MLB Banning Catcher Collisions


Major League Baseball has decided to ban the ability of a baserunner to intentionally collide with a catcher in an attempt to score a run. Personally, I’m in favor of this. It never made any sense to me. If people want to see those kinds of collisions, go watch football. A catcher is all geared up, but his protection is intended to lessen the blow from a baseball, not a 220 pound man charging into him at full speed. The equipment is negligible. Also, why is it an accepted practice to barrel into a catcher like this but no other fielder? Imagine if a runner were able to simply run over a first baseman on a routine ground out? I bet those close plays at first wouldn’t be so close when the fielder is shying away.

Do you like the ban? Or is this a part of the game’s history and should still be allowed?

Here are some examples of the collisions:
Pete Rose vs. Ray Fosse:

(Fosse, the catcher was never the same again)

Buster Posey two years ago, ended his season:

  • _Andrew_

    I remember Bill James making the point 25 or so years ago that there's no exception in the baseball rules that allows catchers to block their base, if they're not holding the ball, where others can't, despite how it gets called.

  • nalahverdian

    Roger Goodell is also running the MLB apparently.

  • Patrick

    This is true Andrew, but I think the same can be said about other bases. Fielders can illegally block bases, and sometimes a middle infielder will put his lower leg in front of second to block a base stealer. But that usually only happens once. The next time, the runner comes in with his spikes to the calf. Similarly with the catcher, if he doesn't have the ball, he sure isn't going to want to take that collision, as there is zero reward there in that he has no chance of tagging the runner out.

  • I'm no fan of concussions or collisions for collisions' sake. But this has been part of the game for more than 100 years and it's part of the DNA of baseball. The Tigers' Alex Avila, who felt the brunt of the Sox' David Ross, during a home plate collision during the most recent post-season, said as much. Requiring players to slide seems like something more suited to co-ed softball.

  • Patrick

    I guess I would ask what people think of the DH. Pitchers hitting was also a part of baseball for a long time but the change was made and people seem to like it. Similarly with divisions and the wild cards.

  • Patrick is right in that not making changes simply because of tradition is not a good reason to keep bad rules. But this is not a bad rule, though the author's commentary on it is. The catcher, unlike any other fielder, is allowed to legally block the base and does so with full body armor. If you want to end collisions, change that rule!. Certainly in the second video above, Posey is illegally blocking the plate and the runner should be awarded home even without a collision. Perhaps the solution is is for umpires to start calling illegal blocking of the plate (without possession of the ball). This is not football. The number of catchers who have incurred major injuries over the years is miniscule. We don't need the nanny state ruining MLB. This isn't football in which the number of permanent injuries is dramatic and it isn't little league. Bad rule change. (spoken as the father of a catcher!)

  • I believe that any fielder is allowed by rule to "block" a base provided that act does not constitute obstruction. I would disagree that Posey was illegally blocking the plate — once the ball was in flight toward home plate, Posey has the right to impede the runner if his actions were in the judgment of the umpire part of fielding the ball. He does not have to have physical possession by rule.

    OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

    Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball

    Clearly other infielders are less likely to engage in this because of the risk pointed out by Andrew. Perhaps Joshua is right in the rule change should reflect physical possession, not merely preparing to possess a ball in flight. Thus, catchers would have to position themselves outside of the runner's path to the plate until the catcher had possession — then it would be more "head to head" contact — still could be physical, but at least the catcher would be in less of "defenseless" position. You might also get less runners barreling into home plate as the catcher now would only be making contact with the ball and probably in a more prepared state so runners would exercise a bit more restraint than when the catcher is in the precarious position of blocking while still fielding the ball.

    Baseball has bigger issues to worry about though like pace of the game, which will be stressed more with video replay/challenges. If the umpires would merely call the rulebook definition of a strike, that one act would do wonders to make regular season games more bearable to watch.

    The problem is in the subjectivity of the rule's wording

  • George from Warwick

    A test post to see if my HTML skills work here =►



  • George from Warwick