MLB Hopes Home-Plate Collision Ban Will Be a Home Run

Major League Baseball announced a plan to ban home-plate collisions Wednesday. The Playing Rules Committee voted, and approved the ban, during the league’s 2013 Winter Meetings. The vote as well as the ban was discussed during a press conference.

If a runner is found to have purposefully collided with the catcher, he will be called out, even if he was not tagged. Likewise, catchers will not be allowed to block the plate. Technically, the rules already state that catchers are not allowed to obstruct the plate without possessing the ball. MLB said that the idea first arose during the General Managers Meetings in November. From there, it swiftly gained popularity. The rule itself has not been written and the text will need approval from the Rules Committee. From there, it can be voted on at the next Owners Meeting in January.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager for the Mets, and Chair of the rules committee. ”This is, I think, in answer to a few issues that have arisen,” Alderson said. Collisions affect runners and catchers, banning them could improve player safety and health. This is a rising concern for all professional athletes and sporting organizations Alderson explained.

“It’s an emerging issue, and one that we in baseball have to address as well as other sports. So that’s part of the impetus for this rule change as well.” When writing the rule, Alderson said a variety of factors will be included, such as positioning and intent. “Umpires will have some discretion,” and will also have to determine if the run scores or not. Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny and Bruce Bochy, Manager for the Giants, are both former catchers who strongly advocated for the ban. In addition to previously being a catcher, Bochy was Giants’ manager in 2011 when Giants catcher Buster Posey broke his leg during a brutal home-plate collision.

At the meeting, the general managers were also updated on expanded instant replay. According to some managers, what was discussed Wednesday differs greatly from what was proposed during the General Manager meetings. “It’s changing every day,” one manager commented.

Joe Torre, MLB’s Executive Vice President for baseball operations, said the update was not intended as a mandate. “I thought it was a good opportunity to give the managers a little head’s up, and especially the fact that the next time we see them it will be Spring Training, just give them something to think about, and to let them call us with any questions or suggestions,” Torre said. The proposed expanded system will also allow managers to make challenges. That vote, as well as the collision ban, are current scheduled to take place in January.

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