Wasn't replay supposed to clear up all of these controversies in MLB? Wednesday night saw another contentious ruling after a video replay.
With the bases loaded, Alfredo Simon grounded the ball back to the mound. Stolmy Pimentel threw the ball back home to force Devin Mesoraco out at the plate. The umpires, however, decided to review the play and ultimately decided that Pirates catcher Russell Martin blocked the plate and ruled Mesoraco safe.
Rule 7.13 was cited as the reason for overturning the initial call, per FoxSportsOhio.com's Kevin Goheen:
Call is that Russell Martin violated Rule 7.13 and illegally blocked plate. #Reds— Kevin Goheen (@FSOhio_KGoheen) June 19, 2014
You can view the play below.
Since it was a force out, many fans took exception to the call, considering Martin had few other choices in order to ensure Mesoraco would be out. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was ejected arguing the overturn.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review did have a solution—though somewhat impractical—that would solve the problem:
Maybe just outlaw throws to the plate. Let everyone skip home merrily and score. Problem solved.— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) June 19, 2014
ESPN.com's David Schoenfield thinks that the league should go back to the drawing board when it comes to the rule regarding catchers blocking the plate:
MLB needs to amend the whole blocking home plate rule. Let's call it the Potter Stewart corollary: "I know it when I see it."— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) June 19, 2014
In other words, Russell Martin pretty clearly didn't didn't anything wrong there. Terrible overturn.— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) June 19, 2014
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick felt that the rule was bound to create a problem sooner or later:
This blocking the plate rule has been a disaster waiting to happen since they drew it up.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) June 19, 2014
Schoenfield and Crasnick make compelling cases for MLB to at least look at Rule 7.13. Most fans would agree that a catcher has the right to at least keep his foot on the plate for a force out.
You can understand the need for safety, but that's coming at the expense of what is pretty much common sense.
Whatever the solution, it will have come too late for the Pirates.