The fiasco that is the rule prohibiting catchers blocking home plate before they have possession of the baseball has caused heads to spin from people who play and follow baseball. It is the latest call by those who have no interest in sports but feel they have every right to control it.
When the rule was first put in place, the idea was to eliminate collisions at home plate where the base runner delivers a body check on the catcher in order to prevent him from being tagged out. Home plate collisions are considerably down from last season but the way the rule is being enforced is a farce. In many cases, the catcher is in the right position to receive a throw and make the tag. But it appears the catcher has no right to stand on or near the plate unless he has the ball. If that is the case, there should be no attempt to block any other base on the diamond especially first base where a majority of pick offs are made there. The first baseman should not be on the base when there is a pick off attempt. Call it like it is.
The violent nature of sport has been in the crosshairs of “doctors”, safety groups, and media types over the last number of years. They don’t seem to like the fact that physical contact is the reason people watch sports. A lot do result in injuries but that is the risk of playing sports. That’s not a cliché, that’s the truth. ESPN’s Jason Whitlock, for one, likes the home plate rule. I hear him continually beating the drum that players and managers should stop “whining” and follow the rules but offers no explanation for justifying its existence. This from a so-called sports journalist.
Baseball is not the only sport getting overwhelmed about safety concerns. The NFL is going through its own head contact and concussion problems. Their rules are also as clear as mud. And then there’s hockey. Where do I begin there?
Even if the rules were made by those who played the game, I don’t think the end result is what they had in mind. But I suppose they have to toe the line and be quiet or they will be ridiculed, or worse, out of a job. Regardless, these rules about safety will do more to kill the game rather than saving it. Go thank a “doctor” for that.