Two MLB catchers not happy with new anti-collision rule
Player safety is at the forefront of all major sports these days, with helmet enhancements, improvements to pitchers hats, and more prevalent, rules in place to prevent unnecessary collisions. But what if the collision is necessary to block home plate? That’s what Dioner Navarro asks, as he is not a fan (at least yet) of the new major league rule to eliminate home plate collisions. ESPN Senior writer Jayson Stark reports that the Toronto Blue Jays backstop isn’t sure the new rule is a good thing:
When the conversation turned to the new rule, which is expected to be made official shortly, Navarro replied, succinctly: “I don’t care. We’re still going to get crushed.” Asked why he felt that way, despite a rule that is specifically intended to prevent catchers from getting crushed, Navarro said: “Because it’s been like that for over 100 years.”
Navarro knows the dangers, as he was carted off the field after a violent collision with Philadelphia Phillies 2B Chase Utley.
His teammate (backup Erik Kratz with all of 111 career games at catcher) was more vocal in his objection (via Stark):
“If you’re a guy who wants to stay in there and save a run, why can’t you?” Kratz asked. “Why would they take that advantage away from somebody who’s willing to get hurt? Look, I get it, I get why they’re doing this. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve never had a bad injury … If I’d lost a season because of this, I’d probably be all for it. But I haven’t experienced that.”
It might be worthwhile to note that Kratz goes about 6’4″ and 255 pounds. I wouldn’t be afraid of contact, either. Overall it seems that this rule has been a long time coming (note, it’s not finalized yet, but widely considered to be a done deal). It never made sense to me why home plate encouraged collisions while other bases it was forbidden. In the end, this is a good deal, catchers will probably appreciate it in the long run, with more games played, longer careers, and fewer lingering injuries after retirement.
– David Whitlock
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