MLBPA 'remarkably concerned' with new home plate collision rules

Greg Fiume

Union chief Tony Clark is concerned that the new rules could change the game too much.

The rule banning home plate collisions is in an "experimental" phase at the moment, but Tony Clark, the director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, is keeping a watchful eye over the impact of the new rule, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

Clark's concerns are predominantly based around player safety, specifically baserunners. He also expresses concern with the phrasing of the press release regarding the rule.

"If players see something, or, heaven forbid, we've got guys getting injured who otherwise, before the rule, wouldn't have gotten injured, those are things we've got to address sooner rather than later. That's why this is a one-year consideration. That's why you saw 'experimental' in the headline."

The rule states that a catcher can still block the plate if he catches the ball before the runner arrives, leaving some of the details up for interpretation. Clark mentioned a few scenarios that could be affected by the change, but at this point, all the MLBPA can do is keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds. Players have been asked to report any negative outcomes. The rule's purpose, avoiding injuries to catchers as they attempt to make plays at the plate, has not been brought into question, but the duplicitous nature of trying to enforce the rule change could still result in dangerous situations, even if they are slightly different dangerous situations.

Clark summed the situation up rather well, calling the situation "muddy."

"We obviously don't want to put something in place that's going to get more guys hurt. But we don't want to go so far down the road that you've got a runner standing and staring at the catcher, and the catcher's standing there looking at his feet, and it changes everything. So we want to be very careful here about what we do."

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