|Pete Rose slams into catcher Ray Fosse |
in the 1970 All-Star Game.
Jeff Berry, the agent for the San Francisco Giants' catcher, likened collisions at the plate to helmet-to-helmet hits in the NFL. He called for an end to the practice of runners slamming into catchers. The debate has started. Jim Rice, the Boston Red Sox star of the 1970s and '80s, has already weighed in, saying such plays are a part of the game.
I don't know when base runners first decided slamming into the catcher was a good idea. The first time I remember it being controversial was Pete Rose's destruction of Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star Game. Mostly I remember the controversy being about whether such a rough play had a place in a game that doesn't count in the standings.
Plays at the plate are among the most exciting. The crowd is roaring, the catcher is waiting for the ball and the runner is barreling toward him. The moment when ball and runner arrive at the plate is thrilling. The results, like last night, can be devastating for the catcher. Sometimes, of course, the runner gets the worst of it. Nyjer Morgan, of the Milwaukee Brewers, was injured earlier this season scoring a key run. Last year, Morgan ignited a brawl on a similar play.
In the more than 40 years I have been watching big league ball, collisions at the plate have been part of the game. With emotions raw, sometimes they have sparked fights. It's a shame when someone gets injured. But now a star has been injured.
Will baseball change its rules? I wouldn't think so. But when a star gets injured you never know. Certainly the vote from the Bay Area would be for a change.
If a change is decided on, baseball need look nor further than the NCAA, which outlaws a runner from lowering his shoulder into a catcher who is blocking the plate while in possession of the ball. The colleges still allow collisions, but ban the most violent kind. The replay of the Posey play shows him blocking the plate before the ball arrives. So maybe no rules would have helped him.
Maybe it's worth considering.