What’s next for baseball? Aprons as chest protectors?
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Major League Baseball has gone too far this time.
They’re taking another element of manhood out of the sports most of us grew up with.
Yes, I’m talking about the home-plate collision.
It’s one thing for the NHL to not allow benches to empty like they used to during brawls. The entire ice surface would be littered with gloves, jerseys, sticks, blood, guts, teeth and occasionally even jockstraps.
Ah, the good old days of professional hockey.
It’s one thing for the NFL to outlaw tickling, much less tackling, a ball carrier anywhere but his navel. Linebackers used to be able to grab a guy by his collar, by his hair, by his lips, by anything visible to get him down.
Ah, the good old days of professional football.
It’s one thing for the NBA to not permit power forwards to be powerful forwards when a squirt trickles toward the basket. The path was once known as bloody-nose lane, and now it’s reduced to runny-nose lane.
Ah, for the good old days of professional basketball.
Back then, men were men and wimps were wimps and fans had no difficulty telling which were which.
It’s something else for baseball to mess with home-plate collisions to the point catchers might as well wear aprons instead of chest protectors and chapeaus instead of helmets.
MLB is experimenting with regulations this season in an attempt to keep catchers and baserunners in one piece.
The panic stems from Giants catcher Buster Posey being torn up a few years ago on a collision of seismic proportions.
Look, as confessed in this space numerous times, I’m conflicted on the issue of violence in sports.
While growing up I would lie on the floor and marvel at boxers pummeling each other on the Friday and Monday fight nights.
Don’t even get me started on how much I liked pro wrestlers getting their heads smashed into turnbuckles.
Now I can’t watch these guys punch each other’s lights out, much less watch mixed-martial-arts monsters inflict all sorts of creative damage.
But if two boxers want to make a living by hopping into the ring and going at it to make a living, good for them.
Likewise, if a quarterback wants to scramble out of the pocket in pursuit of a first down, linebackers should have the privilege of doing more than grabbing a flag out of his pocket.
If a hockey thug takes liberties with Patrick Kane and fists fly, the Blackhawks should be able to send thugs of their own over the boards to serve and protect.
If NBA smalls dare to earn their 10s of millions of dollars by challenging the bigs, let them pay the price for those 2 points.
Seriously, are these sports golf and tennis?
I’m not trying to be macho here. I turn my head away when there’s any sort of collision approaching.
But these huge men in our major team sports still should be permitted to demonstrate some sort of manhood.
Baseball’s home-plate collision always has been a romantic element of sports.
My goodness, Pete Rose punctuated his Charlie Hustle status by destroying catcher Ray Fosse in an All-Star Game that essentially was an exhibition.
To this day people in the game and in the stands still talk about how Mike Scioscia blocked the plate when he was a catcher with the Dodgers.
So what’s next in baseball? Prohibiting a baserunner from breaking up a double play at second base? Prohibiting a pitcher from throwing more than a quarter-inch off the inside of the plate?
Come to think of it, maybe baseball already has wimped into golf and tennis.
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