Did you see the collision at home plate in Thursday's ALCS game 5? There were two of them actually. The first featured Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera slamming into the Red Sox catcher David Ross in an unsuccessful attempt to knock the ball out of his hand. Fortunately, neither player was hurt. But everybody will remember the second such collision, David Ross, unsuccessfully slamming into Tiger Alex Avila. David Ross, a hard nosed competitor with respect for his fellow catchers, although tagged out, butt slapped Avila as a sign of respect for Avila being able to hold on to the ball. This time, there was an injury. Avila had to later leave the game, and is day to day at this point as far as being able to return to play.
Neither Ross, nor Avila did anything wrong under the rules of the game. Although fielders cannot stand in the base paths in front of first, second, or third base, a catcher can block home plate. And although runners cannot intentionally knock over an infielder, they can slam into the catcher. Thus, if a catcher fails to block home plate, at least in a situation that matters, he would be seen as wimp. Likewise, a runner that does not slam into a catcher would be viewed likewise. But is this really the way things should be?
Jim Caple, of ESPN.com has posted an article on this issue.
A home plate collision may excite the fans, but they are dangerous. Over the years, we have seen concussions, other serious injuries, sometimes career threatening injuries. This is baseball, not football, and these players do not wear the protection that football players do, and are thus extremely vulnerable in any sort of collision. If we just make it against the rules to block the plate, we can save both catcher and runners from serious injuries.
This is what the new rule should be: Home plate is the same as any other base. The catcher is the same as any other fielder. The runner must slide. The catcher cannot block the plate. The runner cannot slam into the catcher.I only hope that the inevitable talk that has come as a result might lead to a rule change.