Phillies vindicated on incorrect review call
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies were on the wrong side of a review regarding Major League Baseball's new rule on home-plate collisions during Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Marlins, and the league informed manager Ryne Sandberg after the game that the call should have gone the other way.
In the sixth inning, the Marlins threw out Tony Gwynn Jr. at the plate, but Sandberg asked the umpires to review the play because he felt that catcher Jeff Mathis blocked the plate with his leg before he had the ball. The umpires ruled that no violation was observed, though replays showed Mathis had his leg in front of the plate before he had the ball in his glove.
Joe Torre, executive vice president of baseball operations, followed up with Sandberg after the game.
"What was suggested to me ... well after the game was that they viewed that the catcher never gave Gwynn a lane to home plate," Sandberg said on Monday. "So he took the plate away early when he was all the way to third base. All the way in, Gwynn had no lane to home plate. So they thought that was a problem."
The new rule, 7.13, section 2, reads as follows: "Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the Umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the Umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Notwithstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this Rule 7.13 if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in order to field a throw, and the Umpire determines that the catcher could not have fielded the ball without blocking the pathway of the runner and that contact with the runner was unavoidable (emphasis added)."
Fortunately for the Phillies, they still won Sunday's game. Sandberg hopes the play could be used going forward to help explain the new rules.
"I think the other side of it is, it's early in the process, and it's early in the system," he said. "Possibly it's a play that is reviewed and shown to learn from it, where in the rule it clearly says that the catchers have to give a lane to the baserunner, and it was taken away the whole time. I think they will learn from that one. It could have went our way. It should have."