Thursday, October 25, 2012

Home plate collisions not part of the WCL game

The West Coast League uses the NCAA's baseball rule book, so there are a number of differences compared to the professional game. Many of the changes are related to player safety and conduct, but perhaps none are as significant as rule 8-7 ("Collision Rule"). This rule is intended to encourage both base runners and defenders to avoid collisions and help reduce injuries. The rule states:
The runner may not attempt to dislodge the ball from the fielder. Contact above the waist shall be judged by the umpire as an attempt by the runner to dislodge the ball.
If the runner attempts to dislodge the ball or initiates an avoidable collision, the runner shall be declared out, even if the fielder loses possession of the ball. The ball is dead and all other base runners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the interference.
If the contact is flagrant or malicious before the runner touches the plate, the runner shall be declared out and also ejected from the contest.
You may remember the infamous home plate collision last May in which Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants suffered a horrific season-ending injury. At the time, there was a huge outcry for MLB to adopt a rule similar to the NCAA's collision rule. As you can see, Scott Cousins of the Marlins makes an obvious attempt to dislodge the ball and also makes violent contact with Posey above the waist. In the big leagues, the runner is simply called safe in this situation.

Now here is an example from the NCAA in which the base runner clearly is attempting to dislodge the ball, but runs into the catcher with much less force than Cousins used to bowl over Posey. The result? The NCAA base runner is called out AND is ejected from the game.

In both situations, the umpires made the correct call according to their respective rule books. The bottom line for HarbourCats fans is that we can expect a radically different call from the umpire should an "old school" collision at the plate happen at Royal Athletic Park next season.

  • You may remember that the end of our blog posts on the old Victoria Seals Baseball Blog periodically had a section for miscellaneous notes called "Seal Blubber Bits". We have decided to rename this section "HarbourCatNip". Yes, it's a bit of a "groaner", but at least it's in CamelCase.
  • Groundskeepers began working on the infield at Royal Athletic Park this week. As an added bonus, home plate is being moved ten feet closer to the grandstand. You can see a picture of the new layout on the team's Facebook page.
  • For anyone who might be considering billeting a HarbourCat for the summer, check out this cool story about Pablo Sandoval's old host family and their reaction to his three home runs in a World Series game last night.

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