LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Home plate collisions, the type of plays that wrecked the career of former All-Star Ray Fosse and injured Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila in last October's playoffs, will be banned starting with the 2014 season.
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of Major League Baseball's rules committee, said at the winter meetings a resolution in that regard had been approved Wednesday afternoon after consultation with managers. In November, general managers had expressed an interest in the rules change.
"The result of the vote was we will eliminate collisions at home plate by governing both catchers and runners in that situation,'' Alderson said. "The exact language and how exactly the rule will be enforced is subject to final determination.''
The enforcement figures to come in the form of an out call for runners violating the new rule and possibly a fine and/or suspension, Alderson said.
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Alderson added that the committee would review the plays that occur at the plate before deciding which ones to forbid. A rule will be drafted and, after it is approved by the committee, it will be submitted to the team owners in January and subsequently to the players union for their OK.
The movement toward eliminating the collisions began after San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey sustained a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments in a brutal crash with Scott Cousins of the then-Florida Marlins in May 2011.
Posey missed the rest of the season, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy – a former major league catcher – became an outspoken advocate for modifying the rules to enhance safety.
"I think most of us feel that isn't a big part of the game anymore,'' Bochy said Tuesday. "There's been adjustments everywhere, and I think it's time in baseball that we do change the rule and protect these catchers.''
Alderson said the incidence of injuries that occur from home-plate collisions, along with increased awareness about the dangers of concussions – which several catchers have sustained in these plays – led to the ban.
"Ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary, routine and an accepted part of the game,'' Alderson said. "The individual risks and costs associated in terms of health and injury no longer warrant the status quo.''