Back during the Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball announced its intention to enact new rules regarding collisions at home plate, but the proposal still needed to be approved by the players and umpires. Monday, MLB announced that the rule has been officially passed.
The new rule does not outright ban all collisions at home plate. Instead, it “will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate.” So no Scott Cousins on Buster Posey crimes will be permitted, but garden variety collisions are still possible. Directly from the MLB press release:
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). If, in the judgment of the Umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the Umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).
Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.
Those seem like they should have been being enforced anyway, so the hope here is that even the most hardcore, old school fans realize this is a step in the right direction.
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