December 17, 2013
Get ready to say goodbye to physicality behind the plate.
Major League Baseball plans to ban home plate collisions by 2015. If passed, it means next season will be the last time a base runner can run over a catcher.
When I first heard the news, I reacted almost like everyone else. I was shocked; getting rid of physicality in any sport is sacrilege.
However, the growing number of injuries helps to understand baseball officials.
The increase of concussion awareness is astounding. The National Football League limits helmet-to-helmet hits, which is effective. More players are going for tackles instead of headhunting.
They’re not alone. The NFL, NBA and even the WWE test their athletes through concussion symptoms and determine when or if they can return. But concussions aren’t the only problem for catchers.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey suffered a broken bone in his left ankle after Florida Marlins (now Miami) outfielder Scott Cousins ran him over. The injury cost him the rest of the 2011 season. The following footage from The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants may be difficult to view, but incidents like these are what MLB is trying to prevent.
MLB received plenty of support from former players, including former catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. He told the NY Daily News he never suffered a concussion. However, he stated how the new rule would be good for the game.
“You see a lot of collisions at the plate in the past, a lot of catchers getting concussions,” said Rodriguez. “You saw (Cardinals manager Mike) Matheny retired (from playing) because of that situation. It’s not easy.”
There lies the problem with home plate collisions: it puts the players at risk. Rodriguez agrees with the rule because it would help make the game safer.
There still will be physical play in games, such as outfielders trying to gage the wall before attempting a catch. Games will still have great defensive plays, amazing pitching performances and home runs.
Collisions, however, aren’t worth the risk of a baseball player’s career.
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