If you have Buster Posey on your fantasy baseball team, you made a wise choice at the beginning of the season during your draft. You chose a rising star who proved that he was one of the premiere backstops in the Majors last year at a position that is devoid of a tremendous amount of fantasy baseball talent.
But, today, you sit with a high draft choice player with a broken ankle and three torn ligaments in his left leg. It was not from a cheap shot at the hands of the Marlins’ Scott Cousins. It was a legitimate baseball play that is entirely permissable under the rules of the game.
But, are those rules of the game still the right rules? Bowling over the catcher like duckpins has been illegal in amateur baseball for many years. But, now that a popular player is out for the season, it is bringing up questions about whether the Rules Committee should change the rules of the game that have been in place since Abner Doubleday didn’t invent it.
I am a baseball traditionalist so you may be surprised by my answer. The answer is yes; the Rules Committee should look at changing the rules to prevent such injuries. If, for no other reason than that Buster Posey is a big draw at the ballpark and now he’s gone for the season. Posey’s absence will surely hurt the pocketbooks of the owners and ultimately the players. The NFL knows this so it has put in rules to help prevent injuries to its premiere fan draws–the quarterbacks.
Now, don’t give me the answer that that’s how it’s always been. No, its not. Baseball has added wise safety rules over the years. Wearing a batting helmet is one. Not using steroids is a pretty good idea if you want to fit into your New Era cap. Putting up protection in front of the dugouts is another. A ban against chewing tobacco would be a wise one to make as well. Protecting catchers from collissions like the one that put down Posey, or Roy Fosse, or Carlos Santana, or lesser known players like the Marlins backup backstop Brett Hayes is a rule change that is needed.
But, it has to be fair too. As an amateur baseball coach, I continue to be frustrated by the avoid contact rule. The umpires interpretation of the no contact rule is fine, but they seem to forget that there also is a rule that prevents the catcher from blocking home plate when he doesn’t have the ball. Hence, the runner is forced to slide into a catcher and never reach home plate. Or, try a difficult manuever to slide around the catcher and hope to reach the plate with a hand. It’s not fair the way the rule is now.
So, along with an avoid contact rule, there has to be enforcement of the rule that prevents a catcher, or any fielder, from blocking a base or plate without possession of the ball.
When the Major League Rules Committee convenes this off-season, I hope they will consider avoiding football like collissions at home plate between runner and catcher.
It will make a lot of future Buster Posey fantasy baseball owners happy too.