MLB rules committee votes to outlaw home plate collisions

MLB rules committee votes to outlaw home plate collisions
December 12, 2013, 10:00 am
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Williams: Nats want to make amends for 2013

The Major League Baseball Rules Committee voted on Wednesday to eliminate collisions between catchers and baserunners at home plate, setting up a second vote by the players to determine whether the new rules will take effect in 2014. 

Players are expected to approve of the change, as it is designed to protect them from injuries including concussions. The league was presented information on baseball injuries last weekend that found 22 percent of concussions were caused by collisions at the plate.

The new rules have not been officially defined, but are expected to require players to slide when running into home. Contact with the catcher will be outlawed and catchers themselves will have to change the way they block home plate. There will be more of an emphasis on tagging players just like it is another base.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, announced the news at the Winter Meetings. The league also discussed expanding the use of replay for blown calls.

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Alderson said the penalties for violating the rules will be two-tiered.  "Enforcement will be on the field as well as subsequent consequences in the form of fines and suspensions and the like," he said.

If the rule changes are approved and go into effect, it will mark a big shift for the game of baseball as home plate collisions have long been part of its history. But with new information coming about concussions and lawsuits affecting other professional leagues, baseball may be ahead of the curve on this one.