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:

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.

Mike Trout to undergo foot surgery

Mike Trout
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Angels star outfielder Mike Trout is done for the year, per a team press release. He’ll undergo surgery to remove the Morton’s neuroma in his right foot sometime over the next week, which will likely require a recovery period that stretches beyond the two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Trout, 28, has been day-to-day with a foot injury since the first week of September. On Monday, he underwent a cryoablation procedure to treat the neuroma on his right foot, but evidently requires further treatment to resolve the issue completely. Per manager Brad Ausmus, Trout ‘tested his foot by running’ on Sunday and found he was still experiencing too much pain to play, prompting his decision to undergo season-ending surgery.

This figures to be the first major setback Trout has seen since his thumb surgery in 2017, but there’s no reason to believe his current ailment will have any substantial effect on his 2020 season. Still, it’s an unfortunate end to another monster campaign by the eight-time All-Star and AL MVP contender, who will finish his 2019 season batting .291/.438/.645 with an AL-best 45 home runs, .1083 OPS, and league-leading 8.6 fWAR.