Apr 5, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Home plate umpire John Hirschbeck (17) signals safe and a called over turned by replay as he walks back on to the field next to second base umpire James Hoye (92) during the ninth inning between the New York Mets and the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. The New York Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Likely To Adjust Transfer Rule

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is likely looking to change the interpretation of the transfer rule (secured catch) after teams and the players union have expressed their concerns over the new rule.

But is it a new rule? For many fans, this seems like a new rule that was created for the sake of creating a rule. While in fact, the rule has always been there. But with expanded instant replay available starting this season, this was a rule MLB sought to enforce more heavily. Here is the snippet from the official rule book:

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; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional.
Rule 2.00 (Catch) Comment: A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground. Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball. A fielder may reach over a fence, railing, rope or other line of demarcation to make a catch. He may jump on top of a railing, or canvas that may be in foul ground. No interference should be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk.
If a fielder, attempting a catch at the edge of the dugout, is “held up” and kept from an apparent fall by a player or players of either team and the catch is made, it shall be allowed.

So in other words, almost ALL of the instances we’ve seen this year of a catch no longer being called a catch is STILL a catch even by the rule book. Last night is a prime example. Kyle Seager bobbled the ball after catching the throw from Yoervis Medina.

According to the rule stated above “A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground.” So what was the issue there?

Because of this little addendum added prior to the start of this season:

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. For example, if the shortstop, in an effort to turn a double play, throws to the second baseman, who drops the ball while in the act of drawing back his arm to make a throw to first base, the second baseman shall be adjudged to have had secure control of the ball and thus the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught by the second baseman. However, 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 (e.g., flip from the glove) before he secures the ball with his throwing hand.

We as Mariners fans have seen this happen to us more than any team so far this season. I’m not

sure if that is true but we have seen it happen four times in 16 games. I’m not surprised to see the

union take a stand to try to change this rule. Like with the home plate collision rule change, baseball said they would revise and adjust these rules as needed.

Well, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, that day may be coming.

……..a less strict interpretation of the transfer rule, in which umpires would rule on catches the way they did in the past, using more of a common-sense approach rather than following the letter of the law.

Officials from the union met with MLB executives earlier this week to voice their displeasure over what constitutes a catch now that baseball has expanded instant replay, sources said.

Both sides agreed that certain plays are being called incorrectly, and MLB officials will seek to clarify what constitutes a catch in a conference call with members of the umpires union early next week, sources said.

God I hope so. Let’s get this change removed entirely. It’s slowing the game, it’s changing the outcome of games, it’s flat out bad for baseball. And unfortunately as we’ve seen, it’s been especially bad for the Mariners.

Tags: MLB Seattle Mariners

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