If the proposed rule change regarding collisions at home plate takes effect, count Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire among those people who are not excited about the change.
To get the full impact of this quote, though, you need to imagine what it would sound like coming from Gardenhire and his usual brand of understated grumpiness. Are you in that mindset? OK, good. Gardy is concerned about the burden the rule puts on umpires, as well as the potential dangers he sees for base runners (quotes courtesy of MLB.com):
My biggest fear through all this is that they’re putting more on the shoulders of the umpires to make judgment decisions…It’s going to lead to issues, because it’s a tough situation for umpires to be in. They have to make the decision whether the runner slid, should’ve slid or didn’t have a chance to slide. They’re going to put that on their shoulders because it’s not definitive whichever way they go.
“There’s going to be times when a guy comes in there with no place to go and slides and he gets hurt and then you’re going to have issues, because he can’t protect himself as a runner trying to score and a catcher whacks him…I’m more worried about my runners going in there than my catchers. They’re going to have change what they do to score, which is scary because that’s how you get hurt.”
I have long been an advocate of spin moves and juke moves at the plate as an alternative to the somewhat dangerous and wholly ineffective tactic of running over the catcher (seriously, when does the catcher ever drop the ball? That time Buster Posey had a broken leg doesn’t count). If Gardenhire wants to address this problem, that would be my suggestion.