Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp’s instincts took over as he ran through a catcher who was blocking his path to home plate Wednesday night. The catcher, Robinson Chirinos of the Rangers, must have been expecting Kemp to just be tagged out.
The result: Pushes and shoves after the play, followed by the benches and bullpens emptying.
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Baseball in 2018, everyone.
Notice also in the above video that after Kemp shoved Chirinos hard, Chirinos didn’t want any part of the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, who looked ready to clean house.
Kemp and Chirinos were ejected for their roles in the fracas.
MLB rules governing plays at home plate allow for contact when the catcher has the ball and is in the way, but it’s likely Kemp would have been called out even if Chirinos had dropped the ball. The rulebook comment on Rule 6.01(i)(1) makes that outcome seem clear. The relevant portion of that comment:
The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of Rule 6.01(i) (Rule 7.13), or otherwise initiated a collision that could have been avoided.
Regardless, a lot of old-school fans had to love seeing Kemp follow his instincts.