Major League Baseball apologized Thursday for an incorrect application of rule 7.13 , otherwise known as the home plate collision rule. The play took place in Pittsburgh, as the Pirates hosted the Reds.
The crux of the issue with the application of the rule is that the bases were loaded, making it a force play at home, which should entitle the catcher to some domain of the plate. The home plate umpire originally indicated that the runner, Devin Mesoraco, was out at the plate, only to have that overturned upon a review that never should have been invoked.
Joe Torre on PIT HP replay: "After evaluating the play and the details of the review, we recognize that this play…" (more)— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 19, 2014
Torre on HP replay, cont.: … "was not the type that should have resulted in a violation of Rule 7.13."— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 19, 2014
Torre (cont.):"The goal of Rule 7.13 is to prevent egregious home plate collisions… we have made important progress in accomplishing that…"— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 19, 2014
As MLB's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre indicated, Rule 7.13 was put in place to curtail excessive contact during plays at the plate -- generally a situation that would not take place on a force play.
There is a case to be made that this call shouldn't have been overturned even ignoring that it was a force play. Pirates catcher Russell Martin seemingly makes every effort to be backing away from the plate as the throw comes in, affording Mesoraco his lane to the plate. The case can (and likely was) made that he was unnecessarily in the runner's lane without the ball, which is in violation of Rule 7.13.
All that is hypothetical, though, as this was indeed a force play, and the application of the review an incorrect one. Something doesn't have to be perfect to be useful, and it's clear that the implementation and application of Rule 7.13 has been far from perfect. It's usefulness will be determined by the dwindling (or not) number of collisions at home plate, as the application process is refined.