The close play at the plate is arguably the most exciting play in baseball aside from the walk-off home-run. But after the catastrophic injury NL Rookie of the Year catcher Buster Posey suffered in a collision, his agent is asking the MLB to take running the catcher out of the game.
When Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins ran Buster Posey, he certainly didn’t think the play would end the young catcher’s season. Posey suffered a fracture in his leg and will miss the remainder of the season and a chance to help the Giants defend their World Series championship.
Running the catcher is as much a tradition in the game of baseball as stealing signs. Even though the rules of the game state that the catcher isn’t technically allowed to block the plate, it’s common-place. Major League catchers know that during any close play at the plate, they could be in for a train wreck collision.
Over forty years ago, Pete Rose famously ran Ray Fosse in the Mid Summer Classic and put a damper on his once promising career. The MLB didn’t change the rules then and it’s hard to see them changing the rules now. Not surprisingly, Posey’s agent Jeff Berry is calling for the MLB to take that dangerous play out of the game.
If the MLB is going to remove collisions at the plate, then they’ll have to consider outlawing players sliding to disrupt the double play at second base as well. It seems every major sport is becoming softer. Perhaps they have to. Not only are players becoming stronger and faster these days, but they`re worth more too.
The NFL and NHL are outlawing hits to the head, could Major League Baseball flinch on this and remove one of the oldest traditions in the game?
It’s not a simple fix. If a catcher is blocking home-plate, there’s not much a base-runner can do to get to the plate on a bang-bang play. I’m not sure how fans would feel about a runner pulling up and accepting a tag out just because he couldn’t get around the catcher without running into him.
Bud Selig managed to dodge instant replay for balls and strikes and close calls at bases, we’ll see how he handles this one.