Its been a source of many big hits over the years in Major League Baseball but now a ruling has finally been put into place in order to avoid unnecessary collisions at home plate.
The new rule states that: "a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher."
As with any new rules in sports however it will always be open to interpretation and that has also been covered with the implementation and agreement of two comments which umpires will use to interpret the rule.
Comment one states that: "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."
Despite seeming constricting for players, it does go on to state that players who slide appropriately are not in violation of the rule.
The second comment goes on to state that: "unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score."
There is no doubt that at some points during the upcoming season, there will be collisions that challenge these rules meaning that the umpire crew chief will have to utilize the new video-review system to determine if the rule has been violated or not.
There has been an increasingly large debate over home plate collisions since Buster Posey's famous clash with Scott Cousins in 2011 and hopefully this new rule will help to bring some balance to one of the most important areas of the baseball field.
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