Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the issue of home plate collisions being banned

Good!

MLB said that the idea first arose during the General Managers Meetings in November.

Actually... the idea was in an annual Baseball Abstract by Bill James in the 1980s.  He pointed out that the rules are the same on any base, yet only enforced on three of them-- that being that the fielder can't block the runner if he doesn't already have the ball.  The tradition of the catcher positioning himself in front of the plate while awaiting the throw has ALWAYS been illegal.  It just hasn't been enforced by umpires for some reason.

Matt and I saw a game this year between the Bucs and the Fish, where a catcher received the throw, then took the collision and held onto the ball.  It was actually awesome because his technique was perfect.  Instead of trying to stand his ground against the hit, he initiated the roll backwards himself and flipped the runner over him.  It was much like the Judo principle of transferring your opponents momentum instead of absorbing it.  Looked beautiful and fairly safe.  However, I don't trust that enough guys would learn that technique or execute it, and instead you'd have plays that just don't need to happen. 

BUT FRANCO!!!  The plays at the plate are so exciting!!

Shut up, yes they are.  But they'll still be pretty good, even if they aren't violent.  The thing about baseball is that it's like 98% not violent.  So changing this little thing doesn't really undermine the fundamental appeal of the sport. 

Good work, Baseball.  You have managed to do something pretty sensible!

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