Collisions at Home Plate


By rule, the baserunner is not allowed to deviate from his direct path to initiate contact with the catcher (or any player covering the plate). Runners are considered to be in violation of this rule if they collide with the catcher in cases where a slide could have been used to avoid the collision. If the umpire determines that the runner violated this rule, the runner shall be ruled out and the ball is dead. The other runners must return to the last base they had touched at the time of the collision.

The catcher is not permitted to block the runner's path to the plate unless he is in possession of the ball. The runner can be ruled safe if the umpire determines the catcher violated this rule.

However, blocking the path of the runner in a legitimate attempt to receive a throw is not considered a violation. Also, even if the catcher is blocking the plate without possessing the ball and not making a legitimate attempt to receive a throw, a violation shall not be called if:

  • The catcher is not hindering or impeding the progress of the runner.
  • The umpire thinks that the runner would have been called out notwithstanding the catcher having blocked the plate.

When receiving a throw, catchers will often provide a sliding lane into home plate for the runner to lower the possibility that they will be called for violating the rule. Likewise, runners can lower their chances of being called for a violation by sliding in the given lane.

History of the rule

In an attempt to place greater emphasis on player safety, the rule was adopted for the 2014 season. The change was made partially in response to a May 2011 collision at home plate that saw star catcher Buster Posey suffer a season-ending ankle injury.