Play At The Plate…Heeeeee’s…Under Further Review

I like seeking out opinions and viewpoints radically different from mine.  Consider it personal growth.  Reading and hearing them in some cases makes me feel my stance has been strengthened.  In some cases, I consider altering…or even changing my stance.

Which brings us to the catcher’s stance at home plate as a runner is bearing down upon him.  And why Major League Baseball’s stance on the play at the plate is bad posture indeed.

I already had formed a completely negative opinion on trying to regulate one of the most exciting plays in the sport with possible ejections, fines, suspensions…and God help us all,…replays.  And then I read one counter to my position.

Which started off with…“I can hear the old-timers grumbling from their graves.”

Cue this old-timer.

I don’t want to see athletes get unnecessarily hurt.  Consider my take on Josh Hamilton’s head-first dash to the DL in 2011.

But I don’t want to see the game fundamentally change because someone might.  Quite frankly…if I hear one more report about concussions we should take everyone off every field in every endeavor and call it a day.  Sports of any kind carries risk.  So does getting up in the morning.

This old-timer was on both sides of collisions when I played baseball.  I once was catching a pop-up straddling the first-base line when a runner blew me up.  I retained the ball, got the out…and a few smelling salts later retained my senses…albeit feeling stupid for not making the play easier on myself.  I also slid into a third-baseman once with the expressed intent of separating him from the baseball, which he already had.  I did.  He got hurt.  He made a decision to take a stance.  I – successfully – took issue with his.

Major League Baseball features the best-of-the-best, the cream-of-the-crop.  Should we not allow them the courtesy to formulate their own stances on how to address these bang-bang plays on the base paths, especially when on the verge of scoring a run?

“Old-time” Catcher A.J. Pierzynski courtesy of USA Today…”I disagree with it.  I understand why they’re doing it but next they’re going to tell us that you can’t slide into the guy at second base.  There are going to be plays at the plate, late in games, where you need to block the plate, saving a run that ultimately gets your team into the playoffs.  And not given that opportunity is unfair.  I understand why the rule is made but I wish there was a better way to go about it.”

As if umpires also don’t have enough to concern themselves with.  Replay?  Yeah, that always sets things right…do not get me running towards that target right now.

The dumbest thing about all this over-regulation is if you slide you apparently still pretty much get a free pass to make contact at the plate the way baseball should be played…with the two combatants deciding the outcome.  But what if the slide is aggressive?  Or late?  Bottom line on this is we should get to see the pros play it out…not watch it play out afterwards on a monitor somewhere before a final, flawed verdict is rendered.

Home (plate) is where the heart is.  The heart of baseball.

Oh, the last word on that 180 degree-from-me opinion I read…“If you want brute collisions go watch the NFL.”

I would…but they’re in the process of making that sport unrecognizable also.

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13 Responses to Play At The Plate…Heeeeee’s…Under Further Review

  1. Longworth72 says:

    This is a difficult thing to regulate and to be honest I’m a little confused by it – As a soccer goalkeeper I often had to rush out at an attacker’s feet to smother a shot. I don’t recall ever being worried about concussion, but as I slid in I was aware that my legs and my knees in particular were vulnerable – A knee injury would have been a season-ending nightmare. That said, I can’t think of a rule change that would have made it safer, bar just gifting the attacker a goal.

    I would like to get you started on the replay thing, if only to read a Sportsattitude blast – We’ve had it in cricket for some time and I’m struggling to understand what it adds to baseball. They’re similar sports, both with a rhythm. Replays stuff that up and they don’t really fix up errors to the benefit of the game.

  2. I have a feeling the replay “blast” is coming, especially with baseball now embracing it more. I find on NFL replays I feel they get them wrong about 25% of the time. It is absolutely killing the end of college basketball games…which already lost their rhythm years and years ago…

  3. I agree – there are risks to life. You take calculated risks with sports. Good conditioning, good skills ( and coming down hard on those who hurt others out of grudges). The game is the game. Replays do interrupt the rhythm, flow, and energy.

  4. SportsChump says:

    What I don’t understand, man, is the fact that a catcher is no longer allowed to position himself in front of the plate if he doesn’t have the ball.

    Well then, where exactly is he supposed to stand and where is the fielder supposed to throw the ball?

    I get they’re trying to protect their players but this really makes no sense.

    And the pussification of professional sports continues.

    • Couldn’t agree more Chris. So much overthinking required now on the part of all parties…for a play that is challenging enough to make an accurate call on.

      • SportsChump says:

        If they really want to fix the rule, it’s simple.

        No barreling into the catcher.

        It’s the damn base-runner’s fault.

        I don’t understand why they’re penalizing the catcher.

  5. Opening day for baseball – not sure if the roof will stay open or not here. Definite sign of spring…if the snow would slow a bit many would be very glad….will not complain about all the fog which does not have to be shoveled

  6. Al, I saw a lot of mention recently in the press about Sixers fans during the losing streak. Since you can count them on one hand at this point I’m not sure what the fuss is. It’s been a long time since the franchise has been remotely relevant and most of the fan base (me included) has turned their remotes…and wallets…elsewhere.

  7. thycriticman says:

    I do not know a ton about baseball hence why I have been bad at returning a reply (Which I like to do)! However, I will point out that I hate this whole “Let’s wimplify every sport” argument. Folks are being fined for everything these days in every single sport including the staged entertainment ones such as wrestling. I understand the safety thing and it is extremely important….

    But sometimes it seems that they take things too far! Years from now, the players are going to be wearing body armor. Guaranteed!

  8. It’s drafty, so I wandered back over to see
    What ever happened when there were distinct seasons for baseball, football, and basketball – and none of them overlapped….much easier to focus and keep up

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