LADY AT THE BAT: MLB's Clarifying Statement On Rule 7.13 Not So For Yankees

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MLB's Clarifying Statement On Rule 7.13 Not So For Yankees

Rule 7.13, the “Home Plate Collisions” rule, is a confusing rule. It is silly, prone to misinterpretation and, while everyone appreciates the sentiment, basically no one likes the implementation. The clamoring for change has been heard from all corners since Spring Training. On Tuesday MLB issued a clarifying statement advocating the use of common sense on all sides when interpreting the rule.

It’s all well and good to clarify the rule but don’t do it in September. If a team lost a game due to a silly rigid interpretation in April then they should lose that same game the same way in September.

Certainly there’s some bitterness on my part, given that this play at the plate in Tuesday night’s game went against the Yankees, cutting down the tying run and ending the Yankees best scoring chance of the night.  Nevertheless, my objectivity is just fine here. Baseball players are creatures of habit. They’ve been playing under this rule for almost seven months. Now, in the middle of playoff races, they are expected to change their thought process? That’s just silly.

Joe Girardi acknowledged as much in his post-game press conference, seen on the YES Network,3 when he said that runners are so used to sliding now that, regardless of a last minute rule change, it’s what they are going to do. Asked if he thought Stephen Drew would have been safe on Sunday, i.e. before the rule change, Joe Girardi said yes.

He also said, now “you almost have to encourage your guy to run him over” and later said, “If I’m the base runner running him over, that’s the bottom line.” This is not at all what MLB wants but, if they aren’t careful, it’s what they’re going to get. Especially in the heat of post-season play. Tinker with the rules in the off-season. That’s what it’s there for and, as painfully long as it is, they have plenty of time to do so.

As for the Yankees, that single play was hardly the only cause of the Yankees losing on Tuesday night. For that we can turn to a dismal outing by Hiroki Kuroda (4 ER in 3.1 IP), questionable base running (why was Stephen Drew even trying to score there with nobody out) and terrible luck (Derek Jeter hitting the ball on the screws but right into a double play).

Even Drew swinging at a 2-0 pitch when Ichiro Suzuki essentially had third base stolen was a questionable play. Yes, sure, a 2-0 fastball is a good pitch at which to swing but when you’re batting .161 on the season you take that pitch. Even if it’s a strike, Drew needs to take that pitch.

During the radio broadcast on WFAN, John Sterling said the Yankees need to go 17-4, essentially getting to 90 wins, to have any chance of making the playoffs. That was a tall enough order under any circumstance and now that number is 17-3. The Yankees are facing an uphill battle as it is. They didn’t need MLB to come in and pull the rug out from under them they way they did on Tuesday.

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