White Sox Boned By Catcher-Blocking-The-Plate Rule, Ventura Loses It

It feels like we haven't had a manager freak out and start kicking dirt all over home plate in ages. We can at least thank the unnavigable abyss of Rule 7.13 for that.


You know how this is going to go: the White Sox easily threw out Gregor Blanco at home in the seventh inning against the Giants on a dribbler to first base. Jose Abreu immediately came home with the throw and preserved a 1-0 Sox lead. After a laborious review, Blanco was deemed safe and the Giants were awarded a run. And wouldn't you know it, the Giants went on to score six more runs in the seventh and won 7-1.

From the beginning of the play, it took almost six minutes to resolve. And if you think it took a little extra time to parse out the positioning of the runners left on base, they had to go back to review and correct that, too. So they weren't even talking about that for five minutes, it almost felt like they were all sitting around on conference call trying to figure out just how to apply this damned rule.

By the letter of the rule, it was properly applied. Tyler Flowers was clearly blocking the plate before he had the ball and Blanco had to slide around him, but it's also similar to the play in Miami two weeks ago, because the runner clearly was going to be out.

Illustration for article titled White Sox Boned By Catcher-Blocking-The-Plate Rule, Ventura Loses It

And this is where catchers get screwed. If Flowers has to be out of the base path (unless the throw brings him into it) then he has to wait for the ball to come to him in a place further away from where he eventually needs to be. It adds a second step for the catcher, and presents a situation where he has to race the runner to the plate and tag him. The rule has obviously worked in terms of preventing collisions, one likely would have happened here, but not because of any awareness of blocking the plate, or acknowledging who has a right to be where in the base path. It's because everyone knows we're not supposed to have collisions at home anymore.


The end of collisions at home is a good thing, but mode of achieving that is proving time and again to be impossible to apply. For a seemingly perfect example of the behavior contemplated by the rule, there's no reason that review should have taken five minutes. And then also get something wrong about it.

But there is a bright spot. It pissed the shit out of Hawk Harrelson and when another similar play went down later in the inning, he seethed "Next thing you know they'll have catcher wearing skirts out there."