Posey Rule Tested With Rizzo-Hedges Collision

Rule 7.13: “A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher.”

This is the so called Buster Posey rule implemented after a home plate collision ended the season of the San Francisco Giants catcher a few years ago. The application of this rule is under debate throughout the baseball world today after Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo ran into Padres catcher Austin Hedges. The rule itself has been a source of debate since it’s implementation with some arguing that it dumbs down the game and others saying that it evens things up for the catcher who is very often blindsided on home plate collisions. Regardless of which side of the rule you’re on (for or against) this play needs to be seen keeping the exact words of the rule in mind.

For those who haven’t seen it here’s the play:

The question here is did Rizzo stay in a “direct line to the plate”? If he did, as the umpire saw it, then there is nothing wrong with the play. But based on the angle of this video it looks like Rizzo is actually running on the infield side of the plate. In fact the contact is initiated in front of the plate. If he were on a direct line with the plate he would have been slightly behind the catcher who would have had to turn around to attempt to tag him. One could argue that if Rizzo was running on the foul territory side of the baseline, which is where base runners usually run, he would be on more of a direct line and could have touched home plate without such a harsh level of contact with Hedges. Based on this Rizzo violated the rule. (He was called out at the plate anyway so I don’t know what the penalty for breaking this rule would be.)

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