Paul Mainieri wants to prevent plate blocking

LSU coach Paul Mainieri is frustrated with an ambiguous rule that allows catchers to prevent runners from reaching home plate.

OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri wants to change the rule that allows catchers to block runners from reaching the plate.

This comes up after Jared Foster wasn’t able to reach home Sunday against TCU catcher Evan Skoug. Click here for video of the play.

The rules in college baseball state that a catcher can block the plate once he has possession of the ball. He can also move into the runner’s line if he’s trying to make the catch.

This has happened now happened to LSU three times this season, and Mainieri thinks the rule puts runners at a disadvantage. He didn’t question the umpire’s call Sunday. He just thinks the rule isn’t clear enough.

“It’s something I think needs to be addressed on a national basis,” Mainieri said. “The interpretations of the rule have been so inconsistent. The rule is just so ambiguous and it’s interpreted differently by every umpire.”

This rule was created with safety in mind. It also prevented runners from barreling over catchers, which had led to numerous severe injuries. But Mainieri believes it’s tilted the scales too favorably to the catcher.

“The runner has no option to reach the plate,” Mainieri said. “You’re not allowed to run the catcher over, so what’s he supposed to do? Dig his spikes in the catcher to get through him?”

Mainieri wants college baseball to adopt a rule similar to the one in Major League Baseball. In the pros, catchers aren’t allowed to block the plate under any circumstances.

“It’s easier to interpret,” Mainieri said. “It’s clear cut.”

Mainieri feels the current rule is far from that.

“I have to coach my players on how to get to home plate,” Mainieri said. “And I don’t know what to tell them.”

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