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Debate: Home plate collision rule in baseball

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-=== Is the home plate collision rule in baseball worth preserving or scrapping? ===+=== Are home plate collisions in baseball worth preserving or banning? ===
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===Background and context === ===Background and context ===
-Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League's rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a leg fracture and torn ligaments in May of 2011 when Florida's Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game. This, along with many other injurious home plate collisions throughout baseball history have sparked a debate about the rule. +Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League's rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a season-ending leg fracture and torn ligaments in May of 2011 when Florida's Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game.[[Image:Home plate collision.jpg|left|190px]][[Image:Pete Rouse Fosse Hit.jpg|right|170px]] This, along with many other injurious home plate collisions throughout baseball history have sparked a recurring debate about whether home plate collisions should be banned. This could be done by prohibiting the catcher from blocking the plate and by prohibiting the runner from making intentional contact with the catcher (basically the same rules that apply on every other base other than home plate). Purists have responded that home plate collisions have been around for too long and are too embedded in baseball's history to change the rules now, while opponents argue that "tradition for tradition's sake" type of arguments are flawed and that banning home plate collisions would do nothing to fundamentally change the game. The issue also surrounds whether fans should find entertainment value in hits at the plate and how such physical contact relates to other sports. These and other arguments and considerations are outlined below.
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====Pro==== ====Pro====
-*'''Home base collisions are just part of the game.''' Catcher Ray Fosse: "The game has been around more than 100 years, and now they're going to start protecting catchers?"[http://www.drdavidgeier.com/should-mlb-ban-home-plate-collisions-buster-posey/]+*'''[[Argument: Home base collisions are just part of the game| Home base collisions are just part of the game]]''' Catcher Ray Fosse: "The game has been around more than 100 years, and now they're going to start protecting catchers?"[http://www.drdavidgeier.com/should-mlb-ban-home-plate-collisions-buster-posey/]
-:Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek: "Catching, you're usually not on the winning end of those. Period. Some things are part of the game. But even the people who are playing hard and are in those collisions don't want to see anybody get hurt. Some things are part of the game. There's not a whole lot you can do."[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110528/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbo_home_plate_collisions] 
:San Francisco Giants Manager Andy Skeels, a former catcher: "That’s the part of our business. You’re a catcher. There’s gonna be plays at the plate and guys are gonna try to run you over."[http://www.examiner.com/san-jose-giants-in-san-jose/sj-giants-catchers-collisions-are-part-of-the-game] :San Francisco Giants Manager Andy Skeels, a former catcher: "That’s the part of our business. You’re a catcher. There’s gonna be plays at the plate and guys are gonna try to run you over."[http://www.examiner.com/san-jose-giants-in-san-jose/sj-giants-catchers-collisions-are-part-of-the-game]
*'''Home plate collisions are essential tension of offense/defense.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "Rounding the bases, getting to home plate and putting a run on the board for your team is what the game of baseball is all about. A baserunner wants to get there at all costs, whereas a catcher wants to protect it at all costs. The mutual discomfort that's evoked in both the catcher and the baserunner as a play at the plate develops is one of the intriguing peculiarities that makes the game of baseball so great." *'''Home plate collisions are essential tension of offense/defense.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "Rounding the bases, getting to home plate and putting a run on the board for your team is what the game of baseball is all about. A baserunner wants to get there at all costs, whereas a catcher wants to protect it at all costs. The mutual discomfort that's evoked in both the catcher and the baserunner as a play at the plate develops is one of the intriguing peculiarities that makes the game of baseball so great."
-*'''Baseball is professional sport; running over catcher is fine.''' Fosse told the San Francisco Chronicle. "In high school, you can't run over the catcher. But that is high school. This is professional baseball."+*'''Home base collisions are essential characteristic of "hardball."''' [http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/buster-poseys-injury-unfortunate-but-home-plate-collisions-still-have-place-in-baseball.html Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011]: "Posey's injury isn't the first injury to result from a collision, and it likely won't be the last. It's extremely unfortunate, but it's the result of a hard-nosed play that is as old as the game itself. To take away the potential for a high-intensity, physical play in an otherwise non-physical sport would be a mistake.
-*'''Being a catcher means accepting certain inherent risks.''' [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-29/sports/29601720_1_catchers-plate-rule-change Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011]: "Catchers are catchers because they are willing to be leaders and sacrifice their bodies. You never want to see the elite ones such as Joe Mauer and Buster Posey miss a lot of time because of injuries, but that’s the nature of the position."+*'''Runners throw themselves at fielder at second base as well.''' [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-29/sports/29601720_1_catchers-plate-rule-change Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011]: "The argument has been made that at no other base does the runner launch his body at the fielder without trying to slide into the base first. Not true. When runners are trying to break up double plays, are they always near the base?" In other words, such physical contact is a part of the game beyond just at home plate.
-*'''Home base collisions are essential characteristic of "hardball."''' [http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/buster-poseys-injury-unfortunate-but-home-plate-collisions-still-have-place-in-baseball.html Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011]: "Posey's injury isn't the first injury to result from a collision, and it likely won't be the last. It's extremely unfortunate, but it's the result of a hard-nosed play that is as old as the game itself. To take away the potential for a high-intensity, physical play in an otherwise non-physical sport would be a mistake. 
 +|WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "Pro" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em;"|
 +====Con====
 +*'''Home base collisions shouldn't be preserved for tradition's sake.''' Just because it's been around for a while does not make it right or necessarily worth preserving. Tradition for tradition's sake arguments are almost always fallacious.
 +:[http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011]: "One of the most common arguments I heard was that the play had been a part of the game since its inception, and it be allowed. Tradition can be an important thing. It’s traditional to have a Thanksgiving meal with my family, and that has its rewards—family time, seeing relatives, bigger and better meal. But what’s the traditional reward here? What do we get from having this tradition? Is it exciting to see a guy get run over, and is that worth seeing catchers hurt? [...] doing something that’s always been done is a bad idea when there are better alternatives."
 +*'''Home plate contact isn't an important part of game.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011]: "Contact isn’t an important part of the game like it is in football, and it isn’t necessary at the plate."
 +*'''[[Argument: Collisions aren't allowed anywhere else; why home plate?| Collisions aren't allowed anywhere else; why home plate?]]'''
 +*'''Home plate collisions turn baseball players into gladiators.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "I was a catcher in high school, and I was trained how to block the plate while trying to keep myself alive. High School isn’t MLB, but I still found myself in a few situations where a significantly larger player was barreling towards me at full speed, and I realized that I had to stop being a baseball player and start being a gladiator. It was ridiculous to me then and is ridiculous to me now. Millar is right – if you want to watch violent collisions, you can watch football. Or hockey. Or MMA. There’s no reason baseball needs to have similar kinds of plays; it’s an entirely different sport with a different premise and different rules."
-*'''Catchers don't have to block the plate.''' They can swipe an incoming runner out just as effectively. If they ''choose'' to block the plate, than this is their choice, and they are inviting the home plate collision and the risks of injury this entails. 
-*'''Home base collisions are exciting to watch.''' [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-29/sports/29601720_1_catchers-plate-rule-change Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011]: "When they do occur, they’re exciting. We watch to see how well the catcher blocks the plate, how hard the runner slides, and whether the catcher can hold the ball. As dangerous as that play may be, it’s exciting to watch." 
-*'''Professional sports involve risks that athletes accept.''' [http://reasonsfortermination.com/?p=531 Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Reasons for Termination. May 27th, 2011]: "Why are we so concerned about changing the rules to sports (in this case an American past time) to protect athletes from injury? The emphasis here being the word “athlete.” They are athletes: major sports media seems to forget that these guys are getting paid millions of dollars to play sports. And in playing sports, injuries happen. It’s time we accept this fact and stop trying to change the game to accommodate injuries. Put it this way: let’s say you’re a baker, you get up in the morning, you kneed your dough, you put it in the oven, and out comes baguettes, croissants, what have you. One day, while you’re placing some baguettes in the oven, you burn your hand. Are the baking critics calling out “WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WAY BAKING GETS DONE, WE SHOULDN’T USE OVENS ANYMORE…IT PUTS INNOCENT BAKERS IN HARMS WAY!”? Absolutely not."+|-
 +|WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "Con" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em ;"|
 +=== Entertainment: Do collisions have good entertainment value? ===
-*'''Banning home plate collisions: slippery slope to other limitations.''' [http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/2011/05/26/someone-please-save-buster-olney-from-himself/ Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Red State Blue State. May 27th, 2011]: "Ban home plate collisions? What are you talking about, Buster? It was a freak accident. Ban home plate collisions!?! Why don’t we ban pitching inside too!?! And we should ban breaking up the double play on a hard slide into second!?! How about we ban walk-off celebrations and ban beer in the grandstands, JUST FOR FUN!?!"+|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Pro====
-*'''Injuries are part of game, don't justify rule changes.''' [http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/2011/05/26/someone-please-save-buster-olney-from-himself/ Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Red State Blue State. May 27th, 2011]: "No one likes to see people get hurt. No one. But guess what: it happens. People get hurt playing baseball all the time. Sometimes they get seriously hurt. It sucks. There’s no denying it. But that still doesn’t make it okay to go off and make drastic rule changes to the game, just because you and your worldwide leader in smut want blog traffic. Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t sugarcoated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right."+*'''Home base collisions are exciting to watch.''' [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-29/sports/29601720_1_catchers-plate-rule-change Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011]: "When they do occur, they’re exciting. We watch to see how well the catcher blocks the plate, how hard the runner slides, and whether the catcher can hold the ball. As dangerous as that play may be, it’s exciting to watch."
 +*'''Pro baseball players are paid to take risks, entertain.''' Fosse told the San Francisco Chronicle. "In high school, you can't run over the catcher. But that is high school. This is professional baseball."
-|WRITE CONTENT FOR THE "Pro" BOX ABOVE THIS CODE width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top: 0.5em;"| 
-====Con====  
-*'''Home base collisions shouldn't be preserved for tradition's sake.''' Just because it's been around for a while does not make it right or necessarily worth preserving. Tradition for tradition's sake is never fully justified. +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Con====
-:[http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011]: "One of the most common arguments I heard was that the play had been a part of the game since its inception, and it be allowed. Tradition can be an important thing. It’s traditional to have a Thanksgiving meal with my family, and that has its rewards—family time, seeing relatives, bigger and better meal. But what’s the traditional reward here? What do we get from having this tradition? Is it exciting to see a guy get run over, and is that worth seeing catchers hurt? [...] doing something that’s always been done is a bad idea when there are better alternatives."+*'''People shouldn't enjoy watching violent hits at home plate.''' Why is it that people seem to enjoy aggressive hits at home plate? If they do, it's probably for the wrong reasons. Individuals should probably not enjoy violence between individuals, hits, fights, etc. It's a savage impulse that shouldn't be honored by attaching some entertainment value to home plate collisions.
-*'''Home plate contact isn't an important part of game.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011]: "Contact isn’t an important part of the game like it is in football, and it isn’t necessary at the plate."+*'''The game is worse off with good catchers injured.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "It’s in the best interest of the sport to keep the likes of Buster Posey and Carlos Santana healthy and on the field. It’s not good for anyone that these guys end up on the disabled list because they were trying to hold their ground."
-*'''That catchers know risks doesn't mean risks can't be reduced.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011]: "Another argument is that Posey and all catchers understand the risk when they sign up to play catcher. It’s notoriously demanding behind the plate, and catchers know what they’re getting themselves into. It sounds good on the surface. Well, what do you think about factory workers? Back at the beginning of the century, they understood the risks of working in Industrial Revolution factories, but society still realized the conditions were too dangerous and changed the situation. Yes, they understand the risks, but that doesn’t mean they should be there to begin with. Yes, if I had the chance to make millions as a catcher, I would do it, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to do it without getting crushed at home plate." 
-*'''Catcher pads are not meant for human collisions.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011]: "I also saw this argument, but I don’t think it was common. Catchers have pads and can withstand being hit. Just in case you believe this, yes, catchers have pads, but they aren’t great. They’re only somewhat helpful against half-pound leather projectiles, but that’s usually one after the ball has hit the ground. They don’t work against 200+ pound athletes barreling into you. Pads don’t always work well enough in football, and catcher pads are much worse at protecting the human body."+|-
 +|colspan="2" width="45%" bgcolor="#F2F2F2" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +===Protecting players: Is a ban important to protecting players? ===
-*'''People shouldn't enjoy watching violent hits at home plate.''' Why is it that people seem to enjoy aggressive hits at home plate? If they do, it's probably for the wrong reasons. Individuals should probably not enjoy violence between individuals, hits, fights, etc. It's a savage impulse that shouldn't be honored by attaching some entertainment value to home plate collisions. +|-
 +|width="45%" bgcolor="#FFFAE0" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Pro====
-*'''Collisions aren't allowed anywhere else; why home plate.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "At no other position is a runner entitled to simply run over the defender hoping to dislodge the baseball before returning to touch the base safely. When Alex Rodriguez tried to swat the ball out of Bronson Arroyo‘s glove in 2004 – with his hand, offering no chance at bodily harm to Arroyo – he was roundly mocked and called out for interference. After the game, Kevin Millar said this: 'If you want to play football, strap on some pads and go play for the Green Bay Packers.' There was very little violence in Rodriguez’s actions, but because he initiated contact to try and dislodge the ball, it was considered a football-like move. Meanwhile, Cousins literally threw his entire body weight into Posey at home plate, breaking his leg in the process, but that’s okay because he was wearing a chest protector?"+*'''[[Argument: Being a catcher means accepting certain inherent risks| Being a catcher means accepting certain inherent risks]]''' [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-29/sports/29601720_1_catchers-plate-rule-change Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011]: "Catchers are catchers because they are willing to be leaders and sacrifice their bodies. You never want to see the elite ones such as Joe Mauer and Buster Posey miss a lot of time because of injuries, but that’s the nature of the position."
-*'''Home plate collisions turn baseball players into gladiators.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "I was a catcher in high school, and I was trained how to block the plate while trying to keep myself alive. High School isn’t MLB, but I still found myself in a few situations where a significantly larger player was barreling towards me at full speed, and I realized that I had to stop being a baseball player and start being a gladiator. It was ridiculous to me then and is ridiculous to me now. Millar is right – if you want to watch violent collisions, you can watch football. Or hockey. Or MMA. There’s no reason baseball needs to have similar kinds of plays; it’s an entirely different sport with a different premise and different rules. Well, at every base but home anyways." +*'''Injuries are part of game, don't justify rule changes.''' [http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/2011/05/26/someone-please-save-buster-olney-from-himself/ Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Red State Blue State. May 27th, 2011]: "No one likes to see people get hurt. No one. But guess what: it happens. People get hurt playing baseball all the time. Sometimes they get seriously hurt. It sucks. There’s no denying it. But that still doesn’t make it okay to go off and make drastic rule changes to the game, just because you and your worldwide leader in smut want blog traffic. Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t sugarcoated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right."
-*'''Why subject pitchers to even more risks.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "Major League catchers already endure enough wear and tear on their bodies as is. They break down in their early thirties and have the shortest careers of any position on the field. Why should we also expect them to have to stand in and take hits that no other player on the field has to take? Why do they have to be football players when everyone else gets to play baseball?"+*'''Catchers don't have to block the plate.''' They can swipe an incoming runner out just as effectively. If they ''choose'' to block the plate, than this is their choice, and they are inviting the home plate collision and the risks of injury this entails. In other words, catchers can protect themselves without a rule change.
-*'''The game is worse off with good catchers injured.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "It’s in the best interest of the sport to keep the likes of Buster Posey and Carlos Santana healthy and on the field. It’s not good for anyone that these guys end up on the disabled list because they were trying to hold their ground." +*'''[[Argument: Home base collisions, injuries too rare to justify ban| Home base collisions, injuries too rare to justify ban]]''' [http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/27/inside-baseball-colliding-views Mike Rutsey. "Inside Baseball: Colliding views." Toronto Sun. May 27th, 2011]: "These days, though, hard, smash-mouth collisions at the plate are rare birds, close to extinction. The reason for this is the money involved as neither the runners nor the catchers are willing to crash into each other willy-nilly as perhaps they did in the past. There is too much on the line financially."
 +:[http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/buster-poseys-injury-unfortunate-but-home-plate-collisions-still-have-place-in-baseball.html Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011]: "to demand action to be taken as the direct result of the injury is a knee-jerk response, and one that is completely unnecessary. While they come with risk, home-plate collisions are rare occurrences in baseball, and injuries resulting from them are even rarer."
-*'''Home plate collisions can be easily banned without changing game.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "Just change the rules and make intentional contact with a catcher illegal, and make it illegal for catcher’s to impede the baserunner’s ability to run directly towards home plate. It’s a simple fix to a real problem, and there’s no reason why we should continue to delay making this change." 
-*'''Runners would easily adjust to slide into home plate.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011]: "The next argument is what you would have the runner do instead. Slide around, of course. Players only bowl into home because they can. It isn’t allowed at first or third, and it’s only marginally allowed at second. But players don’t run through the defenders there. If there was a rule that took away the option to bowl over the catcher at home, runners wouldn’t even think about doing it. They would slide." +|width="45%" bgcolor="#F2FAFB" style="border:1px solid #BAC5FD;padding:.4em;padding-top:0.5em;"|
 +====Con====
-*'''Runners throw themselves at fielder at second base as well.''' [http://articles.boston.com/2011-05-29/sports/29601720_1_catchers-plate-rule-change Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011]: "The argument has been made that at no other base does the runner launch his body at the fielder without trying to slide into the base first. Not true. When runners are trying to break up double plays, are they always near the base?"+*'''That catchers know risks doesn't mean risks can't be reduced.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011]: "Another argument is that Posey and all catchers understand the risk when they sign up to play catcher. It’s notoriously demanding behind the plate, and catchers know what they’re getting themselves into. It sounds good on the surface. Well, what do you think about factory workers? Back at the beginning of the century, they understood the risks of working in Industrial Revolution factories, but society still realized the conditions were too dangerous and changed the situation. Yes, they understand the risks, but that doesn’t mean they should be there to begin with. Yes, if I had the chance to make millions as a catcher, I would do it, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to do it without getting crushed at home plate."
-*'''Other sports have changed rules to make game safer.''' [http://www.drdavidgeier.com/should-mlb-ban-home-plate-collisions-buster-posey/ Dr. David Geier. "Should MLB ban home plate collisions?" May 30, 2011]: "changing rules about trying to score on fly balls would not fundamentally change the game. It would eliminate the collision, not the ability to score on fly balls. It would affect a small component of baseball to make it safer. Eliminating fighting in hockey or tackling in football are not equal comparisons, as some have argued. Eliminating chop blocks in football or body checking from behind in hockey are much better comparisons. They are evolutions of the rules in these sports to protect their players while still maintaining the integrity and nature of the sports."+*'''Catcher pads are not meant for human collisions.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011]: "I also saw this argument, but I don’t think it was common. Catchers have pads and can withstand being hit. Just in case you believe this, yes, catchers have pads, but they aren’t great. They’re only somewhat helpful against half-pound leather projectiles, but that’s usually one after the ball has hit the ground. They don’t work against 200+ pound athletes barreling into you. Pads don’t always work well enough in football, and catcher pads are much worse at protecting the human body."
-*'''Ending home plate collisions can be neutral for catcher, runner.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011]: "Yes, it’s a dangerous play regardless, but those who would change the rules should change it in favor of the runner and the catcher. The runner cannot run into the catcher. The catcher cannot contact the runner with anything other than his glove, and he cannot drop his knee down to block the plate (those knee pads can be dangerous, and the catcher shouldn’t be throwing his weight around anymore than any other player at another base)." +*'''Why subject pitchers to even more risks.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "Major League catchers already endure enough wear and tear on their bodies as is. They break down in their early thirties and have the shortest careers of any position on the field. Why should we also expect them to have to stand in and take hits that no other player on the field has to take? Why do they have to be football players when everyone else gets to play baseball?"
*'''Many collisions have caused career-changing injuries.''' Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher who had multiple head injuries in his playing days, called on Major League Baseball to explore ideas to protect players after the Buster Posey injury: "I think we do need to consider changing the rules here a little bit because the catcher is so vulnerable and there's so many who have gotten hurt. And not just a little bit, had their careers ended or shortened."[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110528/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbo_home_plate_collisions] *'''Many collisions have caused career-changing injuries.''' Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher who had multiple head injuries in his playing days, called on Major League Baseball to explore ideas to protect players after the Buster Posey injury: "I think we do need to consider changing the rules here a little bit because the catcher is so vulnerable and there's so many who have gotten hurt. And not just a little bit, had their careers ended or shortened."[http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110528/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bbo_home_plate_collisions]
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=== Feasibility of change: Is changing the rules feasible, workable, etc? === === Feasibility of change: Is changing the rules feasible, workable, etc? ===
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-*'''Runner can't just stop if catcher has ball.''' The idea is to score runs. If the catcher has the ball and he's standing there, the runner has to stop? Is that the protection?'+*'''Runner can't just stop if catcher has ball.''' Ray Fosse, who was famously injured by Pete Rose in a home base collision, defended such collisions, arguing in 2011: "The idea is to score runs. If the catcher has the ball and he's standing there, the runner has to stop? Is that the protection?"
*'''Banning collisions would give unfair advantage to runner/catcher.''' [http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/buster-poseys-injury-unfortunate-but-home-plate-collisions-still-have-place-in-baseball.html Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011]: "Collisions at home plate aren't always necessary, and should be occur sparingly, but to regulate them would inevitably hand either the baserunner or the catcher an unnecessary advantage in close-play situations. If Major League Baseball was to employ a rule stating that runners must avoid contact with the catcher -- similar to the 'slide or avoid' rule employed in amateur baseball -- it would give the advantage to the catcher. The catcher would have the benefit of dictating the course of action that a baserunner must take, and would -- perhaps more importantly -- have peace of mind knowing that there is no chance of an ensuing collision. If Major League Baseball was to make a rule stating that the catcher cannot block the plate, the advantage would certainly go to the baserunner, who would enjoy the luxury of a straight path to the most sacred ground on a baseball diamond." *'''Banning collisions would give unfair advantage to runner/catcher.''' [http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/buster-poseys-injury-unfortunate-but-home-plate-collisions-still-have-place-in-baseball.html Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011]: "Collisions at home plate aren't always necessary, and should be occur sparingly, but to regulate them would inevitably hand either the baserunner or the catcher an unnecessary advantage in close-play situations. If Major League Baseball was to employ a rule stating that runners must avoid contact with the catcher -- similar to the 'slide or avoid' rule employed in amateur baseball -- it would give the advantage to the catcher. The catcher would have the benefit of dictating the course of action that a baserunner must take, and would -- perhaps more importantly -- have peace of mind knowing that there is no chance of an ensuing collision. If Major League Baseball was to make a rule stating that the catcher cannot block the plate, the advantage would certainly go to the baserunner, who would enjoy the luxury of a straight path to the most sacred ground on a baseball diamond."
 +*'''Banning home plate collisions: slippery slope to other limitations.''' [http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/2011/05/26/someone-please-save-buster-olney-from-himself/ Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Red State Blue State. May 27th, 2011]: "Ban home plate collisions? What are you talking about, Buster? It was a freak accident. Ban home plate collisions!?! Why don’t we ban pitching inside too!?! And we should ban breaking up the double play on a hard slide into second!?! How about we ban walk-off celebrations and ban beer in the grandstands, JUST FOR FUN!?!"
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====Con==== ====Con====
 +*'''Home plate collisions can be easily banned without changing game.''' [http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/its-time-to-end-home-plate-collisions/ Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011]: "Just change the rules and make intentional contact with a catcher illegal, and make it illegal for catcher’s to impede the baserunner’s ability to run directly towards home plate. It’s a simple fix to a real problem, and there’s no reason why we should continue to delay making this change."
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 +*'''Runners would easily adjust to slide into home plate.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011]: "The next argument is what you would have the runner do instead. Slide around, of course. Players only bowl into home because they can. It isn’t allowed at first or third, and it’s only marginally allowed at second. But players don’t run through the defenders there. If there was a rule that took away the option to bowl over the catcher at home, runners wouldn’t even think about doing it. They would slide."
 +
 +*'''Ending home plate collisions can be neutral for catcher, runner.''' [http://itsaboutthemoney.net/archives/2011/05/27/home-plate-collisions/ Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011]: "Yes, it’s a dangerous play regardless, but those who would change the rules should change it in favor of the runner and the catcher. The runner cannot run into the catcher. The catcher cannot contact the runner with anything other than his glove, and he cannot drop his knee down to block the plate (those knee pads can be dangerous, and the catcher shouldn’t be throwing his weight around anymore than any other player at another base)."
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-|-+*'''Other sports have changed rules to make game safer.''' [http://www.drdavidgeier.com/should-mlb-ban-home-plate-collisions-buster-posey/ Dr. David Geier. "Should MLB ban home plate collisions?" May 30, 2011]: "changing rules about trying to score on fly balls would not fundamentally change the game. It would eliminate the collision, not the ability to score on fly balls. It would affect a small component of baseball to make it safer. Eliminating fighting in hockey or tackling in football are not equal comparisons, as some have argued. Eliminating chop blocks in football or body checking from behind in hockey are much better comparisons. They are evolutions of the rules in these sports to protect their players while still maintaining the integrity and nature of the sports."
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-=== Need: Is there a significant need to ban home plate collisions? === 
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-*'''Home base collisions, injuries too rare to justify ban.''' [http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/27/inside-baseball-colliding-views Mike Rutsey. "Inside Baseball: Colliding views." Toronto Sun. May 27th, 2011]: "These days, though, hard, smash-mouth collisions at the plate are rare birds, close to extinction. The reason for this is the money involved as neither the runners nor the catchers are willing to crash into each other willy-nilly as perhaps they did in the past. There is too much on the line financially." 
-:[http://www.nesn.com/2011/05/buster-poseys-injury-unfortunate-but-home-plate-collisions-still-have-place-in-baseball.html Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011]: "to demand action to be taken as the direct result of the injury is a knee-jerk response, and one that is completely unnecessary. While they come with risk, home-plate collisions are rare occurrences in baseball, and injuries resulting from them are even rarer." 
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=== Pro/con sources === === Pro/con sources ===

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Are home plate collisions in baseball worth preserving or banning?

Background and context

Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League's rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a season-ending leg fracture and torn ligaments in May of 2011 when Florida's Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game.
This, along with many other injurious home plate collisions throughout baseball history have sparked a recurring debate about whether home plate collisions should be banned. This could be done by prohibiting the catcher from blocking the plate and by prohibiting the runner from making intentional contact with the catcher (basically the same rules that apply on every other base other than home plate). Purists have responded that home plate collisions have been around for too long and are too embedded in baseball's history to change the rules now, while opponents argue that "tradition for tradition's sake" type of arguments are flawed and that banning home plate collisions would do nothing to fundamentally change the game. The issue also surrounds whether fans should find entertainment value in hits at the plate and how such physical contact relates to other sports. These and other arguments and considerations are outlined below.
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Part of game: Are collisions an important part of game?

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Pro

San Francisco Giants Manager Andy Skeels, a former catcher: "That’s the part of our business. You’re a catcher. There’s gonna be plays at the plate and guys are gonna try to run you over."[2]
  • Home plate collisions are essential tension of offense/defense. Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011: "Rounding the bases, getting to home plate and putting a run on the board for your team is what the game of baseball is all about. A baserunner wants to get there at all costs, whereas a catcher wants to protect it at all costs. The mutual discomfort that's evoked in both the catcher and the baserunner as a play at the plate develops is one of the intriguing peculiarities that makes the game of baseball so great."


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Con

  • Home base collisions shouldn't be preserved for tradition's sake. Just because it's been around for a while does not make it right or necessarily worth preserving. Tradition for tradition's sake arguments are almost always fallacious.
Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011: "One of the most common arguments I heard was that the play had been a part of the game since its inception, and it be allowed. Tradition can be an important thing. It’s traditional to have a Thanksgiving meal with my family, and that has its rewards—family time, seeing relatives, bigger and better meal. But what’s the traditional reward here? What do we get from having this tradition? Is it exciting to see a guy get run over, and is that worth seeing catchers hurt? [...] doing something that’s always been done is a bad idea when there are better alternatives."
  • Home plate collisions turn baseball players into gladiators. Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011: "I was a catcher in high school, and I was trained how to block the plate while trying to keep myself alive. High School isn’t MLB, but I still found myself in a few situations where a significantly larger player was barreling towards me at full speed, and I realized that I had to stop being a baseball player and start being a gladiator. It was ridiculous to me then and is ridiculous to me now. Millar is right – if you want to watch violent collisions, you can watch football. Or hockey. Or MMA. There’s no reason baseball needs to have similar kinds of plays; it’s an entirely different sport with a different premise and different rules."


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Entertainment: Do collisions have good entertainment value?

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Pro

  • Pro baseball players are paid to take risks, entertain. Fosse told the San Francisco Chronicle. "In high school, you can't run over the catcher. But that is high school. This is professional baseball."


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Con

  • People shouldn't enjoy watching violent hits at home plate. Why is it that people seem to enjoy aggressive hits at home plate? If they do, it's probably for the wrong reasons. Individuals should probably not enjoy violence between individuals, hits, fights, etc. It's a savage impulse that shouldn't be honored by attaching some entertainment value to home plate collisions.


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Protecting players: Is a ban important to protecting players?

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Pro

  • Injuries are part of game, don't justify rule changes. Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Red State Blue State. May 27th, 2011: "No one likes to see people get hurt. No one. But guess what: it happens. People get hurt playing baseball all the time. Sometimes they get seriously hurt. It sucks. There’s no denying it. But that still doesn’t make it okay to go off and make drastic rule changes to the game, just because you and your worldwide leader in smut want blog traffic. Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t sugarcoated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right."
  • Catchers don't have to block the plate. They can swipe an incoming runner out just as effectively. If they choose to block the plate, than this is their choice, and they are inviting the home plate collision and the risks of injury this entails. In other words, catchers can protect themselves without a rule change.
Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011: "to demand action to be taken as the direct result of the injury is a knee-jerk response, and one that is completely unnecessary. While they come with risk, home-plate collisions are rare occurrences in baseball, and injuries resulting from them are even rarer."


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Con

  • That catchers know risks doesn't mean risks can't be reduced. Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011: "Another argument is that Posey and all catchers understand the risk when they sign up to play catcher. It’s notoriously demanding behind the plate, and catchers know what they’re getting themselves into. It sounds good on the surface. Well, what do you think about factory workers? Back at the beginning of the century, they understood the risks of working in Industrial Revolution factories, but society still realized the conditions were too dangerous and changed the situation. Yes, they understand the risks, but that doesn’t mean they should be there to begin with. Yes, if I had the chance to make millions as a catcher, I would do it, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to do it without getting crushed at home plate."
  • Catcher pads are not meant for human collisions. Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011: "I also saw this argument, but I don’t think it was common. Catchers have pads and can withstand being hit. Just in case you believe this, yes, catchers have pads, but they aren’t great. They’re only somewhat helpful against half-pound leather projectiles, but that’s usually one after the ball has hit the ground. They don’t work against 200+ pound athletes barreling into you. Pads don’t always work well enough in football, and catcher pads are much worse at protecting the human body."
  • Why subject pitchers to even more risks. Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011: "Major League catchers already endure enough wear and tear on their bodies as is. They break down in their early thirties and have the shortest careers of any position on the field. Why should we also expect them to have to stand in and take hits that no other player on the field has to take? Why do they have to be football players when everyone else gets to play baseball?"
  • Many collisions have caused career-changing injuries. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher who had multiple head injuries in his playing days, called on Major League Baseball to explore ideas to protect players after the Buster Posey injury: "I think we do need to consider changing the rules here a little bit because the catcher is so vulnerable and there's so many who have gotten hurt. And not just a little bit, had their careers ended or shortened."[3]


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Feasibility of change: Is changing the rules feasible, workable, etc?

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Pro

  • Runner can't just stop if catcher has ball. Ray Fosse, who was famously injured by Pete Rose in a home base collision, defended such collisions, arguing in 2011: "The idea is to score runs. If the catcher has the ball and he's standing there, the runner has to stop? Is that the protection?"
  • Banning collisions would give unfair advantage to runner/catcher. Ricky Doyle. "Buster Posey's Injury Unfortunate, But Home-Plate Collisions Still Have Place in Baseball." NESN. May 29th, 2011: "Collisions at home plate aren't always necessary, and should be occur sparingly, but to regulate them would inevitably hand either the baserunner or the catcher an unnecessary advantage in close-play situations. If Major League Baseball was to employ a rule stating that runners must avoid contact with the catcher -- similar to the 'slide or avoid' rule employed in amateur baseball -- it would give the advantage to the catcher. The catcher would have the benefit of dictating the course of action that a baserunner must take, and would -- perhaps more importantly -- have peace of mind knowing that there is no chance of an ensuing collision. If Major League Baseball was to make a rule stating that the catcher cannot block the plate, the advantage would certainly go to the baserunner, who would enjoy the luxury of a straight path to the most sacred ground on a baseball diamond."
  • Banning home plate collisions: slippery slope to other limitations. Fadi. "In Defense Of Home Plate Collisions." Red State Blue State. May 27th, 2011: "Ban home plate collisions? What are you talking about, Buster? It was a freak accident. Ban home plate collisions!?! Why don’t we ban pitching inside too!?! And we should ban breaking up the double play on a hard slide into second!?! How about we ban walk-off celebrations and ban beer in the grandstands, JUST FOR FUN!?!"
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Con

  • Home plate collisions can be easily banned without changing game. Dave Cameron. "It's time to end home plate collisions." Fan Graphs. May 26th, 2011: "Just change the rules and make intentional contact with a catcher illegal, and make it illegal for catcher’s to impede the baserunner’s ability to run directly towards home plate. It’s a simple fix to a real problem, and there’s no reason why we should continue to delay making this change."
  • Runners would easily adjust to slide into home plate. Mark Smith. "Home plate collision: It's about the money." May 27th, 2011: "The next argument is what you would have the runner do instead. Slide around, of course. Players only bowl into home because they can. It isn’t allowed at first or third, and it’s only marginally allowed at second. But players don’t run through the defenders there. If there was a rule that took away the option to bowl over the catcher at home, runners wouldn’t even think about doing it. They would slide."
  • Ending home plate collisions can be neutral for catcher, runner. Mark Smith. "Home Plate Collisions." It's About the Money. May 27th, 2011: "Yes, it’s a dangerous play regardless, but those who would change the rules should change it in favor of the runner and the catcher. The runner cannot run into the catcher. The catcher cannot contact the runner with anything other than his glove, and he cannot drop his knee down to block the plate (those knee pads can be dangerous, and the catcher shouldn’t be throwing his weight around anymore than any other player at another base)."


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Vs other sports: How does it compare to other sports?

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Pro

  • Dangers are involved in every sport. Former All-Star catcher Bob Boone: "It's in every sport that we have, there are dangers there. There are dangers for a jockey climbing onto a horse. Do we just let the horses run by themselves and save injures? We see it in football. If we took the pads off and just played flag it be a lot better. We wouldn't have so many injures but it's part of our society. It's why it's so attractive to us, I think."[4]
Nick Cafardo. "Let’s keep rule change off our plate, please." The Boston Globe. May 29th, 2011: "Catchers understand that there are plays they must make that could jeopardize their careers. Just as the quarterback who hangs in the pocket until the last second knows that a 300-pound lineman or blitzing linebacker may crush him"


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Con

  • Other sports have changed rules to make game safer. Dr. David Geier. "Should MLB ban home plate collisions?" May 30, 2011: "changing rules about trying to score on fly balls would not fundamentally change the game. It would eliminate the collision, not the ability to score on fly balls. It would affect a small component of baseball to make it safer. Eliminating fighting in hockey or tackling in football are not equal comparisons, as some have argued. Eliminating chop blocks in football or body checking from behind in hockey are much better comparisons. They are evolutions of the rules in these sports to protect their players while still maintaining the integrity and nature of the sports."


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