July 13, 2022

Catcher Blocking of the Plate Controversy in 2022

Catcher Blocking of the Plate Controversy in 2022

Plate umpire Edwin Moscoso had a busy tenth inning when the Rays and Reds played at Great American Ball Park on July 8th.

In the top of tenth, the Rays had Francisco Mejía on third and Josh Lowe on first and no outs with the score tied 1-1 when Yandy Diaz hit a ground ball to Kyle Farmer. The Reds’ shortstop charged the ball and fired home to catcher Michael Papierski and Mejía was called out by Moscoso.

Rays’ manager Kevin Cash challenged an illegal blocking of the plate, but the Replay Official confirmed the call on the field. The Rays never scored that inning and lost 2-1 when the Reds plated one run in the bottom of the inning.

Ruleball Comments

  1. In my opinion, the catcher illegally blocked the plate by extending his left foot. This would be consistent with many other such plays that were ruled as illegally blocking the plate. But that was not the opinion of the Replay Official and the plate umpire.
  2. According to a section of 6.01 (i) (2), it is not a violation, “If the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw from a pitcher or drawn-in infielder.” Is it possible that Moscoso and the Replay official looked at Farmer as a “drawn-in” infielder because he was charging the ball?
  3. I do not believe that MLB has ever defined what constitutes a “drawn-in” infielder as it pertains to 6.01 (i) (2). I would assume it’s an infielder on the grass or nearly on the grass playing in front of the runner/s.
  4. The idea of that section of the rule is that a play made by the pitcher, or a drawn-in infielder might affect the catcher from properly positioning himself because he would not have enough time.
  5. In this play, the shortstop was in double play position when the pitch was delivered. He came in on the batted ball, but in my opinion was not “drawn-in” at the start of play and the catcher had sufficient time to position himself.  I would call it an illegal block of the plate.

 

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  D’backs, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Bally Sports, ESPN, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  

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