One day in, the new “clarification” on the collision rule seems to have already been messed up

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Yesterday Major League Baseball issued a memo to all clubs and umpires clarifying the home plate collision rule. The idea: umpires are not to simply rule runners safe, even if the catcher is technically blocking the plate, if it isn’t clear that the catcher was physically preventing the runner from actually reaching home plate. The idea: those plays in which a ball beats the runner by a mile and the tag is a mere formality should NOT be called blocking. Because, really, c’mon.

That’s a good sense rule. It allows umpires to use a bit of judgment and tell the difference between a play in which a runner simply can’t get to the plate and a play where the block didn’t matter. Unfortunately, in its first test, it looks like the umpires and replay officials got it wrong. To New York:

[mlbvideo id=”36096131″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

How that isn’t a plate block I have no idea. This was not one of those “the runner is out by 20 feet” plays the clarification is aimed at changing. This was going to be a close play if Drew had a chance to slide into the plate. But where was Stephen Drew supposed to go?

After the game, Joe Girardi said that, if the calls are going to be like that, his instructions to his base runners would be “Run him over. Bottom line: Run him over.” The catcher here, Ryan Hanigan, said this:

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to catch that ball besides the way I caught it,” Hanigan said. “As the throw came in, it came to the middle of the plate. If you call him safe right there, it’s ridiculous. If he hits me, I’ve got no problem with that. I think the play was called correctly.”

I don’t think it was called correctly. But Hanigan and Girardi have a point that, really, the only option there for Drew was to run Hanigan over. Which given what the rule is designed to prevent, is not what Major League Baseball wants, I’m sure.

You have three weeks to get this right before the playoffs, MLB.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.