[6/30/2016] NPB considers reviewing the collision rules mid-season

The media learned that the NPB is thinking about reviewing the collision rules during the current season. The issue will be discussed during an upcoming executive committee meeting on July 4. If the NPB, twelve teams, and the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA) agree on changes, rules could be updated for the second-half of the season.

The NPB believes including a collision clause could help alleviate some of the issues with the current rules. The new clause would exclude any plays that did not involve an actual collision. Players could still be given warnings depending on how plays unfolded. Of the four times out calls were reversed due to the collision rules this season, three would not apply under the new clause.

There is concern that changes to the rules mid-season could result in more confusion, but the NPB feels they need to do something based on the number of complaints teams have files so far this year. However, not everyone is necessarily in a rush to change the rules now and are willing to wait until the end of the season to make changes, as was initially promised by the NPB during spring camp.

Four out calls that were reversed due to the collision rules:

  • May 16 – Nippon Ham vs Seibu – Kona Takahashi entered the lane while trying to cover home plate
  • May 16 – Yomiuri vs Hanshin – Fumiuya Haraguchi entered the lane while catching the throw to home
  • June 12 – Yokohama vs Orix – Katsuki Yamazaki blocked the lane
  • June 14 – Seibu vs Hiroshima – Tatsuyuki Uemoto entered the lane while catching the throw to home

Source: Daily Sports 6/30/2016, Daily Sports 6/30/2016Sanspo 6/30/2016, Sanspo 6/30/2016Sanspo 6/30/2016, Sponichi 6/30/2016, Sponichi 6/30/2016, Sponichi 6/30/2016Nikkan Sports 6/30/2016, Nikkan Sports 6/30/2016Sports Hochi 6/30/2016

[UPDATE 7/2 @ 5:10am]

The changes the NPB is considering for the collision rule will not be quite as straightforward as the media initially thought. The changes would not only rule out plays that do not involve collisions, but would also take intent and timing into account for plays that do involve a collision. Under the proposed changes, none of the four plays (instead of three) listed above would have been reversed.

Source: Sports Hochi 7/1/2016, Sponichi 7/1/2016, Nikkan Sports 7/1/2016

[UPDATE 7/3 @ 6:12pm]

The NPB and JPBPA met in Tokyo on July 1 and discussed the possibility of making changes to the collision rules mid-season. Opinions among teams appear to be split. Some are suggesting that the new rules be applied starting with the upcoming All-Star series.

Source: Nikkan Sports 7/2/2016, Sanspo 7/2/2016

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NPB Standings [Full]
Hiroshima 143 89 52 2
Yomiuri 143 71 69 3
Yokohama 143 69 71 3
Hanshin 143 64 76 3
Yakult 143 64 78 1
Chunichi 143 58 82 3
Nippon Ham 143 87 53 3
Softbank 143 83 54 6
Lotte 143 72 68 3
Seibu 143 64 76 3
Rakuten 143 62 78 3
Orix 143 57 83 3