MLB issues statement on controversial Reds-Marlins play

BY Connor Kiesel • August 1, 2014

Major League Baseball has followed up on a play at home plate that caused a stir in the eighth inning of Thursday night's game between the Reds and Marlins.

After a lengthy review, replay officials overturned the call on the field that the Reds' Zack Cosart was out and instead ruled that catcher Jeff Mathis was blocking the plate. Cosart's run scored tied the game at one and the Reds ultimately won 3-1.

MLB issued a statement on the controversial ruling Friday afternoon.

In full, Rule 7.13 reads as follows:

1. 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). In such circumstances, the Umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.

Rule 7.13 Comment: The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner's lowering of the shoulder, or the runner's pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of Rule 7.13. If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, he shall not be adjudged to have violated Rule 7.13. A slide shall be deemed appropriate, in the case of a feet first slide, if the runner's buttocks and legs should hit the ground before contact with the catcher. In the case of a head first slide, a runner shall be deemed to have slid appropriately if his body should hit the ground before contact with the catcher.

2. Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the 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. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the Umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without

Marlins manager Mike Redmond, a former big-league catcher, was infuriated with the ruling, which he called "an absolute joke."

Rule 7.13, which has been a source of anguish across the league this season, was amended in June, as umpires were instructed not to apply it on force plays at home plate. 

A collision on a force play involving Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco and Pirates catcher Russell Martin, in which Mesoraco was first called out, then ruled safe after review, helped prompt that change.

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