A catch is finally, once again, a catch. Today, at around 12 noon eastern time, Major League Baseball tweaked one of its new rules that it had changed during the offseason. When a fielder catches a ball, then loses it when he opens his glove, the rule stated that was not a catch. Or when a fielder makes a catch, then loses it on his throw, the rule stated that was not a catch. Those plays, which have been previously called catches for, practically, ever, caused much controversy.
Today, Major League Baseball reverted to the old rules. When a fielder makes a catch, and loses it on a transfer, it will be a catch and an out will be recorded. Here is the press release from Major League Baseball, exactly explaining the rule:
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.
Major League Baseball has promptly fixed a rule that many felt needed fixing. That is fantastic on their part. However, other rules, such as the "catcher blocking the plate" rule, have received much controversy as well. Whether Major League Baseball decides to remove that rule is unknown, but a huge step in the right direction was made today with the tweaking of the transfer rule. Now baseball fans, a catch is, once again, a catch. The way it should be.