Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - While the final wording has yet to be
drawn up, it appears as if home plate collisions are going to be a thing of
the past in Major League Baseball.
And to that I say bravo.
Honestly, who cares? The home plate collision has essentially gone by the
wayside anyway and if it protects an unsuspecting catcher from getting
destroyed and suffering a concussion, then how can you argue against it.
I don't really consider myself a traditionalist, and understand that
collisions are part of the game, but hasn't the NFL taught us anything about
concussions and quality of life after the game?
It's not just an NFL problem anymore either. It was revealed recently that
former MLB player Ryan Freel suffered from degenerative brain disease at the
time of his suicide in December 2012.
And if you think that Freel is the only former MLB player suffering from
chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), you are probably sadly mistaken.
This whole topic of banning home plate collisions really started to pick up
momentum following the ugly incident between Scott Cousins and Buster Posey.
Oddly enough, though, Posey didn't suffer a head injury on the play, he did
break a leg and had ligament damage because of the hit.
Actually, the only real reason he was hurt was because his leg was bent back
behind him. But it did get the ball rolling and the recent NFL findings
probably expedited the whole process.
MLB though estimated that about 50 percent of concussions are related to
At the time I remember arguing against the continued coddling of these players
and stated that it was just a part of the game. But, after seeing what has
happened in the NFL lately, how you can leave these catchers open to such
Heck even the NFL penalizes someone for hitting a defenseless player and they
are in full equipment. How can MLB not do the same? Especially considering
those players are nowhere near as equipped as the NFL.
Even before the MLB Rules Committee voted to outlaw these types of plays at
the recent Winter Meetings, some teams had actually already advised their
catchers to avoid such hits, as Oakland general manager Billy Beane has
admitted to telling his players to stay away from such incidents.
So this ruling should come as no surprise and it likely won't meet much
opposition from the Players Union.
Disgraced hits king Pete Rose, of course, is identified with the most famous
collision at the plate when he barreled into catcher Ray Fosse on a close play
at home plate during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in 1970.
So, it's no surprise that the man dubbed Charlie Hustle is against
the elimination of such plays.
"I'm a traditionalist," Rose recently told the Dayton Daily News. "I thought
the game has always been pretty good. About the only major changes they've
made to the game since 1869 was when they lowered the mound after the 1968
season and the designated hitter. I mean, the game is going pretty good, isn't
"What's next? Are they going to eliminate the takeout slide on double plays at
second base?", Rose asked.
Rose did make a good point though. Posey did not suffer a head injury when he
was hit and the most "famous" concussion in baseball in the last 10 years has
been that of Justin Morneau, who was hurt as part of a routine play at second
base where a leaping fielder happened to knee him in the head.
Now Rose probably is not the guy to go to on this subject. With the way he
played the game, you could have predicted his opinion. But he's not alone in
his thinking. A lot of players, mostly of the scrappy type, chimed in saying
that these type of plays are part of the game.
There were even some catchers who were against it too. But, we also heard from
players like Johnny Bench who applauded the move.
Call me crazy, but I think I'd rather watch a runner evade a tag than to run a
catcher over. What exactly are we losing here? Some ridiculous ESPN highlights
of catchers getting absolutely blasted but holding onto the ball? Yeah great
they held on, but at what price? On either side by the way. Who's to say the
player levying the hit doesn't suffer some sort of separated shoulder or
If anything maybe we won't have to worry about catchers going to find other
positions late in their career.
Admittedly it's a slippery slope. Players can argue against it all they want,
but in the long run MLB is protecting them from themselves.
The Sports Network