Was It A Catch… Or Not?

On April 23, 2014, in Sporting News, by admin

Major League BaseballEveryone expected a few problems with the new replay review system installed this year by Major League Baseball, some technical bugs to be worked out for sure. However, as it turns out, the technical part seems to be working just fine. What’s in need of adjustment are the rules and regulations themselves that are being reviewed.

Funny how applying an advanced technology causes us to go back and take a closer look at the rules themselves. Before the review technology was in place it was strictly a judgment call by the umpire. Now the entire world can review the play in exquisite slow motion so that every detail and time sequence becomes obvious.

So, Bud Selig and the MLB Commissioner’s office are looking into the possibility of tweaking the existing rules to make them more compatible with modern technology and easier to understand, we hope. The decision was moved along by concerns over the new ruling expressed by the NBA Player’s Union.

The rules for what constitutes a legal catch in a major league baseball game have not changed, very much. They are what they always were, except for a little addendum that was added at the beginning of the 2014 MLB season.

Here’s what it says, in part, ‘In determining whether a fielder drops the ball ‘while in the act of making a throw following the catch’ in accordance with Rule 2.00, the umpires will determine whether the fielder obtained possession of a ball in flight but dropped the ball while in the act of making a throw during the momentum of the catch’. 

Oh, boy, does that ever open up a whole new can of worms. Many are wondering if that addendum was even necessary in the first place, or does it simply open the door for another judgment call which the replay review was designed to cut down on or… at least clarify in the first place. 

The long standing MLB rule states that; ‘A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it.’  The rule goes on, but that’s the gist of it.

The new addendum in question goes on to qualify what is not a catch; ‘It shall not be adjudged to be a catch if, while in the act of making a throw during the momentum of the catch, the fielder loses possession of the ball in the transfer before he secures the ball with his throwing hand’.

Obviously this is still a work in progress.


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