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Johnny Bench is a big fan of the new rule eliminating home plate collisions

Dec 13, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT

Arguments from authority are always worth questioning. Just because someone is of a certain status or experience doesn’t make them right about things. But when it comes to home plate collisions, I’m sorta inclined to defer to the greatest catcher in the history of the game.

Hall of Famer Johnny Bench was on the Dan Patrick Show today to share his thoughts on the MLB’s decision to ban home plate collisions, saying that he is happy something is finally being done about the dangerous play. Watch:

  1. 18thstreet - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Well, sure. But what does Nick Cafardo think?

    • historiophiliac - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      He thinks
      You stink.

      Sorry, must be a little girl at home.

    • fanofevilempire - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      The only people who don’t like the rule is the people who don’t have to take that hit.
      MLB got this right, you can’t do this at any other base.

      • chew1985 - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        Exactly Amigo.

        Fewer catcher injuries and longer catcher careers will result. Those guys take enough of a beating on an everyday basis.

      • Marty McKee - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        You can do this at any other base, can’t you, if the fielder is standing in front of it without the ball? Like catchers do.

  2. greymares - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    Don’t forget to take dementia into account people his and my age have been known to have it. Lol.

    • hittfamily - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      And interwebbers have been know to drop a deuce on the keyboard and have words form.

  3. missthemexpos - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    “Greatest catcher in the history of the game” … you mean it’s not J.P. Arencibia!

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      I expected you to mention The Kid.

  4. jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Lots of folks here will recall that Bench ascribed the blame to Posey for his injury because Buster was “laying in front of home plate, and it’s like having a disabled car in the middle of a four-lane highway.” Many took this to mean that Posey was in the wrong place (e.g. inappropriately “blocking the plate”), but that isn’t what the clips of the play show, and that isn’t what Bench said.

    Posey was defenseless against the collision with Cousins not because of where he was, but because of how he was positioned: he was on his knees and could not step into the collision or brace himself against it. Bench said, “My catchers… stand away from home plate and work back to the plate… You can always catch the ball and step, or step and catch the ball…” But not if you’re on both knees, as Posey was, while Cousins was homing in.

    So, there you go: a good read from a good authority.

    • paperlions - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      Little inconsistent of Bench….and by a little, I mean a lot. First, Posey was in front of the plate, he was not between Cousins and the plate. Second, Posey was in the process of fielding the ball and was positioned to make a swipe tag, not to block the plate. Third, in the interview above, Bench says that sometimes you just can’t get out of the way or defend yourself because of where and when the throw comes in, and he gives an example of this happening to him.

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Bench does in fact say that Posey was “in front of home plate”. Literally. Just as you did.

        But yes, It’ll be interesting to examine the new rule with an eye toward what’s supposed to happen when moving toward the ball at it comes in requires the catcher to move into or through the baseline, as in the Rose/Fosse case. If a collision occurs in that case, does that definitively become obstruction?

      • stex52 - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:57 PM

        Sounds to me like someone asked Bench and he hadn’t paid much attention to it so he just spit out an answer. As you say, his diagnosis doesn’t quite fit the facts. But it certainly is true, as he says on three, that sometimes the ball is where the runner is. That will still be a dilemma in this case.

      • davidpom50 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        paperlions, I don’t think it’s inconsistent at all… He’s saying that in Posey’s case, had he been properly positioned, he might’ve been able to avoid the hit or take less damage from the hit. Just because there are times when you can’t get out of the way doesn’t mean that Posey’s injury was one of those times.

        Also, I don’t think he’s blaming Posey so much as saying that there’s things a catcher can do to protect himself when a collision comes. If I suggest that someone lock their front door to prevent a robbery, that doesn’t mean I think it’s their fault if they get robbed. It just means they could’ve done something to lower the chances of getting robbed.

  5. superpriebe - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    “Whoever in discussion adduces authority uses not intellect but rather memory.”
    -Leonardo da Vinci

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      I’m so confused. Is citing da Vinci to make a point about appeal to authority in and of itself an appeal to authority?

      • jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        I can’t remember.

      • silversun60 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        My head literally exploded when I read that.

      • scatterbrian - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM


      • The Dangerous Mabry - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Scatterbrain, your head may literally explode when you read the updated definition of literally:

        I know mine did.

      • scatterbrian - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:33 PM


        Up next is irony being defined as “coincidence”.

  6. Marty McKee - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    I haven’t watched the clip (I’m at work), but why is Johnny wearing a Barry Larkin cap?

    P.S. Bench is my all-time favorite player.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      2012 HOF induction ceremony. That’s the out-of-focus HOF logo in the background.

  7. mmeyer3387 - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I’m not sure what Bench may have said in the past or if Posey’s injury was his fault. What I do know is that I’m a fan of the game and I think this is a good rule. Clearly, this rule is good for the players because they may not be injured in the future and fans like myself can enjoy watching them playing just a little bit longer. These factors translate into a big win for the game ,players, and fans alike..

  8. scatterbrian - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I’m more curious about Ray Fosse’s opinion.

  9. jm91rs - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Does Johnny Bench really have a 4 year old kid?

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      Fourth wife, two young kids, says he.

  10. chinahand11 - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    1. I agree with the new rule.
    2. I agree that Johnny Bench is the greatest catcher of all time.
    3. I agree with da Vinci too, although I must admit it took me a minute to decipher that.

  11. myhawks1976 - Dec 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    all due respect to Mr. Bench. the Big Red Machine was awesome and he certainly has the longevity of playing at a high level for a ling time…

    but greatest catcher ever? really?

    I think there may be a guy who goes by the name of “pudge” who needs to be mentioned in that conversation. he had every bit the arm, plus some, that bench did, and had some pretty stout offensive years himself.

    during his prime, Lofton wouldnt run on pudge.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:12 PM

      Yogi says, “Yoo-Hoo.”

    • chinahand11 - Dec 13, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Perhaps I over reached on that statement, but I believe Bench was a better catcher than Pudge, and a better catcher then Yogi. Both of those guys played longer than Bench, but I do believe he was the best. Certainly he popularized picking guys off base.

    • dinofrank60 - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      But Lofton wouldn’t take a decent lead against Bench.

  12. yahmule - Dec 13, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    It’s a good rule, I guess, I dunno. When I was playing little league baseball back in the mid 70s, crashing into 10-15 year old catchers was perfectly legal. I was on both ends of that action. Leverage is your friend. I got a tutorial growing up watching Cedeno, Bando, Parker and others try to blast Steve Yeager through the backstop.

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