(NEW YORK) — After months of discussion regarding banning collisions at home plate, Major League Baseball and its players have opted to merely limit the potentially dangerous play. In what will be a one-year experiment, the new rule will allow collisions if the catcher has the ball and is impeding the runner’s direct path to the plate or is in the basepath to field a throw.
Rule 7.13 states, “a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate).” A runner will be declared out if they are deemed to have violated the rule even if the fielder drops the ball. Both MLB and the Players Association agreed to a pair of comments the umpires can use to interpret the rule.
The first says, “the failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation.” However, players who slide properly will not be found in violation.
The second comment states, “unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score.” Should the catcher be found in violation, the runner will be ruled safe.
Umpire crew chiefs will be allowed to use MLB’s expanded replay system to determine if any player is in violation of the new rule.
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