To Block the Plate, or Not Block the Plate, That’s the Question

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Tyler Flowers, Chicago White Sox

MLB adopted an experimental rule, Rule 7.13 On Home Plate Collisions, which stipulates a catcher must provide a clear path to the runner. This experiment has gone terribly wrong. 

This has caused no end to the confusion for the majority of Major League Baseball, especially the White Sox. The White Sox have been victim to this strange rule at least a handful of times now, and it is only getting worse.

Last week, Gregor Blanco of the San Francisco Giants slid to the back side of the plate to avoid catcher Tyler Flowers, who tagged him. But Flowers was straddling the plate before the ball arrived — a no-no under the new rule — and the call was overturned by the MLB replay operations center in New York, tying the game.

Chicago manager Robin Ventura was irate and earned an immediate ejection for coming out of the dugout to argue. Ventura’s protest turned old-school when he kicked dirt over the plate.

“We made the play and the guy was out,” said Ventura. “They don’t take into consideration the guy was out by a long shot, so I obviously don’t agree with it.”

The Giants went on to score seven runs in the frame.

Sunday in the Sox vs. Blue Jays game there was a play at the plate and Tyler Flowers was called in violation of this rule, yet again.

Last night, against the Yankees, Conor Gillaspie was on his way home when the Yankee catcher, Francisco Cervelli, appeared to be blocking the plate, but the White Sox did not get this call overturned.

This is happening throughout baseball, and not just to the White Sox. Where will it end? Are we going to see bubble suits for all the players next?

Frankly, the majority of managers and professionals think that this rule is madness. What happened to the days of old when home plate collisions were just part of the game? Seeing the collisions are a part of baseball history, understandable MLB is trying to improve the safety aspect, but at what cost? MLB is essentially changing the way the game is played because neither the runner nor the catcher has any idea on what to do.

This is one rule I would not mind going away and it can not happen soon enough.