Major League Baseball has just announced that new rules for home plate collisions will be put in to effect in 2014. The major changes according to MLB.com are as follows:
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.
The other major change is:
Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of a 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.
This will definitely cut down on the home plate collisions in the game, but at what cost? Catchers know when to block the plate. If they don’t have a play, or don’t want to get hit, they move. Don’t penalize a catcher for trying to prevent a run from scoring though.
There will be some hiccups with the ruling early on, but once it’s implemented and we see how it works, it could be for the best. We will just have to wait and see.
The whole article from MLB.com can be viewed here.