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Managers, GMs to meet today to discuss the abolition of home plate collisions

Dec 11, 2013, 7:02 AM EDT

Josh Thole Getty Getty Images

At a time when concussions have become the most significant injury on the minds of athletes, coaches, teams and — increasingly — the legal system, baseball will move today to consider abolishing home plate collisions.

As Derrick Goold reported this morning, this past weekend, team trainers and medical officials were told in a presentation here in Florida that 22 percent of all concussions in baseball are caused by collisions, most of which happen at home plate. Major League Baseball will hear from managers and executives today will meet to discuss a ban. Expected to speak, Goold notes, are Cardinals manager Mike Matheny who himself had his career end due to concussions, and Bruce Bochy, also a former catcher, and the manager of Buster Posey, who missed significant time in 2011 after breaking his leg in a home plate collision.

It’s a shame we see so many collisions anyway, as the rules of the game clearly state that a player without a ball is not allowed to block the plate. Likewise, nothing apart from odd tradition provides that a runner who is approaching a base where a fielder waits to tag him with the ball can or should violently prevent it.

While it’s uncertain if a rule change will be adopted, if one is, it will likely specifically provide that the baserunner is to (a) be given an avenue toward the plate and (b) is not allowed to target the catcher physically.

Here’s hoping Matheny and Bochy’s side of things prevails. Baseball is not a contact sport and shouldn’t be allowed to continue to be in this one, odd and dangerous area.

113 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. gothapotamus90210 - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    Get off the tracks when the train’s coming through

    • dcarroll73 - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      But sometimes that force is resistible and that object is in fact immoveable.

  2. temporarilyexiled - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:21 AM

    Some will decry the end of the primal moment, but tag plays at home plate can easily evolve into something just as exciting. Catchers and baserunners will hone athletic moves within the new rules. It’ll still be exciting. I’m old enough to have watched Pete Rose in that famous All-Star-Game moment on TV. I still remember feeling a combination of awe and disgust. Great play, but at the same time, a wrong one. It’ll also be interesting to see how MLB deals with second base. Instant replay and the neighborhood play…more, difficult factors to weigh and balance than at home plate.

    • bfunk1978 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:44 AM

      Umpires just have to be more aggressive in calling interference on very late slides at 2B. It should be that when a player comes to a natural halt from their slide, they can still touch the bag or else the runner at first is out as well. That’ll keep the hardest of hard slides out of there.

      But at the same time, the “neighborhood” play is garbage. It should be just like any other force play. Touch the bag if you want an out, or throw to another bag to record one.

  3. hittfamily - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Brian McCann was placed on the DL in 2006 because of a homeplate collision. Carlos Santana missed a season because of a home plate collision. Buster Posey was sidelined for a season because of a homeplate collision. Mike Napoli was put on the DL because of a homeplate collision. These are just the superstars. Most catchers aren’t superstars. Most are like Lou Marson, who got injured April 5th in a collision with Desmond Jennings, and was out for the year.

    MLB is way behind the times on this. All other major sports have outlawed plays that routinely injure it’s biggest stars. 1 exciting play is not worth a superstar being out for the season, or worse, concussion symptoms for the rest of their life. Just slide around, or don’t block the plate. They do it in college. They do it in high school.

    Give umps the freedom to award outs and runs at home the same way they do on every other base. You can’t dive face first into the second baseman if you are trying to steal second. Call obstruction if it’s obstruction. Call interferance if it’s interferance. Eject and suspend people if violent acts are avoidable. It really doesn’t seem that difficult to me. This will be a problem for like 3 weeks, until a catcher blocks a plate, gets trucked, and the run is awarded anyway. Or a runner blindsides a catcher, and he is called out and sent home for 3 days. They will never do it again, and their peers likely won’t either.

    Posey was a shortstop in college. If he didn’t know how to block a plate safely, it’s his coaches fault. His coach was a longtime MLB catcher, and by all accounts, a good coach. It’s not a coachable skill. Some guys get lucky, and some guys don’t. Players are bigger and faster than ever. Injuries will get worse. Baseball is not a physical sport. They wear shin guards and chest protectors, not shoulder pads and knee braces. Even in football, where big hits are taught and encouraged, it is against the rules to hit a defenseless receiver. A catcher is very much a defenseless receiver. Get it out of the game for good.

    • mikhelb - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      McCann was not a superstar, he was in his first season.
      Santana was not a superstar when it happened (and still he’s not a “superstar”).
      Napoli was not a superstar.
      Posey was beginning his career.

      All of them go to show that mostly young catchers are the ones affected, a “superstar” catcher making millions is less likely to risk his body on a collision and will take the easy route of standing two meters away from home plate when asking for the throw and then try to run and make a tag.

      And while players are bigger and fatter (i wouldn’t say “faster” nor “stronger” because they’re mostly big and fat nowadays), catchers also are using basically nothing to protect them. They changed their big pads for thin protectors and they cringe and fall to the ground whenever they receive a foul ball in their chest protector because that thing is like a cardboard, sure, it can absorb and difuminate the impact but it is not as effective as the classic chest protector. I’d love it if MLB can implement a rule to also increase the padding on those “protectors”.

      Also, lets bear in mind most of the catchers nowadays weren’t trained as catchers since they were young, most of them were guys who could hit but their fielding was bad, and their only shot to make it to the bigs was by being a catcher.

      For every SS turned C like Jorge Posada, Buster Posey, Russell Martin and Carlos Santana you have just a few true catchers like Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson.

      I hope MLB really does something to favor both sides, because the fault is of the catcher too.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:54 AM

        Alex Avila had to leave game 5 of this year’s post season because of a home plate collision. Alex Avila is the son of Al Avila, a former major league catcher. He’s been catching since the first time he picked up a baseball. Are you suggesting Alex was wearing the wrong type of chest protector, and that’s why he strained his knee?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:01 AM

        Are you an equipment designer? Do you have proof that just because todays catching equipment appears thinner makes it less effective at the job it is supposed to do?

      • mcintyrepatrick - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM

        Avila didn’t start catching until his junior year of college.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        I could use any one of the Yadier Molina as well, or is he not good enough? Was it technique, or luck to prevented a concussion? LUCK!

      • ashot - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        All “superstar” catchers were young, non-superstars at some point so it seems odd to effectively argue against protecting them on those grounds (I know you’re only sort of doign this). It also seems odd to argue against protecting catchers because of the reality that many catchers have not grow up as catchers. You can’t ignore the reality even if you wish it weren’t true.

        I think these arguments miss the point a bit anyway. The best argument, one made by several people here, is that you don’t lose anything by getting rid of these collisions (whether by a new rule or by enforcing the current rules). I’ve never watched a play at the plate and thought “that would have been better if there had been a collission.”

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        Avila had the ball at home plate BEFORE Ross was anywhere close to home. Ross intentionally hit him hard in hopes of dislodging the ball through the impact — that was his only hope of not being out. That was not on Avila. He caught the ball and turned to tag the runner as required to get him out. Ross didn’t have to charge into him and it *wasn’t* a case of a close call where he was trying to beat the ball home. That kind of crap is BS and should not be tolerated. It has NOTHING to do with catcher training.

    • nbjays - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:59 AM

      I’ll grant you Posey and McCann (now), but in what alternate universe are Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli considered superstars, when Joe Mauer, who also lost time to a concussion, is not?

      Mauer (10 seasons) .323/.405/.468; 136 OPS+; 44.5 oWAR; (avg 4.45/yr); 3.8dWAR; MVP; 6x AS; 3x GG; 5x SS

      Napoli (8 seasons) .259/.357/.502; 127 OPS+; 23.3 oWAR (avg 2.9/yr); 0.1 dWAR; 1x AS

      Santana (4 seasons) .254/.367/.446; 130 OPS+; 15.8 oWAR (avg 3.95/yr); -0.9 dWAR

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:08 AM

        If you think catcher’s posting 127+ OPS’ aren’t superstars, that’s you opinion. Lot’s in the HOF who were far worse hitters. Mauer’s concussion was because of a foul tip, not a collision. Catching’s dangerous, no doubt about it. Sometimes it’s the squatting. Sometimes it’s foul balls. Sometime’s it’s collisions.

        Life’s dangerous too. Sometimes it’s car wrecks. Sometimes it’s smoking. Sometimes it’s old age.

        In life, we mitigate our risks and prolong our lives by eliminating unnecessarily dangerous things. We wear seat belts, and eat well, and don’t smoke. Baseball should do the same.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:09 AM

        Weren’t Mauer’s concussions the result of foul balls off his helmet? If so then the argument is a fair comparison.

    • thisdamnbox - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      For the record, Buster Posey was NOT blocking the plate on that fateful play. Scott Cousins had a large and clear lane to the plate and chose to target the catcher.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        That’s just plain not true.

      • aroomadazda - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        mtr75, watch the video again.

        [mlbvideo id="15201733" width="400" height="224" /]

      • aroomadazda - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        alright, let’s try this again.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        @aroomadazda, I’ve watched the play. You can’t seriously tell me he’s not in front of the plate.

  4. greymares - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Craig of course you would like this change. If it was up to you they would be hitting off a tee to avoid hit batsmen contact, this change would be a complete start to the ruination of a great game. I”m sure if you had your way you would take bicycles and skate boards away from kids. I would tell you to man up but it’s much to late for that.

    • nbjays - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:04 AM

      At least you didn’t use the term “wussification”, but “man up” is just as bad. If you want manly contact sports, go watch football or MMA. They seem like they’d appeal to your caveman mentality.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        Word. I seriously hope he does “woman up,” if that means being civilized and not needlessly causing potentially very serious injuries for fans’ gratuitous pleasure.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      If you watch baseball to see plays at the plate you’re watching for the wrong reason. That play brings very little to the game.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

        I meant “collisions at the plate.” Plays at the plate are great and a reason to watch baseball.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        The same could be said about taking out second basemen, throwing inside, bunting, on and on and on. Why do we have this need to change a game that’s been the same for a century just because one guy got hurt? If you don’t want to get run over at the plate, get out of the way. You have that choice.

    • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:18 AM

      Well greymares, since what you think makes the game great is already against the rules, maybe you are watching the wrong game.

      • greymares - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:59 AM

        It’s only against the rules if the catcher doesn’t have the ball. with the ball in hand a catcher can be taught to deliver the hit as well as receive it. I caught for over 25 yrs between little league,high school, college and semi pro with hundreds of plate collisions and never missed a game because of it.

        Plus who are you people to tell me why to watch a game. I watch baseball because it is the best sport ever invented. LEAVE IT ALONE IT’S BEEN FINE THE WAY IT WAS INVENTED FOR A LONG TIME. the rule changes that have taken place have done almost nothing for the game

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

        The guys who caught baseball games at the highest level in the world are against the play. I’m more imclined to think their opinions hold more weight.

    • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      The only reason you think this is because its not you or your kid about to get run over. There’s a rule: you can’t interfere with a fielder in an attempt to dislodge the ball. There’s no exception to it for catchers. Furthermore there’s nothing wonderful about losing star players for seasons at a time due to injuries which are caused by illegal plays. How anyone thinks that a part of the game is beyond me.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Tell your kid not to block home plate. It’s not a REQUIREMENT. If you don’t want to get run over, move.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:54 AM

        The irony is that if the catcher jumped out of the way so as not to get slammed into, these same dudes would be lambasting him for being afraid of taking the hit and calling him a “wuss” for “running away.”

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        @historiophiliac: Negative. However, when someone DOES block the plate and the runner slows to a jog and gives himself up instead of running the guy over, I do call him bad words. This is baseball, not soccer.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:08 PM

        Apparently, you can’t tell the difference, because people have given examples here and you have refused to recognize that the runners there should’ve applied the brakes instead of lowering their shoulders to make the hit.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        @mtr75: what you’re saying could then be applied to plays at every base, then. Anywhere on the field. Run over a 1b? SURE! He’s in the way! Its the same rule for catchers and as it is for any other fielder.

        You are, once again, wrong. I suppose, once GAIN you’ll argue vehemently, endlessly, for your wrongness. Have at it. Won’t change you being wrong, though.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:59 PM

        @historiophiliac: nonsensical gibberish. You’re simply saying “I’m right, you’re wrong”, which is not an argument.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Actually, she IS right and you ARE wrong. So, in effect, for once, you’re right: there is no argument. You are wrong.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        @cur68: “what you’re saying could then be applied to plays at every base, then. Anywhere on the field. Run over a 1b? SURE! He’s in the way!”

        Yep. You’ve never seen a fielder standing in the baseline get his butt run over? Because I sure as hell have.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        Way to miss the point. Deliberate or are you incapable of grasping the notion of “interfering with a fielder”? Since you prefer to be on the wrong side of arguments, I’m going with deliberate, but being dense is not out of the picture. Anyhow, must go. Arguing with trolls is a waste of time. Like pigs, they enjoy the filth.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        BORING. I can see you’ve gone past trying to make a point and straight to ad hominems. Well done, I knew it was coming sooner or later.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        “You are, once again, wrong. I suppose, once GAIN you’ll argue vehemently, endlessly, for your wrongness. Have at it. Won’t change you being wrong, though.”


      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        It’s so sexy when guys say I’m right. Do it again. 😀

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        Well, I would. But it’d just encourage mtr(IQof)72 to keep yapping at us. He seems to like to bleat a lot. I’d just as soon ignore him.

        Besides, you’re often right. You know that. You don’t me to tell you and it would just go to your head anyways. Instead, I shall think of new trades for Matt Scherzer, in the hopes he becomes a BeaverWrestler.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        Oh, well, if it’s *Matt* Scherzer you’re after, I’ll be glad to help.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        Yeah him. I need more sleep.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Why aren’t you sleeping? I see you are dodging thesis work by stalking the blog today. Do I need to sic the paperlions on you? Hmmm?

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        I’m waiting on corrections to the final chapter, so no work to do. Also, I’m working nights for the next little while. Woke up early and now can’t get back to sleep. Dog has seen me upright so she’s following me around with her frisbee and looking soulful. I may succumb to her blatant tactics and take her for a walk. Must see how this Max Scherzer thing works out, though.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        Our gain. The tone of the comments section is improved when you participate. When you’re gone the trolls come out. I wonder why that is…

  5. gloccamorra - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    I agree that something must be done, but I’m not happy that they’re called “collisions”. The play that broke Posey’s leg was not a collision, it was a tackle.

    That was a “put your shoulder down and try to make the catcher drop the ball” play, and Posey wasn’t even blocking the plate, he was in front of the plate and turning after he caught the ball to apply the tag. The runner looked more intent on “taking out” the catcher than trying to tag the plate.

    If MLB is going to deny that the cause of these injuries is the base runners playing NFL-tackle, not the catchers blocking the plate, it’ll never properly address the issue.

    • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      “and Posey wasn’t even blocking the plate, he was in front of the plate”

      Were you for it before you were against it?

  6. paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    As Craig notes, running over a fielder in an attempt to dislodge the ball is already illegal, as is blocking a runner’s progress if a fielder doesn’t have the ball. There are NO special rules for home plate. No new rules are required, the only requirement is for umpires to be directed to enforce the existing rules for obstruction and interference.

    • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:16 AM

      Just what I was about to say. Let the umpires enforce the rules and the problem goes away.

      • Old Gator - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        Catcher without ball blocks plate, runner scores, all other runners move up a base (which will often mean the guy going from second to third scores too).

        Runner slams into catcher with ball, runner is automatically out regardless of whether catcher drops ball. Runner is ejected and faces suspension of X games depending on circumstances. Let’s give Joe Torre some actual work to do.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

        @Old Gator: “Runner slams into catcher with ball, runner is automatically out regardless of whether catcher drops ball. Runner is ejected and faces suspension of X games depending on circumstances. Let’s give Joe Torre some actual work to do.”

        SO what the hell do you want the runner to do? If the catcher’s blocking the plate it’s an automatic out in your scenario. What a joke!

      • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Well, the runner is limited in options because it is against the rules to run into a player to dislodge the ball intentionally. Possible options:

        a. Hook slide.
        b. If you are really quick, try to go over or around him.
        c. If someone else is on base, work a run down. If you were so dead from the start that the guy is sitting there waiting for the ball, why were you going in the first place?
        d. Yell at the 3rd base coach for sending you.

      • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        Point c. “with the ball”. Sorry.

      • Old Gator - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        @mtr75: point taken. It would have to be a judgment call if the umpire felt that the runner could have avoided the collision. The idea is to make dislodging the ball a moot point. Ergo, if the catcher is in possession of the ball at the time of the collision the runner is out whether the catcher drops it or tags him. A catcher who has to move up the first base line to take a throw would still need to tag the runner if he’s sliding in, or get around to the third base side once he has the ball to tag him. Whatever MLB comes up with, there’ll have to be some umpirical (pencil that into your copies of Webster’s and Oxford, folks) judgement involved.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        @old gator: “point taken. It would have to be a judgment call if the umpire felt that the runner could have avoided the collision.”

        It’s nice to have someone who can disagree and still see each other’s point. I understand what you’re saying, too, but what is being discussed here is banning ALL collisions at home. What I’m asking is, whose fault are they? This is going to wind up the equivalent of roughing the passer in football. We may as well put a tutu on quarterbacks. If the catcher is not in the way and someone goes out of their way to cream him, that’s one thing. But 98% of the time the catcher is blocking the plate. What option does the runner have?

    • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      It’s not running over the player in attempt to dislodge the ball. He’s IN THE WAY. What are supposed to do, stop and politely ask of he could kindly grant you passage to home plate?

      • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        He’s in the way, but you are still running over him to try to dislodge the ball.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

      • Old Gator - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        Good question, and an old one. In 1923 Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the nest of what he presumed to be Protoceratops in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, thereby proving conclusively that dinosaurs laid eggs. However, he couldn’t tell which came first, either.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:36 PM

        If a fielder has the ball the runner is not allowed to run over the fielder, he can try to avoid the fielder to reach the base, but the rules do not permit physical assault on a fielder in the runners path that has possession of the ball.

        Incidental contact is fine if a guys is trying to field the ball and a player is just trying to reach the base, but the vast majority of home plate collisions have nothing to do with reaching the base as most of those runners run into the catcher while making no attempt to touch the plate. If an infielder is standing in front of 1B, 2B, or 3B with the ball, the runner is not allowed to run over him in his attempt to reach the base. If he does so and the ball becomes dislodged, the runner is called out and likely will be ejected from the game. Home plate is no different.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        Really? You want to show me where it says that in the rules? 7.09:

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        To answer your question, what is the runner supposed to do? Nothing, he’s out. When the ball beats you to a base and the fielder is standing there with it ready to tag you, the only option is to try to avoid the tag of the fielder. Running over the fielder is not a legal play.

        I have no idea how that is hard for you to understand. What you are saying is like saying, if you take a 3rd strike why can’t you swing your bat at the catchers glove to dislodge the ball so that it becomes a dropped 3rd strike? What is a batter to do? Well, he turns around and grabs some bench, because those are the rules of the game.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM

        This isn’t a discussion of force plays nor of a fielder standing with one foot on the bag, ready to tag the runner, who has access to the bag. If a fielder is physically BLOCKING the base (or baseline, for that matter), you sure as hell can run him over.

  7. nymets4ever - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Josh Thole stinks

    • nbjays - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Thoughtful evocative comment, and so relevant to the discussion…

      BTW, did you hear that Viagra is now making a nasal spray? It is for dickheads. You should get some.

      • nymets4ever - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM

        U seem mad

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM

        jeah, dont b dum

  8. jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Give me more plays like this: Posey’s sweep tag of Fielder at home plate after setting up in front of the plate, not in the base path. Great relay by Scutaro, great receipt of the ball and tag by Posey, great baseball.

    Give me no plays like this: Fielder plowing into Todd Greene, resulting in damage to his shoulder that effectively ended his career.

    Before the collision with Cousins, Posey was not blocking the plate. That was clearly an avoidable collision, and a rule that encourages avoidance may have prevented a serious injury. Without the collision, we would still have enjoyed it as the play of the game, with Cousins either reaching home safely with a nice fading slide or being tagged out just in time.

  9. Old Gator - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I am opposed to home plate collisions. I am also opposed to ship/reef collisions, car/car, car/truck and truck/truck collisions, uranium wedge/plutonium ball collisions, asteroid/planetary collisions and moshing. But most of all, I am opposed to the sound of one hand clapping.

    • Old Gator - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      PS – old nun crossing street is still a three-point play.

    • baccards - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      I, too, am opposed to the sound of one hand clapping. One hand clapping is merely a wave.

    • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

      But wait!! What is the sound of one hand clapping?? Just so I will know it when I hear it. :-)

      • nbjays - Dec 11, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        If a man speaks in the forest, and there’s no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?

  10. cshearing - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Whenever I see percentages in cases like this, I assume there is an agenda being pushed. 22%? What does that tell me? Truthfully, the number sounds low. I would have expected over half of concussions to be caused by home plate collisions; it’s not like baseball is a contact sport.

    I am not saying concussions are not an issue. I am saying they are using ineffective tactics in relaying the message.Give me real data, not percentages that obfuscate the issue.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:30 AM

      That 22% covers all concussions resulting from collisions, not just home plate collisions, if I understood it correctly. I presume the remainder are the result of impact with something other than a fellow human being, such as a fence, the ground, or a ball, with the majority of those occurring on foul tips. But I agree, I’d be interested in seeing the pie chart entire.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      Outfielders running into walls are responsible for a whole lot of concussions. Walls are padded nowadays, in an effort to reduce that, but it’s not clear what else can be done beyond that. I imagine that’s what leads to the relatively low % of catcher-based plays: there are a lot more outfielders making plays near walls than there are plays at the plate.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        I’d be really entertained if they did to outfield walls, what NASCAR and INDY races do to walls. They could stack up bails of hay on the warning track like INDY does, and if that doesn’t stop them, giant containers of water that explode on impact. You think Mike Trout made a great catch going over that fence…just imagine if he vaulted off a bale of hay, then burst through a massive water balloon, before he went over the fence.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:38 PM

        Let’s remove walls and any ball that lands within 15 feet of a fielder is an out. Hey, we have to protect the players!

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM

        Let us now consider the “excluded middle”.

    • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      I imagine that the most concussions come from

      a. Walls.
      b. Catchers accidentally getting hit by foul tips or bats.

      And I would lean toward b. Catching equipment is much improved, but those guys take a beating back there.

  11. wingsfan97 - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Catchers need to stop being p***ys

    • dcarroll73 - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Base-runners need to stop being NFL-wannabe thugs.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

      Would you say that receivers in football are p***ys too, because they’re protected by a rule that prevents them from being hit before the ball reaches them? Quarterbacks and kickers must be lumped into that category also.

      My point is that even in a sport in which contact is the essence of the game, contact is carefully controlled in order to preserve the possibility that something more highly valued can occur.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM

      There aren’t any female catchers is MLB. Ooooh, you’re just trying to insult the men by comparing them to portable heavens. Got it. Moron.

    • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      I see we got the women hate going today.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        So it’s Wednesday.

  12. MattJanik - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    Mental exercise for anybody who would be legitimately upset about catcher collisions being removed (or, really, any rule change that would remove something in a sport): if that thing had NEVER been allowed, would anybody be arguing for its inclusion.

    As in, if baserunners had NEVER been allowed to run over catchers, would anybody seriously think it was a good idea to make that a thing today? If fighting had never been allowed in ice hockey, would anybody think they should start doing it now?

    I’d argue the only reasonable response to either of those questions would be: “Of course not, that would be crazy.” Thus, it seems pretty reasonable to remove both.

    • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:39 PM


      • MattJanik - Dec 11, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        I don’t suppose you’d like to explain why, or offer an alternative school of thought to go with your blunt dismissal?

  13. mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Oh boo hoo, Buster Posey got hurt so let’s change the rules. It’s bad enough you can’t throw inside without being remanded to police custody. Let’s put more games in the hands of the umps. The players are just put there to add to the visual.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      There’s no crying in baseball. The question is, do you want a great collision or a great career? The great career draws more fans, more often.

      It’s precisely base runners intentionally colliding with catchers and catchers illegally blocking base runners take the game out of the hands, or perhaps the feet, of the appropriate player — the player whose object is to reach home plate, prevented by a catcher who’s supposed to stay out of the base path when he doesn’t have the ball, or the player whose object is to catch the ball and tag the runner, prevented by a deviation in direction by a runner who’s supposed to be aiming for home — that contact should be discouraged here, by whatever means are reasonable and effective.

      Maybe a rule change isn’t needed. If so, then enforce the existing rules, and to make sure they’re enforced, allow calls of interference or non-interference at the plate to be challenged. When there’s a challenge, allow the call to be reversed according to a determination of whether the catcher set up in the base path without the ball or whether the runner took a path toward the catcher when a clear path to the plate was available.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        YES! Expand instant replay! I can’t wait to see those 6-hour Yankees-Red Sox games. Boy are those going to be a joy to watch.

        If you don’t want to get run over, get out of the way. Period.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        Simple formulation, but obviously inadequate: Posey was out of the way, he was run over, and he was out of action for the rest of the year. Are you OK with this happening to the star catcher on your team of choice? — assuming of course that your team ever had or ever will have a star catcher.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        @jkcalhoun: Posey was not out of the way, he got run over. Stuff happens. Mike Piazza, star catcher for my beloved New York Metropolitans, never waived the white flag of surrender for a baserunner in his time with the Mets and never missed a season due to injury, either. But your question gets at the heart of what this is, which is a bunch of Giants fans crying that there widdle catchew gawt huwt. Poor baby.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        Give the people asking for a change here credit for understanding that nothing can be done to change the outcome of the Posey/Cousins play, or the Jennings/Maier play, or any other plays of the past, whenever they occurred, at whatever level of play. Those games were lost, those seasons were lost, and in some cases those careers were lost. This isn’t crying about the past.

        Instead, it’s about the game we want to follow going forward. We prefer not to see this happen again — to any catcher, on any team. Your Mets will benefit just as much as anyone else, when a catcher that they invest is likelier to remain a valuable contributor on the field because the rules prevent a hockey game from breaking out.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:12 PM

        I forgot: check out the link I posted above (look for the words “Posey was not blocking the plate”). Then come back and tell me whether you still think he was “in the way”.

        It’s clearer than the Zapruder film that Cousins made a lunge to the left and everything happened in front of the plate.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        Once again, Posey was in the way, and why all the sudden the need for this “benefit” to all teams? Baseball has been played this way for 100 years. You get two or 3 decent collisions at home plate a year as it is. It’s not like this happens every inning.

        Just like in the NFL where in 5 years each player will have two flags hanging from his waist, so goes baseball apparently. Collisions at the plate are a part of the game. Or were, anyway. Let’s get out the tees now, too, so batters don’t get hit and catchers don’t get hit by foul tips. Then let’s get rid of the fences so outfielders don’t run into them. Let’s leave the BP cage in front of the pitcher’s mound. No more sliding, someone might twist an ankle, etc. BORING.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        About this “false dilemma” problem you keep running into by introducing irrelevant non-consequences to the changes some of us here are advocating: please be advised that if I ask you to pass the stuffing, and you respond by telling me that you cannot comply because candied yams are bad for me, this just tells me that you want to keep the stuffing all to yourself.

  14. mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Hey guys, there’s another important announcement. I’m sorry for you guys that love the game, but 93% of hit-by-pitch injuries come on fastballs. Unfortunately, for the good of the game and the health of the players, the fastball will now be against the rules. All pitches will be restricted to under 80 miles per hour. Any pitch over that speed will be considered a ball. We hope you understand. It’s for everyone’s benefit.

    • stex52 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      That’s a silly argument. If a player is hit by a pitch, the umpire has the right to assess a penalty right now. That is also the case with collisions. All we are talking about is enforcing rules.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM

        Really? What’s the penalty in the rules for a hit batsman?

  15. xjokerz - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Catchers shouldnt block the plate if their scared to get run over…..

  16. dparker713 - Dec 11, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    I don’t see home plate collisions as more of a danger to players’ health than take out slides at second. Yet somehow because Posey got hurt at the plate that’s the play people want to change. Meanwhile if ARod had his ankle mangled, people would be lining up to buy the catcher beers.

    Plus, I do think eliminating either of those plays would diminish the entertainment value of the sport.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:24 PM

      The barrel-roll take-out slide at second is prohibited (the so-called Hal McRae rule) precisely because of the risk of injury. Those in favor of a change in rulings at home plate are essentially asking for the same thing: call the runner out if a determination is made that the runner moved toward the defender instead of toward the plate.

      Because going in standing up at second base increases the chance of overrunning the bag and being tagged out on the way back but has no similar risk at home, at the plate special consideration may additionally be given to plays in which the catcher has the ball and can therefore legally be positioned in the base path. If that case the runner can’t move toward the plate without also moving toward the catcher. Nevertheless, the league may choose to distinguish between choices by the baserunner that are clearly intended primarily to dislodge the ball and only secondarily to result in contact with the plate. For example, if the catcher is there with the ball ahead of you and go in full speed standing up, you could be called out. Why not?

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        Yeah, let’s give the umps more judgment calls to make, instead of letting the players decide a game. After all, allowing the umps to warn both benches when someone throws anywhere inside has just been a boon to the game, hasn’t it?

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        You keep providing excellent examples of false dilemmas.

        1) How is the umpire not already involved? The call of whether one player interfered with another, whether the baserunner is safe or out, is already in his hands.

        2) The goal of the change is to increase the risk to the baserunner when choosing to collide with the catcher, in order to increase the likelihood that the baserunner will choose instead to avoid the collision. If the result is fewer collisions, then there will be fewer disputed calls. And when calls are legitimately disputed, the result will be a challenge according to soon-to-be-established procedure instead of useless ranting resulting in ejections, which are probably just as time consuming anyway. More entertaining in some cases, but clearly beside the point.

      • mtr75 - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        @jkcalhoun: BS. I’m not providing false dillemas at all. Just because you have no answers for them doesn’t make them false. The umpire is involved, yes. To call safe or out. Now you’re asking them to judge “fairness”.

        “2) The goal of the change is to increase the risk to the baserunner when choosing to collide with the catcher, in order to increase the likelihood that the baserunner will choose instead to avoid the collision.”

        I’ve asked this again and again and again: if the catcher has the ball and is standing in front of the plate, what do you want the runner to do? “Pardon me, kind sir, could you perhaps step to the side so as to allow me a fair opportunity to touch home plate?”

        Let’s say I give you the Posey play. He was in the way, but the runner could have gone for the plate. If you want to call that an egregious action with no legitimate purpose as far as getting to the plate, fine. But now you want to ban ALL collisions at home? What do you want the runner to do here:

        Watch at the :45 second mark, the runner doesn’t even want to hit the catcher, but he’s IN THE WAY. Now you want him thrown out of the game and suspended? Puh-leeze.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        The umpire is also already obliged to make a decision about interference or non-interference when a collision occurs between a runner and a fielder. The proposed changes are intended to reduce the occasions when such a decision must be made, thereby “keeping the game in the hands of the players” more often than it would otherwise be.

        If the catcher has the ball and is in the baseline, he has a right to be there. If the runner is judged to interfere with the actions the fielder is making in order to complete the defensive play, he should be called out. This is all already clear from existing rules. I would say that it’s in keeping with existing rules to interpret a collision with intent to dislodge the ball as baserunner interference. Yer out.

        What choices does a base stealer have going into second base when the ball is there and the fielder is set up for the tag? Not many: sliding around the tag, skipping over the tag, sliding hard into the tag. That’s it. Barreling into the fielder with intent to dislodge the ball? Not allowed. Why should the baserunner coming home be entitled to more choices than that?

  17. moogro - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Now if they could do something about perimeter walls bordering the field of play being unnecessarily dangerous and a cause of a lot of injuries also.

  18. briangraydon - Dec 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    What is the world coming too. Maybe Matheny and Bochy can work at McDonalds and then they won’t have to worry about concussions. What a bunch of crybabys.

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