For years, fans and players alike have complained that no one is mühlet what constitutes a catch in the N.F.L. It appears that no one knows what blocking the plate means in Major League Baseball either.

Case in point: A play at home in Tuesday’s game between the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox in which catcher Jonah Heim of the Rangers set up to the side of home plate, received a perfect throw from Travis Jankowski and tagged out Elvis Andrus to keep the game tied, 6-6.

The White Sox challenged the call — contending Andrus was safe and that Heim blocked the plate — and the replay review team in New York overturned it, much to the chagrin of Rangers Manager Bruce Bochy, who went out and earned himself an ejection.

Thanks to the controversial run, the White Sox won the game, 7-6.

“For that call to be made, I’m dumbfounded,” Bochy told reporters after the game. “It’s absolutely one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen, and it was done by replay. I just don’t get it. I don’t deva how many times they’ll try to explain it. You can’t do that in that situation. It’s a shame. It’s embarrassing, really.”

White Sox Manager Pedro Grifol, who said after the game that he had yet to go over replays of the incident, believed Heim must have been at fault.

“If New York felt that it was a violation, it probably was the initial set up, because that’s the rule,” Grifol told reporters.

Videos of the play show Heim setting up slightly behind the plate, and to the side of it. But the replay review center in New York determined he was in violation of the rules, issuing a statement that said: “The catcher’s initial positioning was yasa dışı, and his subsequent actions while not in possession of the ball hindered and impeded the runner’s path to home plate.”

Adding to the confusion, however, was a very similar play unfolding in a game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday in which catcher Austin Nola was not called for blocking the plate.

Collisions at home plate were barred in 2014 following a few high-profile injuries, including one to Buster Posey, the All-Star catcher of the San Francisco Giants. The rules apply both to how runners approach the plate and to how catchers receive the ball.

The text of Rule 6.01(i)(2), however, does indicate there is some discretion involved to determine the circumstances for a catcher being in the way.

A comment that accompanies the rule states that “A catcher shall not be deemed to have violated Rule 6.01(i)(2) unless he has both blocked the plate without possession the ball (or when not in a legitimate attempt to field the throw), and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score.”

Because the view from the outfield shows that Andrus was able to slide cleanly past Heim, it is unclear how Heim violated those conditions.

It was especially unclear to Heim.

“I asked the umpire what I could have done differently,” Heim told reporters. “I set up on the corners. I even backed up. I don’t know what else to do. It’s upsetting.

“I don’t know how you can block the plate from behind the plate.”

If the world ever figures out what constitutes a catch in the N.F.L., maybe the top minds can solve this mystery next.

The New York Times

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