Major League Baseball is banning home plate collisions

Home plate collisions are about to be a thing of the past, and that's a good thing

12/12/13 in MLB   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Oct 17, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila (13) holds onto the ball and tags out Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross (3) at home plate during the second inning in game five of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsSome people aren't too thrilled about the idea of MLB getting rid of home plate collisions. Personally, I don't understand how anyone could possibly oppose this idea. It makes sense in every way, and doesn't effect the integrity of the game in even the slightest way.

Knowing what we know about the effects of concussions in 2013, it's hard to fathom that someone would want to risk that just to potentially save a run in a baseball game. After seeing Alex Avila struggle through the end of the ALCS after being trucked by David Ross early in the series, why would anyone really want that to happen again?

Baseball isn't a contact sport. For some reason, there are people who think physicality is the most important aspect of sports. They'll sit there until they're blue in the face, singing the praises of hockey and/or football solely because they believe that the players are the toughest in all of sports. But is that really the point?

If you're truly a baseball fan, you should have no rooting interest whatsoever in who is or isn't the 'toughest' guy on the field, as it relates to their ability to smash into a catcher and/or take a brutal hit from a baserunner trying to get to home plate.

Pete Rose, who essentially ended Ray Fosse's career with a home plate collision in an exhibition game, is (not surprisingly) pretty vocal against MLB's campaign to eliminate collisions:
"What are they going to do next, you can't break up a double play? You're not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you're not allowed to try to be safe at home plate? What's the game coming to? Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball."

Rose's comments are indicative of someone who is so completely locked in to the asinine mentality that baseball should unnecessarily be a contact sport that he's blind to the obvious solution right in front of his eyes.

Rose is looking at the new proposed rule and thinking that now catchers will be able to block the plate, and runners will have no way to avoid the tag.


The base runners will be allowed a clear path to home plate, just like every other base. The catcher can make a force play by stepping on home plate, just like any other base, or he can tag the runner. Just like any other base. It's not simple, unless you're Pete Rose and you've taken a few too many hits to the head.

If a catcher is blocking the plate and doesn't allow the runner to have access to the bag, particularly when he doesn't actually have the ball, there's a very simple solution. It would be interference, and the runner would be granted home plate automatically by the umpire. Just like any other base. It's not difficult.

If you're a defensive lineman, a linebacker, or a hockey enforcer, toughness and the ability to deliver big hits is a valuable skill. If you're an MLB player, that's not actually a skill that you truly need to be a great player. Why take pride in something that's completely irrelevant to the game?

There's more to sports than just raw toughness and ability to inflict pain on another human being. Baseball requires a varied set of very specific skills, and the guys who are able to play at the highest level are incredibly talented people. If you're a true fan of the game, you can appreciate that without having to see them plow over a catcher who is trying to make a play.

There will be incidental contact at some point in the near future, and there might be fines and suspensions that seem a little suspicious but for the most part, this is a great move by MLB. Baseball isn't a contact sport. We're missing absolutely nothing by taking collisions out of the game.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

12/13/13   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

One other thing...   If this rule is a result of the sudden concern for player concussions they are barking up the wrong tree with the collision thing.  There is far more damage done to catchers from foul tips and other such contact that comes from squatting next to the hitter than will ever come from home plate collisions. 

12/12/13   |   jaysinw   |   4976 respect

Pete Rose was not the toughest player in MLB, instead he was one of the hardest playing. Collisions at home never had anything to do with who is tougher.

'Much remains unknown about the injury, which usually heals within a week but sometimes lingers for months. Barry Jordan, director of the Brain Injury Program at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, N.Y., said."no two concussions are identical simply because some people are more predisposed to sustain them than others."

Romine incurred his 2011 concussion from a collision at the plate, but his latest and the large majority come as a result of foul tips off the mask. That was the case in nine of the 10 head-injury-related trips to the DL among catchers this season

So 9 out of 10 catchers got his concussion because of a foul tip and you are talking about stopping collisions at home to protect the catcher from getting one?? 

Little League does not allow collisions and still catchers get concussions because it does not take a hard hit to get a concussion. 

12/12/13   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

From what I read of the Rose comments, that is not what he is thinking at all.  Just the opposite in fact.  He is thinking catchers will no longer be able to block home plate with the ball in hand or mitt. 

On the surface, I'm not a fan of taking home plate collisions out of the game.  But I will reserve final judgement until I hear what exactly the owners have in mind.  This sort of thing will need to be spelled out EXACTLY or it won't work.  Players need to know what they can and cannot do.  To the letter.