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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?

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.



  • Don't change rules of old baseball. Catcher Ray Fosse: "The game has been around more than 100 years, and now they're going to start protecting catchers?"
  • 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."
  • 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?'
  • 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."[1]
  • Home base collisions are rare because of money involved. 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."


  • Collisions aren't allowed anywhere else; why at home plate. 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?"
  • 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. Well, at every base but home anyways."
  • 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?"

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