What was expected to be a very quiet Winter Meetings in comparison to previous years turned out to be…well, quiet. So much so that one of the biggest news bits to come out of the 4 days in Orlando was not a new contract, extension, or trade. Rather, we will be seeing a new rule change in effect this upcoming year. No longer will we see Alex Avila be removed from a playoff game because of this. We have seen our last Buster Posey injury due to this. Per Major League Baseball, the home plate collision is no longer legal. What was initially thought of as a minute detail has caused quite the rippling effect with quite polarizing views.
A lot of the more hardcore enthusiasts have been throwing out the “It’s always been a part of the game” line while they get red in the face. Certainly they aren’t lying in that regard, however with the advance in medical technology and knowledge of certain side effects of a collision; we now realize the potential long terms effects of collisions at home plate. Millions of dollars have been put into concussion research over the last few years to staggering results. A good example is in the football tackling rule changes. Sure, this little iota may have changed, but any preemptive measures taken to ensure not only career longevity, but a comfortable lifestyle post career are measures worth looking into. These are human beings. That collision in a game in June won’t be worth it to either man 10 years from now. Professional base-runners will have to learn to adjust. Michigan High School players and many little leaguers have been playing with this rule for years. The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) currently implements a slide rule where the runner must avoid contact. In professional baseball, there will more than likely be specific rules put in place with regards to how a catcher may or may not be allowed to block the plate as well. This learning process will be worth it in the long run.
To learn proper techniques on how to save a run and every other facet to catching, come to our Catchers’ Club, starting January 4th and running every Saturday from 4-5 pm until February 1st. Catchers can expect to learn it all from receiving, throwing out runners, blocking balls and the ever important calling a game. To register, call us at Total Baseball or register online through MySam.