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Not everyone is happy about home plate collisions being taken away

Dec 12, 2013, 11:32 AM EDT

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is not a fan of the new rule banning home plate collisions. Indeed he’s so incensed that he decided to mock the idea of protecting athletes whose health and career are put at risk as a result of them:

One of the game’s biggest stars — Buster Posey — suffered a nearly career-ending knee injury as a result of a collision with then-Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins in May of 2011, therefore we must protect catchers? … Baseball is seeking to ban collisions that have happened since Abner Doubleday invented baseball. What are we doing here? … David Ross and Alex Avila suffered concussions as the result of foul balls off their masks during the 2013 season. Are we banning foul balls soon? … This is sport. This is athleticism. And now we’re taking it away?

Given that Cafardo apparently doesn’t even know the first thing about Posey’s injury — note: it was not his knee — I’m not sure how he’s any sort of expert on this, but that’s tenure for you. He also got the effective date of the rule wrong — it’s 2014 if the union approves it, 2015 if they don’t — but those are just details.

I take greater issue with Cafardo’s fighting straw men and overall faulty logic. No, because Major League Baseball is trying to eliminate injuries from one kind of play it does not mean that all potential hazards must and will be eliminated and no one is suggesting such a thing. No, because catastrophic injuries are rare does not mean they are not serious and in need of some form of address. And the “taking it away” thing. Taking what away? From who? He argues in his column that the rules already do much to limit such collisions and that that should be enough, so he should be happy if all such collisions are gone, right?

In the course of his column Cafardo quotes several managers about home plate collisions and notes that reasonable people can be of two minds about this rule. Too bad that, rather than acknowledge the multiple sides of the matter when he asserted his own opinion, he chose to be cavalier and dismissive about a subject that has very real personal health and career consequences for the players being barreled into at home plate all season.

135 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. disgracedfury - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Thanks Buster Posey for ruining it for everyone.

    Not only does Posey sucks defensibly as a catcher but started the whole ban collision plays two years ago.

    • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      This is kind of like saying “Thanks Amber for ruining child abductions for everyone.” There are some things that have no value and need to be eliminated.

      • mtr75 - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:18 PM

        You’re saying a play at the plate has “no value”? That’s the most absurd thing I’ve read in this entire argument.

        As it is currently, if the catcher catches the ball, blocks home plate and gets plowed over and holds on to the ball, the runner is out. Under the proposed rule it’s entirely up to the umpire. Did the catcher block the plate or didn’t he? Was the contact by the runner “fair” or “unfair”? How do you feel about the play, Mr. Umpire? Did you get a good view? I sure hope so.

        I’d rather the players decide the play. You’d rather the umpire decide the play.

      • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        Plays at the plate have value. Running over the catcher has no value compared to the cost. There are far more injuries from these collisions than there are changes in results of games.

        How many collisions last year resulting in players that would have been out being safe? Probably none. Guys are getting hurt for no reason…and by plays that have been illegal in MLB since the 1800s. They are called obstruction and interference, and there are NO special rules in the rule book for home plate. Feel free to read them for the first time. You might not agree, but at least you would know the rules.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Stop trying to be reasonable with that troll. He just wants your attention. He’s being intentionally obtuse to argue with people. Don’t reward him.

      • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        You are right. I should know better. It is just amazing that someone insists on being so clearly wrong.

        Kind of reminds me of an ex-GF. She said that her current partner is the most stubborn person in the world, even worse than me (note: she is very stubborn and argumentative, and in general was willing to argue at length about anything). I told her that people probably wouldn’t seem so stubborn to her if she didn’t insist so much on being wrong.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        LMAO! I bet I know why you broke up. :) I’m surprised you still talk.

      • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        She knows it was a joke….of course, when jokes are also true, it can be a double edged sword. We actually broke up because she is Texan and allergic to living outside of Texas and I have no interest whatsoever in living there again. She also think that 100F is a pleasant temperature and 60F is freezing cold.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Geography seems a regular problem for you, dude.

        FYI, I am thinking of moving next year. I am finally going to try and actually escape the heat.

      • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM

        Yeah, when move around the world a lot, distance or the environmental variation it represents, often becomes an issue.

      • mtr75 - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        “There are far more injuries from these collisions than there are changes in results of games.”

        Prove that. I’ll be waiting.

      • mtr75 - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        @historiophiliac: one ad hominem after another and you call me a troll. Classic.

      • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:54 PM

        Find one collision last year in which a catcher dropped the ball as a result and the runner was safe, when the runner would not have been safe had he slid into the plate.

        There were injuries to catchers last year because of collisions. See if you can find one instance in which a collision effected a change in result last year. Hell, even in that Posey play, Cousins is easily safe if he just slides to the open base….he got himself out by running choosing to assault the catcher.

      • stex52 - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Well, you know what they say. Troll is as troll does.

    • rje49 - Dec 12, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Would anyone recommend 2nd basemen or shortstops block the 2nd base on base-stealing attempts? Then why at home?

  2. bunkerhillbob - Dec 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    I think the new rule will be good, once they get it worked out. Take the football aspect out of it.

  3. marketingforcontractors - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    There were more than 10 times as many injuries to catchers that required trips to the DL from foul tips as from collisions at home plate. When are they going to outlaw foul tips? Almost all of those injuries were concussions that resulted from the use of the new titanium masks. When are they going ban titanium masks?

    There were 21 times more injuries requiring time on the DL from headfirst slides. In fact there were 7 times as many concussions from headfirst slides as from collisions at home plate. When are they going to ban headfirst slides?

    The fact is they are not doing this for the good or the game or the health of the players. If they were there would be a lot of other changes being made instead of this one. They are doing it for the publicity value.

    • cur68 - Dec 12, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      This is a tired argument. “If-you-can’t-fix-everything, fix-nothing” is not a sound reason set.

      • marketingforcontractors - Dec 12, 2013 at 6:41 PM

        Its a “FIX THE REAL PROBLEMS FIRST” argument.

        Collisions at home plate are NOT an issue in the game if you are trying to protect the health of the players. There are simply not enough of them to be an issue. 2 per SEASON result in trips to the DL on average. TWO!

        There were 44 trips to the DL that resulted from head first slides in 2013. Forty Four!

        Fix the real problems, not the most visible.

        So your argument is specious at best and certainly not sound reasoning.

      • cur68 - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:01 PM

        Sliding into a bag is choice and a teachable skill and should be left up to teams to police (that last is just an off the cuff opinion: it may change. And, on thinking about it, I think you might have a point: perhaps the league SHOULD intervene and mandate feet first slides?)

        Its not the issue before us, though. Crashing into a catcher is LEAGUE problem. Its a rules violation. Fielder interference. Regardless of the harm to the catcher, there’s no room in the rules or the game for tackling. Hence this isn’t a specious argument, merely one that’s on point. Unlike yours (which has some merit, I’ll grant you).

      • Tim OShenko - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        marketingforcontractors,

        While your “fix the real problems first” attitude is admirable, and I agree that MLB should do whatever possible to address them, I also feel that it’s a healthy attitude to fix any problem that’s fixable, as soon as possible.

        So yes, MLB should enforce the use of a safer mask than the titanium models, and yes, they should address the issue of head-first slides. But home plate collisions, however rare they result in injury, are also a “real problem,” and one which can be fixed even while working on solutions to other safety concerns.

        I don’t fault you for your cynicism, and agree there are larger issues that need fixin’, but I think this ban is a good step in the right direction.

      • Francisco (FC) - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:04 PM

        As if fixing the problems at home plate somehow prevents MLB from also looking at other things at the same time.

  4. bullpensendup - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    OK, they are after safety and don’t want people getting hurt. And maybe I missed something: Guys are trying like hell to score. Does the catcher then allow that? Can the catcher “tag” from the side only? Or, at all? I guess the game will become like field hockey in the long run. They probably will end up using a “softer” ball to alleviate, well, you know, the danger that getting hit by one poses. The “hot” corner at third will become pillow soft and short will be picking plums. Brave New World is here.

  5. bullpensendup - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    OK, they are after safety and don’t want people getting hurt. And maybe I missed something: Guys are trying like hell to score. Does the catcher then allow that? Can the catcher “tag” from the side only? Or, at all? I guess the game will become like field hockey in the long run. They probably will end up using a “softer” ball to alleviate, well, you know, the danger that getting hit by one poses. The “hot” corner at third will become pillow soft and short will be picking plums. Brave New World is here…

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  7. mychiefs58 - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    the rate of injury from home plate collisions isn’t the issue. the severity, or possibility, of the damage is the issue. if you pay someone 100 million dollars to play the game, you don’t want to lose that to something that can be eliminated without really changing the game drastically.

    now, i know the supporters are going to say it does change it drastically, but at every other base and place on the field, opposing players cannot contact each other. why shouldn’t that also be true at home plate? you can’t block first on a close ground ball. why not? if the home plate block is essential, then it should be at every other base.

    i’m not for every change our sports make, but some make things better (eliminating the 2 line pass rule) and some just make sense (clamping down on throwing at batters). this will greatly reduce the chance of a catcher, or runner, being severely hurt from a collision that’s football like in force, but not padded like it, and with one player very unable to protect himself while looking to receive the ball.

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