Everybody knows the type of danger players face when there is a head-on collision at home plate. Most of the time it’s the catcher that pays the price by trying to prevent the opposing team from scoring.
To be a catcher in this league, you pretty much need to be able to withstand the same type of punishment that a starting quarterback in the NFL would have to endure.
Those behind the plate are usually the ones who keep the rest of the team’s heads in the game while they’re on the field. And most of them are usually the first ones to step up and get in someone’s face if there’s a conflict.
Besides pitching, this position has to be the most respected position on the roster even if it isn’t a big name star.
They’re constantly taking shots to the body no matter if it’s a foul tip off the mask, body part that isn’t protected by gear or taking a bat to the head during a players follow through.
Over the last couple of seasons we’ve seen some of the leagues top catchers fall to injuries. Most recently, former MVP and Minnesota Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer fell victim.
Mauer will be moving from catcher to first base because of concussions he’s sustained while playing the position. Anytime there’s a play at the plate, there’s usually just a split second in between fielding the ball and bracing themselves for the collision itself.
Another former MVP in San Francisco was severely injured during a play at the plate which resulted in his leg pretty much being snapped in two. Posey sustained the injury on May 25th, 2011 and missed the remainder of the year.
I still have a hard time watching the footage.
Just because they’re somewhat covered in protective gear, doesn’t make it any safer. These collisions at the plate are no different than car accidents. I mean, these guys aren’t Transformers but most of these players can run up to 20-25 mph.
We’ve seen sports across the globe try to make things safer. Mainly the National Football League who started to penalize, fine and even suspend players when it comes to helmet to helmet hits over the last couple of seasons. They’ve even adopted a concussion protocol which requires players to pass some tests before they’re cleared to return to practice or any type of live action.
The National Football League went as far as eliminating running backs from using the crown of their helmet to help pick up extra yardage. Now when it comes to Major League Baseball, it’s about time they finally do something about one of the most vicious plays in this sport.
“This is, I think, in answer to a few issues that have arisen. One is just the general occurrence of injuries from these incidents that affected players, both runners and catchers. And also kind of the general concern about concussions that exists not only in baseball but throughout professional sports and amateur sports today. It’s an emerging issue, and one that we in baseball have to address as well as other sports. So that’s part of the impetus for this rule change as well.” New York Mets manager Sandy Alderson via MLB.com.
I imagine some people will be upset with this rule change due to the fact that home plate collisions have always been apart of the game. But athletes are getting bigger, stronger and faster which would eventually lead to something far worse than a broken league or concussion. It’s time to start thinking about these guys as human beings and more importantly, Fathers.
This is a great move by the league and I support the decision 100%. They won’t have any lawsuits on their hands like the National Football League does.
Oh and here’s a video of some of the most vicious collisions at home plate.