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Thread: Your thoughts On Blocking Home Plate & Collisions....

  1. #1

    Your thoughts On Blocking Home Plate & Collisions....

    Bill James' thoughts on the official rule, the rule as enforced (or not) in actual practice, and how things should be.

    Some recent examples (not up the line, but catcher is on top or in front of home plate):
    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=15201655

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?co...67437&c_id=mlb

    Most Famous Example of All:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Fj2B9z4Dbw

    Debate on this subject...

    What are your thoughts on the topic?

    What should the rule be and how should it be enforced?

    How has it changed since you've been watching baseball, and has the change been for the better, or worse? What have people read about how things were 50-100 years ago in practice?

    Should collisions be part of baseball? What are some of the worst you remember, and who was to blame?

    Discuss....

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Nothing wrong with a clean, hard hit if each player is game. I think the hit on Posey was dirty and should have resulted in a suspension. Leaving your feet and launching at the head shouldn't be tolerated.

    If I was running a club, I don't think I'd have a problem with my players going for nothing but the plate to avoid injury.

  4. #4
    If the catcher doesn't want to get hit he should get out of the way. If the runner doesn't want to collide with him, then don't. But whoever is avoiding contact better be a stud. If an average to below average player is avoiding contact then I'd find someone else who will score the run or block the plate.
    Last edited by bluesky5; 05-06-2012 at 01:30 PM. Reason: grammar

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    If the catcher doesn't want to get hit he should get out of the way. If the runner doesn't want to collide with him, then don't. But whoever is avoiding contact better be a stud. If an average to below average player doesn't is avoiding contact then I'd find someone else who will score the run or block the plate.
    Frank Thomas rarely if ever slid into a base, prefering to get thrown out while staying on his feet.
    "Tactics were resorted to, unworthy of fair, manly players" - Brooklyn Eagle, June 12,1890

  6. #6
    I think that if a runner is not going straight to the base it is interference, but of course its not called. Also the fielder can not be in the baseline with the runner arriving without control of the ball.

    If the runner is going straight to home he can run into whatever is in his path, but he should not be able to use his hands to try to dislodge the ball. If the catcher has the ball he can stand his ground in the baseline.

    I remember watching a nationally televised game where Fisk tagged out two guys at the plate on the same play. Anyone know where I can find a clip of that? I think it was '84 or '85. I watched every game I could those yearsr for any team.
    Last edited by brett; 05-06-2012 at 01:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    The Scioscia collision I remember was one I saw in person at Olympic Stadium in Montreal (I believe it was 1985). Skinny Expos pitcher Joe Hesketh decided for some reason to plow into Scioscia and broke his leg for his trouble. Scioscia said that if Hesketh had slid, he'd have been safe.

    Mike Epstein, a former college football fullback, broke and dislocated Clay Dalrymple's ankle in 1970...but Dalrymple held the ball and made the out.

    In a role reversal, former defensive back John Stearns stood his ground against enormous Dave Parker as "The Cobra" barreled in after tagging up on a possible sacrifice fly. Parker wound up with a broken cheekbone as the game ended on that play. I think that one was 1979.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    Frank Thomas rarely if ever slid into a base, prefering to get thrown out while staying on his feet.
    That's insane and unacceptable. Thomas was a stud tho, at the plate.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by bluesky5 View Post
    That's insane and unacceptable. Thomas was a stud tho, at the plate.
    So you'd be willing to allow some players to avoid contact because they're great hitters, but others have to put their body on the line? Great message that sends.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe33 View Post
    So you'd be willing to allow some players to avoid contact because they're great hitters, but others have to put their body on the line? Great message that sends.
    Just like you don't want your star QB putting his head down and trying to take on defensive players for an extra yard, you don't want a stud hitter to end up out for 3 months because of one play at a base.

  11. #11
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    I played catcher growing up. I was better than the average bear.

    It seems to me the catcher should not be in the baseline waiting for the runner unless he has the ball.

    I would write more, but that about sums up my opinion based on past experience on both ends of plays at the plate.
    Your Second Base Coach
    That number "WAR" does NOT measure wins above replacement. I am not sure what it measures, but it sure isn't the value between a player and his back-up. The final number certainly does not measure what the name suggests.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe33 View Post
    So you'd be willing to allow some players to avoid contact because they're great hitters, but others have to put their body on the line? Great message that sends.
    Not going to argue your position. It's harder to do the right thing for the team than to save yourself for future glory. I am a big proponent of going hard, doing what it takes to win every game. Every game counts, from opening day to the last game of the world series. But realistically I would like to have my top guys around for when it counts. If you don't take the hit you better be THE man.

  13. #13
    Remember this play when Norm Charlton of the Reds went looking for Scioscia during the 1990 season.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLTmd4Ni974

  14. #14
    That article (James, right?) states that the catcher HAS to be in possession of the ball. But the NOTE on rule 7.06(b) also states that the catcher can be fielding the ball as well. I don't think you have to yet be in possession of the ball if you're fielding the ball. You have to be making some sort of fielding "baseball move" in an attempt to get the ball, but "possession" is not necessarily quite there.

    If the catcher is "about" to catch the ball, that is considered "fielding" the ball, yes?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by dgarza View Post
    That article (James, right?) states that the catcher HAS to be in possession of the ball. But the NOTE on rule 7.06(b) also states that the catcher can be fielding the ball as well. I don't think you have to yet be in possession of the ball if you're fielding the ball. You have to be making some sort of fielding "baseball move" in an attempt to get the ball, but "possession" is not necessarily quite there.

    If the catcher is "about" to catch the ball, that is considered "fielding" the ball, yes?


    I don't agree with the last part. Fielding is picking up a batted ball and the catcher can be in the baseline, as can the runner (assumed because only first base has an alternate mandatory basepath). I am not sure if a runner CAN go around a catcher picking up a batted ball in the basepath.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    I don't agree with the last part. Fielding is picking up a batted ball and the catcher can be in the baseline, as can the runner (assumed because only first base has an alternate mandatory basepath). I am not sure if a runner CAN go around a catcher picking up a batted ball in the basepath.
    Fielding is more than picking up a batted ball. It also can involve a thrown ball.

    "Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in
    flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he
    may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to
    whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and
    missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground
    ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner,
    he very likely has obstructed the runner."

    I have underlined some important words that we need to consider.

    Now, James is trying to say that the catcher simply can't block the plate if he is not is possession of the ball. But here we see that in many cases it is actually up to the judgement of the umpire if the catcher (or any fielder) is "in the act of fielding a ball" or if the catcher (or any fielder) is "obstructing".

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by brett View Post
    I am not sure if a runner CAN go around a catcher picking up a batted ball in the basepath.
    It seems the answer is YES.

    "7.08 Any runner is out when—
    (a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged
    unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball."

  18. #18
    The confusion, if any, seems to stem from the act of a catcher positioning himself reasonably to "field a thrown ball" and the specific interference stipulation about a fielder "fielding a batted ball."

    Case in point: the Peter Rose collision with Ray Fosse. Clearly, Fosse was positioning himself to accept a throw that was a bit off line, up toward third base a few feet from the plate. This placed Fosse squarely in Rose's three foot running path while he [Fosse] was NOT in possession of the baseball. A catcher can ONLY block the plate when he in in possession of the ball and prepared to make a tag.

    Fosse was in an extremely vulnerable position, poised upright to receive a throw and forced, by the nature of the throw, to be in Rose's rightful running path. Watching re-runs of the play one can argue [with 100% conviction] that Rose did have the right of way.

    However, careful consideration of the placement [and height] of the throw, Fosse's position relative to home plate, and the collision itself [from a second or two before to several seconds after] tells the story of whether it was hustle or a menacing cheap shot. [Especially note Rose's conduct the instants AFTER the collision and the run being scored.

  19. #19
    Rose basically half falling over like he wants to do his patented dive-head-first-slide but hits Fosse out of self preservation. Everyone crowds around Fosse, including Pete, to see if he is alright. That's what I always thought.

  20. #20
    What do we all make of this?

    Here is Rule 7.06. I am concerned about RULE 7.06(b):NOTE -

    Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls “Time,” with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.
    (b) If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.
    Rule 7.06(b) Comment: Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.
    NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.


    The first part says the catcher MUST HAVE the ball in possession. So there seems to be just 1 legal reason a catcher can be in the basepath.

    But the second sentence actually gives 2 reasons a catcher can be in the basepath. There's an "or" here.
    A catcher can be fielding a ball (being "in the act of fielding a ball") OR have the ball in hand ("possession").

  21. #21
    When the catcher is knelt down in the vicinity of the plate and the ball is coming in he is fielding the ball. The play at the plate is important so the catcher knelt down in the proper fashion to block the ball - like blocking a pitched ball in the dirt - making sure it didn't get by.

    If the catcher has to move into the line to catch the throw and runs into the offensive player - and impedes his progress - it isn't "obstruction" because the catcher has the right of way to the ball.

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