If you think watching baseball is a snooze already, then prepare your fluffiest pillows and don your nightcap the next time you turn on the game. Major League Baseball has banned one of the few remaining moments of excitement from America’s pastime. The MLB’s Rules Committee issued a ruling that would eliminate all home plate collisions between runners and catchers in an effort to reduce the chance of a collision causing a concussion to either players.
According to the new rule, runners must now slide into home plate if they see that the catcher has the ball and avoid any and all contact with the catcher. Also, catchers cannot block home plate if they have the ball while the runner is rounding third base. They have to give runners “a path of the plate” and can only tag them out just like every other baseman on the field.
This new rule won’t go into effect until 2014 and probably won’t see full implementation until 2015–but it’s definitely going to change our expectation of the game. Baseball isn’t an inherently violent sport, and we’re not suggesting that it should be. We can appreciate the subtly of baseball’s strategies and nuances as well as the next discerning sports fan. However, the home plate collision was one of the only remaining moments of sheer chaos that fans could look forward to in between those long innings with nothing happening. We’ve seen some games that went slow enough to turn into chess. The mayhem will be missed.