A new rule in Major League Baseball that is aimed at protecting catchers from violent and unnecessary collisions drew the ire of many baseball fans who feel the game is losing an element of the game that has been a part of baseball for more than a century.
Fans were not the only to object to the rule that will in place on an experimental basis for the 2014 baseball season and even has one veteran catcher disagreeing with the rule designed to protect him.
“I disagree with it,” Boston Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierznyski told USA TODAY Sports over the weekend. “I understand why they’re doing it, but next, they’re going to tell us that you can’t slide into the guy at second base.
Before they make a rule banning sliding in to second base, MLB will see how the rule impacts the game, especially late in games that could alter the division standings or the playoff race as Pierzynski is worried about.
“There are going to be plays at the plate, late in games, where you need to block the plate and try to keep that guy from scoring, saving save a run that ultimately gets your team into the playoffs. And not given that opportunity is unfair. I understand why the rule is made, but I wish there was a better way to go about it.”
What could be a better way to go about it? With devastating injuries to San Francisco Giants‘ Buster Posey and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina suffering a concussion just two of a number of injuries suffered by catchers in collisions at the plate in recent years, Pierzynski isn’t worried about his safety but the job of the umpire.
“It puts the umpires in a horrible spot,” Pierznyski said. They not only have to decide whether the runner is safe or out, but did the catcher block the plate? He’s going to have to make a million different decisions.
“I feel sorry for those guys. That’s going to be one of the hardest things for those guys. They’re going to be put in a really awkward spot.”
Don’t feel sorry for the umpires A.J. One of the hardest things for those guys is dealing with chirping catchers in their ear for three-plus hours and calling balls and strikes. It will be easy to decipher when a catcher is blocking a plate or not and multiple injuries will be avoided because of this necessary rule.