Posey’s injury had a great deal to do with the eventual rule, for sure. But it was just a brick in a larger wall. Eventually people realized it was absurd to keep running into that wall, head first. The setting of Avila’s injury crystallized an argument that was already clear, and it was a fresh data point to discuss that offseason.
Now that we’ve got the history lesson out of the way, here’s the other thing that bothers me about Maddon’s opinions when it comes to home-plate collisions: They’re dumb. Incredibly dumb. I’ve been on this beat for years, and my side won. We have occupied the dummies, and we have kicked them out of power. It’s over. There are occasional wussification grenades thrown in our direction, but nothing we can’t handle. Or mute.
The home-plate collision used to be the only time in a baseball game when it was acceptable for a runner to attempt to get the ball out of a fielder’s mitt. It wasn’t any different than this:
On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington Nationals stole seven bases against Jake Arrieta and Miguel Montero. It was a historically humiliating performance, the worst one either member of the battery has ever had. It was the kind of day that can make players snap.
He’s in the right place for this career move, too. You think Tim Wakefield converted to the knuckler and the mound after years of success as a position player? Wakefield spent his early 20s hitting as poorly in the low minors as Tebow has, and he switched to pitching full time at 23.