Major League Baseball’s recent rule change prohibiting catchers from blocking the plate has drawn a lot of criticism around the league, especially when it’s called by way of a replay review. Cleveland Guardians catcher Austin Hedges is the latest player to criticize the rule after he says it cost his team the game on Wednesday night.
In the first inning of Cleveland’s matchup with the Detroit Tigers, Javier Baez was initially ruled out at the plate for the inning’s third out. However, the MLB’s replay review center reviewed the play and deemed that Baez was safe, deeming that Hedges blocked the sliding lane before catching the ball.
After appearing to get Javy Baez out at the plate, replay overturned the call due to Austin Hedges blocking the plate pic.twitter.com/TUsJj4WJPK
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 16, 2022
The out would have ended the inning, but instead, the Tigers scored one run and went on to score two more in the inning, helping them eventually win the game 4-3.
Hedges was not a fan of the call, to say the least, saying the decision “cost the game” and pointed out that previous rules would have called the runner out for the past 150 years.
“First of all, it cost the game,” Hedges said according to Zack Meisel of The Athletic. “The play has been called a few times now recently that really has never been called before. For some reason, New York feels like they need to take over the game and change the way the game is played. Guys are just out. There are plays at home that are beating the runners and for 150 years, you’re out. And now, we’re calling some type of rule that is really tricky to define.”
Hedges went on to refer to the call as “a disgrace” and suggested the MLB owes Cleveland pitcher Zach Plesac an apology for the decision. He also expressed his opinion that the MLB umpires have no accountability and are “trying to change the game.”
“There’s no accountability on their part right now,” Hedges said. “And that’s really, really sad. I don’t know why. But there needs to be a little bit of — we talk about equality in this world right now. There ain’t no equality with that. These guys are going out there with no responsibilities. They say, ‘OK, here’s a play where I can show my power. Here’s a play where I can take over the game.’ And that’s not the game that we play. That’s not the game that we’ve played forever. They’re trying to take over the game and they’re trying to change the game and it’s disappointing.”
It was quite the rant. But based on what we’ve seen across the league this season, it’s likely many players agree with him.