Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blocking The Plate - Do You Know What This Means?

Tony Gwynn Jr. meets Jeff Mathis at the dish, for a little more than dinner

  I thought I did, but after watching this play unfold in the Sunday afternoon Marlins, Phillies game I was left perplexed by the new rule blocking the plate rule implemented by MLB.  When the rule was first announced and explained to me via MLB Network, I have to admit I didn't know what the foul ball they were talking about. From the get go it seemed like a whole lot of gray area added to a play that was clean cut before the rule came about.  You either blocked the plate and got ran over, or you blocked the plate and got ran over.  If you are unfamiliar with the new rule, here it is, in that same article, veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski was outright about his displeasure with the new rule.

  Yesterday, in real time it looked pretty clear that Jeff Mathis, the catcher for the Miami Marlins, was blocking Tony Gwynn Jr. from having a clear path to reach home plate.  Yet that is not the way the umpires 'interpreted' it on the field and thus Gwynn was called out originally and a second look by the umpires.  So what is this rule accomplishing if a catcher can still block the plate and the umpires can't see the obvious.  That's what we have replay for now right? RIGHT? Nope, Phillies manage Ryne Sandberg wanted to challenge the call but it was denied by the league office in New York.  While the umpires did take a second look at the play due to their own decision to do so, they upheld their blatantly incorrect call.  What we have here is a failure to communicate by the MLB...shocking.

  Since the finish of the game, MLB has come out and said the umpires got it wrong.  While it is nice to know that the umps were wrong, especially when their mistakes are pointed out publicly by the MLB, this call needs to be made correctly during the game.  MLB and the umpiring crew dodged a bullet since the Phillies were still able to pull out the victory.  Had things gone the other way, they would have woken up to an unpleasant media frenzy Monday morning that could have carried on through out the week. 


Cole Miller, from Haddonfield, NJ, is currently a sophomore Sport Management major at Drexel. Over the summer, Cole volunteered for the 43rd SABR convention, a large convention with many speakers and other events for baseball fans who enjoy the new age statistics being brought to baseball such as WAR (wins above replacement ).   Cole is a huge fan of baseball, specifically the Phillies.

You can connect on Cole on LinkedIn here.

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