Starting Friday, a catch will again be a catch in baseball.
After nearly four weeks of growing confusion in the application of the transfer rule on catches, which resulted from the implementation of increased replay, Major League Baseball is returning to the traditional interpretation.
In short, as long as the player secures the ball in his glove, that’s good enough. No longer must he make a clean transfer to his throwing hand.
Here’s the full release that MLB distributed Friday morning regarding the change:
“Major League Baseball announced today that the Playing Rules Committee has provided its official view of how Umpires should apply the Official Playing Rules when a fielder loses possession of a ball when attempting to transfer it to his throwing hand.
“The Committee’s interpretation of the rule has been discussed and agreed upon by MLB, the MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association. Beginning with games played tonight, Umpires will enforce the rule according to the standards below.
“The Committee has determined that a legal catch has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, “Catch”), or a valid force out or tag has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, “Tag”), if the fielder had complete control over the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after intentionally opening his glove to make the transfer to his throwing hand. There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled a catch. If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to remove it to make a throw, the Umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. The Umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer.
“The Official Playing Rules Committee consists of the General Manager of the New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, who serves as Chair of the Committee; Sam Bernabe, the Chairman of the Pacific Coast League; Hall of Famer Rod Carew, a 19-year Major League veteran; Umpire Brian Gorman, a Crew Chief with over 22 years of experience at the Major League level; John McHale, Jr., MLB’s Executive Vice President of Administration and Chief Information Officer; Terry Ryan, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Minnesota Twins; John Schuerholz, the President of the Atlanta Braves; Bill Stoneman, former Vice President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Joe Torre, MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. ”