Prior to the 2010 playoffs, Major League Baseball changed Tropicana Field’s ground rules affecting batted balls that strike the catwalks. Those changes were in effect for a grand total of three games.

Today, the Rays announced that the groundrules will revert back to the pre-postseason rules. In short, any ball that strikes one of the two inner catwalks will still be live until it hits the ground or is caught by a fielder. If the ball lands in fair territory, it will be ruled fair.

For the playoffs, any ball that would have struck one of those catwalks would have been ruled a “do over.”

We have long been proponents of changing the groundrules to the “do over” rule. And we are at a loss to explain why Major League Baseball would want to revert back to the old rules.

Why were the new rules good enough for the playoffs, but they are not good enough for the regular season? Is MLB admitting it made a mistake for the playoffs? Will MLB change the rules again if the Rays make the playoffs this year?

The “do over” rule wasn’t great. But it sure beats the hell out of watching fielders scramble like kids in a little league game.

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4 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    Maddon is blaming the umpires saying they don't want to add looking up to be part of their jobs, but they have to look up regardless because they still have to judge fair catwalk or foul catwalk.

    It makes no sense. I go with the theory that MLB wants the catwalks to be an issue so as to amplify the need for a new ballpark until I see a better explanation.

    For all future catwalk controversies, remember: Playing balls off of the catwalks from here forward is purely the fault of MLB (and maybe the Rays, since hometeams control their own ground rules in consultation with MLB), not the Trop, the City of St. Pete or our perpetually criticized fans.

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  2. Mj says:

    Or, rather, why were the old rules good enough for regular season, but not post? Sake of speeding up the game during regular season? Common sense would say "do over" is most fair of the two, I would think.

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  3. Jon L. says:

    It's the right move to change the rules back because they screwed up by changing them in the first place. The catwalks are something that you have to deal with when you play in Tampa.

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  4. Don says:

    Many people think baseball is too boring. Whats wrong with a little bounce off the cat walk rolling down the walk way and longoria catching the ball behind his back...what's boring about that....good decisionMLB...
    forget the umpires....do you think Maddon has the team practicing picking up balls hit off the catwalk...do you want to make a bet?

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