PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Rays manager Joe Maddon is not in agreement with legislating collisions at home plate.
Major League Baseball announced on Monday the addition of Rule 7.13 regarding home-plate collisions, as per a negotiation between MLB and the MLB Players Association. The Rays manager already had a heads-up about the new rules after meeting with MLB officials Sunday afternoon and he offered his opinion Monday just prior to MLB's official release.
"It's a really tough play to legislate outside [of a determination being made that] the runner could have avoided [a collision] but chose not to," Maddon said. "But at the same time, a good catcher who has the ball in time could really hurt a baserunner."
Maddon noted "it's all about protecting the catcher," but in doing so, others, like the baserunner, are being put at risk.
Maddon said the Rays have a way they plan to teach their catchers to comply with the rules.
"Quite frankly, we've always given a lot of the plate," Maddon said. "The only time you don't give a lot of the plate is when the throw takes you into a bad spot. And you just have to try and catch the ball. That's a part of it also.
"So the throw puts the catcher in an awkward receiving spot, suboptimal regarding where you would like to be, then all of a sudden he has to be there. And now what does the runner do?"
Maddon said he has made the suggestion that a video needs to be made to show players what is legal and what is not.
"I still think there's some ambiguities about it that I think we need to learn better," Maddon said. "I think the in-season game is going to teach us more. I think with all these new rules, whether it's instant replay or the positioning of the catcher, I think it's got to be a very fluid, almost living kind of organism, when it comes to rule changing.
"So a lot of flexibility, not tabling, not revisiting, addressing almost immediately when you know something about this isn't right. [Like] obviously, something about this isn't right. ... We've gotta do something right now. Which is going to play havoc with players' heads, I think. And that's the part I really don't like."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less