The Play at the Plate

The rumors were put to rest Feb. 24, 2014 when the Major League Baseball Association enacted the official home plate collision rule. According to Paul Hagen from MLB.com, “the rule is intended to increase player safety by eliminating ‘egregious’ collisions at home plate.” So, runners cannot run out of the baseline to initiate contact with the catcher while heading home. The catcher may not block the pathway of the runner attempting to score unless he has possession of the ball. This puts all the pressure on the umpire for the call at the plate. Vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre added that “MLB has the right to issue supplemental discipline in the form of fines or suspensions for flagrant acts.”

Several St. Bonaventure baseball players commented on their thoughts regarding this new rule. Bonnie’s second baseman Tom Styn states, “this rule gets rid of the thrill. Although there’s been some injuries from collisions, it’s not often enough to change one of the most exciting plays in baseball.”

Bonnie’s catcher Brad Gresock has a different opinion. He states, “I think this rule is long overdue. I understand the excitement, but this play leaves the catcher vulnerable to a runner coming with full momentum and intentions to cause injury to him.”

Gresock played catcher throughout high school and suffered two concussions due to collisions. Both times he got a knee to the head. These two injuries caused him to miss games in the regular season, and one playoff game. Obviously, he would have rather been playing than sitting on the bench.

Gresock adds, “The gear we wear is not made for body collisions like football or hockey pads. They’re made for stopping a baseball not a human body.”

Both Styn and Gresock agree to Torre’s statement on discipline. They say that fines and/or suspensions are reasonable if the player’s actions seem to be intentional. Gresock says, “players should automatically be ejected from the game if they violate this rule for safety reasons.”

– Laura Camera

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