Update: MLB announced the new collision rule.
Spring Training has kicked-off and while Major League Baseball has a new set of replay rules there is one other rule change looming that still doesn’t have a resolution. Both the players union and the owners want to reach an agreement on an new home plate collision rule. The goal seems simple and reasonable, reduce the number of injuries due to collision. But once you begin to dig into the details it begins to be a very complicated set of rules.
Many experts and analysis expect a new rule to be finalized before the start of the regular season, but the players and coaches will need enough time to practice new techniques and teach the new rules so there is a chance we don’t see a finalized rule until 2015.
Some believe the rules will largely be based on the NCAA rules currently in effect. They state, “If the defensive player blocks the base (plate) or base line with clear possession of the ball, the runner may make contact, slide into or make contract with a fielder as long as the runner is making a legitimate attempt to reach the base (plate). Contact above the waist that was initiated by the base-runner shall not be judged as an attempt to reach the base or plate.”
Joe Torre, while speaking on the topic, had this to say, “There’s not going to be a lack of contact. There’s going to be some inadvertent contact that you’re not going to be able to avoid because the catcher has to catch the ball,” which would lead us to believe the rule that does get finalized will have a good deal of common sense attached to it. One of the larger concerns when any rule is changed is the unexpected consequences that follow. For example, the NFL is often under fire for their new contact rules, in part because of the penalties and fines leaved against players who sometimes feel they are just trying to play the game and not trying to injure other players.
Do you think the addition of a contact rule is needed in Major League Baseball?