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.