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Rounding Third: Banning home plate collisions? It's a no-brainer

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Updated: 12/20/2013 11:28 am

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - While the final wording has yet to be drawn up, it appears as if home plate collisions are going to be a thing of the past in Major League Baseball.

And to that I say bravo.

Honestly, who cares? The home plate collision has essentially gone by the wayside anyway and if it protects an unsuspecting catcher from getting destroyed and suffering a concussion, then how can you argue against it.

I don't really consider myself a traditionalist, and understand that collisions are part of the game, but hasn't the NFL taught us anything about concussions and quality of life after the game?

It's not just an NFL problem anymore either. It was revealed recently that former MLB player Ryan Freel suffered from degenerative brain disease at the time of his suicide in December 2012.

And if you think that Freel is the only former MLB player suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), you are probably sadly mistaken.

This whole topic of banning home plate collisions really started to pick up momentum following the ugly incident between Scott Cousins and Buster Posey. Oddly enough, though, Posey didn't suffer a head injury on the play, he did break a leg and had ligament damage because of the hit.

Actually, the only real reason he was hurt was because his leg was bent back behind him. But it did get the ball rolling and the recent NFL findings probably expedited the whole process.

MLB though estimated that about 50 percent of concussions are related to collisions.

At the time I remember arguing against the continued coddling of these players and stated that it was just a part of the game. But, after seeing what has happened in the NFL lately, how you can leave these catchers open to such hits.

Heck even the NFL penalizes someone for hitting a defenseless player and they are in full equipment. How can MLB not do the same? Especially considering those players are nowhere near as equipped as the NFL.

Even before the MLB Rules Committee voted to outlaw these types of plays at the recent Winter Meetings, some teams had actually already advised their catchers to avoid such hits, as Oakland general manager Billy Beane has admitted to telling his players to stay away from such incidents.

So this ruling should come as no surprise and it likely won't meet much opposition from the Players Union.

Disgraced hits king Pete Rose, of course, is identified with the most famous collision at the plate when he barreled into catcher Ray Fosse on a close play at home plate during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in 1970.

So, it's no surprise that the man dubbed Charlie Hustle is against the elimination of such plays.

"I'm a traditionalist," Rose recently told the Dayton Daily News. "I thought the game has always been pretty good. About the only major changes they've made to the game since 1869 was when they lowered the mound after the 1968 season and the designated hitter. I mean, the game is going pretty good, isn't it?

"What's next? Are they going to eliminate the takeout slide on double plays at second base?", Rose asked.

Rose did make a good point though. Posey did not suffer a head injury when he was hit and the most "famous" concussion in baseball in the last 10 years has been that of Justin Morneau, who was hurt as part of a routine play at second base where a leaping fielder happened to knee him in the head.

Now Rose probably is not the guy to go to on this subject. With the way he played the game, you could have predicted his opinion. But he's not alone in his thinking. A lot of players, mostly of the scrappy type, chimed in saying that these type of plays are part of the game.

There were even some catchers who were against it too. But, we also heard from players like Johnny Bench who applauded the move.

Call me crazy, but I think I'd rather watch a runner evade a tag than to run a catcher over. What exactly are we losing here? Some ridiculous ESPN highlights of catchers getting absolutely blasted but holding onto the ball? Yeah great they held on, but at what price? On either side by the way. Who's to say the player levying the hit doesn't suffer some sort of separated shoulder or something?

If anything maybe we won't have to worry about catchers going to find other positions late in their career.

Admittedly it's a slippery slope. Players can argue against it all they want, but in the long run MLB is protecting them from themselves.

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