions. We saw Scott Cousins barrel into Buster Posey in the 12th inning of a Marlins/Giants game which resulted in Posey snapping his fibula. Rule 7.13 was implemented so catchers wouldn’t have to worry about things like that. Rule 7.13 states that the catcher can’t block the pathway to the base if he doesn’t have the ball in his glove, and the runner can’t come in like wrecking ball and steamroll the catcher.
There have been a lot of issues with it as of recently. Devin Mesoraco of the Reds was tagged out by Russell Martin of the Pirates, but guess what, he wasn’t. Replay/officiating concluded that Martin was blocking the basepath and Mesoraco was safe. He wasn’t safe though, what replay ultimately was saying was “Russell, listen, in order for you to get the force out, you’d have had to hold the ball in the glove, but stand behind the plate, while making sure you didn’t stand too close to the plate, or we’d have to screw you.” There have been a number of players that have come out and said they don’t understand the rule, and for good reason, it doesn’t make much sense. As of Tuesday, Rule 7.13 has been adjusted.
The adjustment to Rule 7.13 follows as such, use the rule in all cases at home plate unless there is a force out at home plate. (i.e bases are juiced and somebody is coming home) There are a few things, which are kind of hard to understand. For one, why didn’t the people who thought of this rule, think about what would happen on a force out at home? It’s understandable as to why they implemented it, we don’t want to see another catcher snap his fibula, or worse, but they clearly didn’t think it through. Now, they’re making an adjustment that nobody understands, to a rule that nobody understands. If it’s going to cause that many problems, why bother keeping the rule implemented? Why don’t they just adjust the rule and say, don’t barrel into the catcher, or you’re out, simple. The base runner has the ability to move, or shield himself from a decent amount of contact while the catcher is ultimately a sitting duck. It seems as though, mixing this rule with the initial call of the umpire, the placement of the catcher, and the instant replay, the only thing this rule will be causing is confusion.