Two days ago, Major League Baseball’s rules committee decided it was time to curtail home plate collisions.
The sight of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey losing nearly all his 2011 season because of a collision was the most jarring evidence something had to be done.
St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny talked about the concussions he suffered at the plate.
Catchers will no longer be able to block home plate and runners can’t go after catchers.
If the owners approve at their meetings next month, and the players do the same, the rules will be enforce for next season. If the players don’t approve, it will delay the implementation for a year.
Manager Buck Showalter was happy to see the new rule approved. He wouldn’t want to lose Matt Wieters unnecessarily.
Showalter always has questions about new rules. He’s been talking about the replay procedures for months.
Obviously, he has questions.
“How do you define blocking the plate? There’s so many gray areas,” he says.
“Is it in a rundown, if you run somebody over, is that a collision?”
Overall, Showalter is for it.
“Protecting the catchers and trying to take some of the maliciousness out of it. And bottom line, having our catchers around for our fans to enjoy more, I'm for it,” Showalter said.
“I tell you, ten years ago I may not have said that, it's part of the game. If you teach it right and whatever. Now after I see some of these collisions where basically the catcher has got no chance, and it's going to be somewhere similar to football, where certain type of tackles, the guy is going out of the game. I’m all for it.”
Sandy Alderson, who is the head of MLB’s rules committee, said penalties will vary.
"I think there will be two levels of enforcement," Alderson said. "One will be with respect to whether the runner is declared safe or out based on conduct. So, for example, intentionally running over the catcher might result in an out call. So I think that the enforcement will be on the field as well as subsequent consequences in the form of fines and suspensions and the like."