A funny thing happened on the way to Oswaldo Arcia of the Minnesota Twins driving in Ryan Doumit with an RBI double on Sunday. Doumit missed touching home plate on his first pass and needed to sneak back and beat catcher Yan Gomes to the dish for a second time. And umpire Eric Cooper, who was right on top of it, called Doumit safe, giving the Twins an insurance run in their 5-3 victory at the Cleveland Indians.
It's a good thing for Doumit that his second try worked, otherwise we would have to change his name to D'ohmit!
Still, the play leaves us with questions.
One, why are catchers allowed to block the plate without having possession of the ball? That should be against the rules, no? Two, why didn't Doumit just slide in the first place? If he goes feet first, he would have knocked Gomes' leg out of the way and swiped the bag. The problem with Doumit sliding feet first was, he might have given Gomes something to tag before he reached the plate. You also must slow down to slide, presumably.
But if he goes in head first, he might risk injuring his hands by slamming them on Gomes' shin guards. Catchers need their hands for catching!
And if he bowls over Gomes, a la Scott Cousins and Buster Posey, he would have been guilty of catcher-on-catcher crime and the Greek Catchers Council would have banished him to the Catcher Phantom Zone for all time.
Instead, Doumit had to sneak around like a cat burglar. This is why the rules on sliding need to be clarified. The defensive player needs to give a sliding lane to the runner, so the choice of awkward slide/ballet tippy toe/human bowling ball doesn't have to be made. We can call it the Buster Posey Rule, in honor of his broken leg.
BLS H/N: CBS Eye on Baseball