SBD/December 13, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB Moving To End Home Plate Collisions Lauded As Necessary Safety Precaution

MLB's ban on collisions may avoid a concussion issue like that of the NFL
MLB's decision to ban collisions at home plate was a hot topic of discussion on the afternoon TV sports-talk shows Thursday, with columnist Kevin Blackistone saying, "The last thing baseball wants is to have a concussion issue like football does." He added MLB also does not want to be "without some of its star players because of these collisions." In recent years, several All Stars, including the Giants' Buster Posey and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina, have missed time due to home plate collisions ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/12). ESPN's Marcellus Wiley said, "Not only does baseball have to protect its players, it also has to protect its brand. And guess what, they see what the NFL is going through with these concussions and injuries. The last thing they want to do is have a play that's going to be easy evidence" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 12/12). Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin said, “From a liability perspective, obviously it’s the right call with all the concussion stuff that’s gone on with the NFL. But the other element of it, from a business standpoint, there is a reason why baseball contracts are guaranteed. These guys don’t get hurt very often. We’ve seen a lot of knees blown out. … That’s something that you want to minimize” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 12/12). Meanwhile, ESPN's Pablo Torre asked, "How often does baseball repudiate tradition in favor of reason and avoiding injury? How often does any sport do that? That's kind of incredible to me" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/12).

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote MLB's decision to ban home plate collisions "is to be applauded, toasted and hailed as an example of a professional sports league that holds tradition in its proper place: specifically, not as a shield to hide behind when time and circumstance cry out for significant change." This is "something to keep in mind the next time you hear an NHL player bemoan rules changes." Proteau: "I'm talking about league executives stepping up to make significant alterations to an aspect of the sport after pleas from medical professionals and suffering athletes, and the knee-jerk, myopic tendency to dismiss any argument simply by saying, 'Why don't we just let the players decide'" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 12/12).
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