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



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.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.