The overturned call that gave Toronto the winning run in Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Twins stemmed from a 2014 rule change actually designed to protect catchers in collisions at home plate.
However, in providing protection for catchers, the rule also includes a list of things that they can and can't do. Whether Twins catcher Gary Sanchez adhered to the rules was the subject of Toronto's successful replay challenge of umpire Alan Porter's call.
Here's a look at the play:
The call stemmed from an increase in collisions at home plate, and is sometimes called the "Buster Posey rule" after a 2011 incident that resulted in a season-ending injury to the Giants' star catcher.
Let's go to the rule book:
The first part of the rule states:
"Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher without possession of the ball blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe. Not withstanding the above, it shall not be considered a violation of this (rule) if the catcher blocks the pathway of the runner in a legitimate attempt to field the throw (e.g., in reaction to the direction, trajectory or the hop of the incoming throw, or in reaction to a throw that originates from a pitcher or drawn-in infielder). In addition, a catcher without possession of the ball shall not be adjudged to violate this (rule) if the runner could have avoided the collision with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) by sliding."
Baseball's rule book, as it frequently does in explaining complex rules, adds this comment:
"A catcher shall not be deemed to have violated (the rule) unless he has both blocked the plate without possession the ball (or when not in a legitimate attempt to field the throw), and also hindered or impeded the progress of the runner attempting to score. A catcher shall not be deemed to have hindered or impeded the progress of the runner if, in the judgment of the umpire, the runner would have been called out notwithstanding the catcher having blocked the plate. In addition, a catcher should use best efforts to avoid unnecessary and forcible contact while tagging a runner attempting to slide. Catchers who routinely make unnecessary and forcible contact with a runner attempting to slide (e.g., by initiating contact using a knee, shin guard, elbow or forearm) may be subject to discipline by the league president."
You can take this rule apart in any number of ways, but the Twins were set off by the fact that Sanchez appeared to do the things required of a catcher on the plate, which resulted in the out call by the home plate umpire in the top of the 10th inning with the score tied at 2.
Here's the rationale released by MLB after the game:
And if you want to know what Rocco Baldelli thought of the outcome, minus the cussing at the beginning and end of his answer, here it is: