Baseball has been a game of traditions. It just got a little less traditional yesterday.
According to MLB.com, the Playing Rules Committee has voted overwhelmingly to outlaw home-plate collisions between runners and catchers starting in 2014 or 2015. It will also prohibit catchers from blocking the plate, similar to players making tags at a base. While the ban is popular from the MLB Executives point of view, it is unpopular for the ballplayers. For fans however, it is divided. Other than hitting a home run, home plate collisions is the other reason why baseball is one of the most popular sport on the planet.
The days of Pete Rose plowing into Ray Fosse and separated his left shoulder in a meaningless game will soon be gone. To be honest with you, it is a bad move by baseball. Now I understand this was implicated because of the safety of the players, but MLB is taking away the competitive nature of the game to save a few minor injuries. The thrill of the play at the plate, which is one of the most intense moments in all of sports, is now reduced to a game of hopscotch. The beauty of the play at the plate is that the defender (the catcher) is protecting at all costs, and the runner is willing to reach safely at all costs. The players know the risks involved and accept the nature of the game and play at the plate in particular. There are risks involved in all sport, but we accept that because it gives us the thrill of competition, the joy of victory and agony of defeat. This is the essence of competition.
Slowly but surly, baseball will soon turn into softball. What is next? Pitchers cannot throw 90 MPH? One thing is certain, you can’t control what happens at home plate. MLB need to understand that.
That is what’s NOT best for business.