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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Eliminate the catcher, outlaw the collisions or properly equip the fielders.

A few days ago Giant catcher Buster Posey was seriously injured when a runner smashed into him standing near home plate.  I thought it was revolting, the kind of thing that is becoming unacceptable in the NFL.

MLB fans and pundits produced the usual expected drivel about this being baseball, blah, blah, blah.  Also, revolting.  Even Posey's manager, Bruce Bochy, a former part time catcher for nine seasons, affirmed this with a wimpy suggestion that maybe MLB should look at it.  Look at it?  How about eliminating the barbarism?


Everyone should wear catcher's gear.

OK, the outfielders probably don't need it, especially if MLB implements my suggestions about padding the walls. However, the infielders, certainly the pitchers need this protection. I can remember when Eddie Giacomin tended goal for the New York Rangers hockey team with nothing on his head. Even the NHL (National Hockey League) woke up. Today all players wear helmets and face masks. Infielders are taught to get in front of ground balls to block them in case of a bad hop. Bad hops happen often. Have you seen the rockets that batters blast at these unprotected players? Catcher's gear is exactly what they need. Yes, including the face mask. If they do not start wearing this gear, pitchers will need the screen that is used in front of the pitcher during batting practice.


Catcher: position of ignorance.

Cather's gear is called the tools of ignorance. That's putting it mildly. Baseball catcher is easily the stupidest position among the three American team sports. Only football center comes close. Catcher could be eliminated if MLB had any imagination.


Fool Proof Strike Zone

It's back to basics. Years ago a kid on a farm would practice pitching by throwing at a tire hung on the side of a barn. In cities improvised baseball games like stick ball had strike zones drawn on the wall behind the batter. No catcher needed as the ball would bounce back to the pitcher if not hit. Everyone facing the batter could see if the pitch was in the strike zone. These concepts can be applied to MLB. Move the plate umpire behind the pitcher. Place something behind the plate that would be a target for the pitcher. Ideas: - barrel - whole in a netting - whatever works...

The catcher could be deployed elsewhere. The umpire could hand the pitcher a new ball. Ball boys/girls could keep the batting area free of loose balls. The metaphor for a catcher is backstop. A backstop is a wall. Who wants to play wall? It's easily the most ridiculous position in team sports. Most baseball players want no part of catching. Put that player in fair territory where he can do some good. How about next to the pitcher where he could field balls hit up the middle and still be close enough to cover home plate? I have already advocated that base runners may not take a lead until the ball is hit.

MLB rules:

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered “in the act of fielding a ball.” It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball.

It appears that any fielder may block any base.  If that is the case, then MLB managers are dumb for not having their infielders wear catchers equipment and block all bases.  In other words, if MLB managers had more imagination, there could be even more collisions.

If MLB won't do any of my other suggestions, then at least outlaw the particular barbarism that caused the injury to Buster Posey.

And put a damn screen in front of the pitcher before one gets killed with those blasts up the middle.

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