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:
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.