It’s one thing for there to be a good, clean, close play at home plate; but it’s another matter when a runner purposely tries to bowl over the catcher. And it’s time for MLB to act on this issue.
We all remember these plays and some relish them while others recoil at the thought of their favorite catcher getting hammered in a play that could have been prevented.
I’m all for a clean play, but putting careers and injuries on the line with a bowl-over collision is just not good sportsmanship or good baseball. If I’m a coach, I’m teaching my catchers how to avoid injury at the plate, and so, many teams, if not all, are doing just that.
Baseball is not geared or made up to be a contact sport, and the protective gear that players and catchers wear does not protect them enough in these collisions to prevent sudden and career threatening injury.
Right now, the higher powers in the MLB are seeking to change the rule to protect the players. It’s doubtful that it will be in time for the 2014 season, but perhaps some miracle will happen and we’ll get some resolution soon.
And there is controversy surrounding this. Some feel collisions are part of the game and should be left alone. Others feel that there should be rules that preclude such collisions in order to protect the players.
Runners are told to score, and are only doing what they are trained to do, what is expected. There is no blame here to lodge against runners at all. They just need to be re-trained to avoid the massive collision that puts players careers on the line.
The play at the plate is exciting and is as good as it gets in baseball. We just need to add a comfortable level of protection for both the runner and catcher, so they both can advance their playing time and continue to be of value for their team.