MINNEAPOLIS — For three minutes, Joe Torre attempted to explain the bewilderment behind Rule 7.13 — an “experimental” provision to prevent home-plate collisions — and concluded with an indictment of the law that has frustrated both managers and players.
“It’s not as confusing as I’m making it sound,” Torre said Tuesday. Managers and players may disagree.
Torre, Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations, said the rule will not be eliminated after its one-year trial basis. There could be tweaks to it, Torre said during a Baseball Writers Association of America luncheon, but he believes the rule has succeeded.
“The one thing in the first half of the season we’ve had success with is we haven’t had any devastating collisions, which is really what it was based to do to begin with,” Torre said. “I’ve been talking to managers. The managers, at times, I know there is confusion, but they certainly understand what we’re trying to get at.”
Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg twice asked Torre’s office for explanations in the season’s first 95 games. Sandberg’s frustration stemmed from the rule being applied in different manners, and each time it handicapped the Phillies.
Various players have criticized the rule, saying it puts base runners in more danger than catchers. Torre said his main message to managers is the runner must not be impeded on his path toward home. But throws can take the catcher into that path, and that is legal.
“It’s a matter of coming up with a formula,” Torre said. “A lot of it is based, right now, on judgment. And when you have judgment, you’re going to have different people seeing different things.”