Story courtesy of BITOBACA.com
Major League baseball is making some meaningful changes to the home plate collision rules that should protect players from malicious and "egregious" hits at the plate.
The new rule (7:13)
Alex Avila gets bowled over by David Ross in last year's post-season
unveiled today does not completely eliminate home plate collisions which I ENTHUSIASTICALLY applaud. The rule allows a base-runner to collide with catcher if the catcher is blocking the plate without the ball. This ruling will be under the umpire's discretion. The new rule also falls under the new replay rules for MLB, which means umpires can rule on the play and then review their call to make sure it is correct.
The new rule allows the umpire to call the base-runner safe if the catcher is blocking home plate without the ball and the runner has to deviate from his path to home-plate. Umpires can also call base-runners out if they intentionally deviate from their path toward the plate and "go-after" or "hit" the catcher even if the catcher drops the ball. This will solely be at the umpires discretion, as well, and is subject to the replay rules.
I really like how this rule preserves the home-plate collision while also acknowledging the game has to change to protect players from needless and senseless injuries. The integrity of the game is protected with the inclusion of the home-plate collision. We have all seen runners go out of their way to drill the catcher, but we have also seen catchers block home plate without the ball. They should not be immune to getting drilled by a base-runner who is trying to score. No longer will catcher's be able to take liberties in blocking the plate without the ball, and no longer can base-runners declare open season on catchers.
None of us want to see players get injured with malicious hits at home-plate, especially with the added emphasis in protecting players from concussions. But, there are times the "game" calls for a collision at home-plate if a catcher tries locking down the dish on a close play at the plate. This new rule, if interpreted correctly, should allow for the safety of the players and for physical and aggressive play when the situation dictates.