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Blocking the plate.


bpilktree

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The thing that irritated me the most was how quick the review was. It was almost like they were reviewing whether or not the catcher tagged him or not. That's how quick it was. I think everyone can agree the play was not cut and dry.
There are several problems here. First no one seems to know how to interpret the rule. Secondly you have fellow umpires reviewing each other. If there is any chance that they can say the replay is inconclusive they will in order not to show up their brethren. They need to have non umps doing the reviewing. And finally they have one umpire in NY following several games. They need one reviewer per game.
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One of the problems is, is that home plate is a flat base. If a catcher's glove is not flat on the ground, in front of the plate, then the runner will be safe 100% of the time when he slides and both players are at the plate. Hence the catcher takes a position in front of home and blocks the plate. Players at lower levels of play are called out at the plate most of the time even though the catcher tags him at the plate. Equally silly is the base runner that avoids the tag, runs around the cut out and a stupid catcher leaves the plate and tries to catch him. That base runner should be called out. The safest rule is that all plays at the plate will be force outs. Safe, but a totally crappy rule. The only rule that works for me is a must slide, catchers must straddle. Davis would have been save.

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Any rule that is ambiguous or open to interpretation is a bad rule, both in sports and law. IMO opinion if Davis or any palyer had to change his path to the plate before the ball reaches the catcher, then he is safe. It appears he did. Bang, bang. I don't know why a catcher can't straddle the plate, like infielders do on tag plays and players must slide as all do at 2nd and 3rd bases. It is a sport, should it be safe? Absolutely, as much as possible. There are going to be injuries. The employee knows the risk and is paid accordingly (at least at the ML level)

While I tend to agree with your ideal, it should be noted that that his how a lot of things are. Ch?ck swings, balls and strikes, infield flies, balks, batter interference, are all interpretation rules. It's just the law of the land. I think the hope is that there is consistent interpretation. I think by and large, there is. Maybe there was one or two botches of the rule....maybe. But I can't tell you how often I'm watching managers, and the idiots on mlb network, whom I love, sit there and pull there hair out , saying two plays are exactly the same when I see a clear difference.

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The thing that irritated me the most was how quick the review was. It was almost like they were reviewing whether or not the catcher tagged him or not. That's how quick it was. I think everyone can agree the play was not cut and dry.

Interesting observation.

According to Thorne, the crew chief was the one to call for the replay - meaning Buck did not officially make a challenge. Maybe that leaves the door open, in this particular case, for that ump to misinterpret what to communicate to NY. Dunno.

I did find it odd, watching the umps inform the cubs dugout what they were about to do and the cubs coach did not visually respond with any concern or confused look. He looked like he knew the tag was applied and that this was what the umps were about to look at more closely.

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Since Buck didn't request the review, maybe the crew chief who was also the one who made the initial call, simply asked if the tag had been made with no reference to the blocking the plate issue. That's another problem. They need to explain their ruling after it's made as he NFL does.

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I thought the rule was if you ask for a look on those type calls, the umps must oblige. Then, while looking at the block call, if they see a missed tag, they can overturn on that as well. But, I could be botching that.

They don't have to grant the request (they generally will of course) and I think a specific review request has to be made.

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The manager (Buck in this case) has to make a decision on what to review. He can choose to review the tag or blocking the plate, but not both. i can almost guarantee you that he did not choose to review the tag.

I agree Buck would have never ever asked to review the tag. I was just remarking that based on how quick the review was it didn't seem possible to thoroughly review.

It was like if you take your car to the mechanic and he says you need $3,000 worth of work just by looking at it sit in the parking lot. I'm not saying it's not true but good grief did you really look at the thing?

Also agree with the poster that the thing I dislike most with the review system is contrary to the NFL, there's zero explanation. Umpires seem to have this holier than thou attitude and don't feel like they owe anyone an explanation.

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There are several problems here. First no one seems to know how to interpret the rule. Secondly you have fellow umpires reviewing each other. If there is any chance that they can say the replay is inconclusive they will in order not to show up their brethren. They need to have non umps doing the reviewing. And finally they have one umpire in NY following several games. They need one reviewer per game.

I can think of several times we've had reviews that weren't 100% conclusive and they were overturned - Bucks ejection in particular. Plus the ambiguity of the rule was what made the quick decision so boggling. There have been calls a lot clearer than that yesterday that took a heckuva lot longer.

Yesterday's game was the only one going on at the time.

I'm not sure how you can have non-umps reviewing. Do you mean like retired umpires or umpires hired by the league specifically to run replay? Just not umpires rotating in from field duty?

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First off, I think the rule is an abomination.

Nah, It's more of a holocaust. Maybe an evil monstrosity.

Any rule that is ambiguous or open to interpretation is a bad rule, both in sports and law.

If that's the case, most rules in sports and laws in life, or at least a significant percentage are bad.

Just start thumbing through the baseball rules... section six, The Batter. 6.02 (a) The batter shall take his position in the batter's box promptly when it's his time at bat. What does promptly mean? Two seconds? Three minutes? Very ambiguous.

In section 8 they talk about "any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter..." What is natural? What is an unnatural movement? Why should the umpire be forced to interpret this?

The definition of a doubleheader says it's "two games played in immediate succession." But we regularly have doubleheaders where the games are many hours apart.

Rule 3.10 (a) says the league may overrule (i.e. use discretion or interpretation) the home manager's responsibility to judge whether a game should be started due to unfit playing field conditions.

I'm sure there are hundreds of such examples in the official rules.

If you don't have laws and rules open to interpretation, with wiggle room built it, then you inevitably end up with crazy outcomes. You get people stealing a pack of gum ending up in jail for 23 years. You get rulebooks that are 8432 pages long that no ump could have full knowledge of to account for every conceivable scenario. When you don't allow for interpretation you get George Brett called out on a home run because of a little too much non-performance-enhancing pine tar, and you get Fred Merkle called out when someone with some ball touched second base long after the crowd had stormed the field.

In any case, if you don't like the rule fix it. We're not going back to the days of Bo obliterating Rick Dempsey, not with the knowledge we now have of head injuries and the threat of $billion lawsuits against organizations who think it's cool and sells highlight videos when their players get blown up.

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If that's the case, most rules in sports and laws in life, or at least a significant percentage are bad.

Just start thumbing through the baseball rules... section six, The Batter. 6.02 (a) The batter shall take his position in the batter's box promptly when it's his time at bat. What does promptly mean? Two seconds? Three minutes? Very ambiguous.

[video=youtube;8tGm_JajqLo]

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and you get Fred Merkle called out when someone with some ball touched second base long after the crowd had stormed the field.

Actually, that was the right call, and it was Merkel's fault. In fact, that occurrence actually helped clarify an important (and basic) rule that is enforced to this day.

Merkel was on first base with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning in a tie game, while his teammate was on 3rd base, as the potential winning run. Merkel never bothered touched second base with 2 outs on what was a force play. He simply assumed that because the ball was hit into the outfield for an apparent single, he need not touch 2nd base, and headed back to the dugout to celebrate the win with his teammates. By not touching base on a force play with two outs, Merkel did what was the equivalent of not touching home plate with the winning run. Johnny Evers noticed this ...... as did one of Merkel's teammates, who intercepted Art Hofman's throw to him, and heaved the ball into the stands. Evers asked the umpire for another ball, got it, and touched 2nd base.

Even more significantly, by not touching 2nd base on a force play with 2 outs, Merkel should have been immediately called out anyway for going out of the baseline when he headed toward the dugout ...... even before Evers retrieved the ball from the umpire, and touched 2nd base.

If the fans had stormed the field and prevented Merkel from touching 2nd base, that would have been a different story ...... but that's not what happened.

Again, that entire incident helped clarify a very basic rule, and (as far as I know), no major league player has made the same mistake that Merkel made to this day. On Robin Ventura's "grand slam single", he touched first base before being intercepted by his teammates between 1st and 2nd base, while all 3 of the other baserunners on the play touched their respective next bases (home plate, 3rd base, and 2nd base), which is why the winning run (the only one that mattered) counted, but not the other 3.

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