Should MLB do away with charging the plate? A fan’s perspective

I'm a fan of the Florida Marlins, and even so, I'm going to say I believe Scott Cousins'(notes) collision with Buster Posey that may have ended his season (X-ray results have yet to be released and an MRI is scheduled) in the 7-6 victory in 12 innings for my beloved boys from South Florida over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, May 25, is something that—while currently legal under the rules of the sport—should be done away with for good.

I know what many will say to this article. They'll come out with some smart-aleck remark like "Man up, dude!" or "Stop being such a sissy!" Those who know me personally would only laugh at either statement in connection with me. I'm not bragging or boasting when I say with complete conviction I'm about as far from soft as you'll get.

I stand 6-2 and weigh nearly 275 pounds—and it's not fat. I played Pop Warner football as a kid and fullback in high school, was a shooting guard on my high school basketball team, and was a catcher, like Posey, when I played Little League and Pony League baseball as a youth.

I know exactly what it's like to take a hit, especially in football, but also from a runner charging toward home plate intent on scoring the go-ahead run as Cousins was doing against the Giants on Wednesday night. I remember all to well some vicious hits I took from other players as they did just that, occasionally flattening me with such brutal force I lay figuratively seeing stars for a few moments afterward.

While I would never have felt the way I do back then about this issue, as I would have saw it as a test of my manhood, I'm now older and can see it more clearly as an issue of player safety that should be paramount in the thinking of not just the league, but the fans of the game as well. While it may be thrilling to see someone run over a catcher blocking the plate like some runaway freight train, it's also a recipe for someone possibly getting seriously injured.

Some may claim I'm just getting soft in my later years, and there may be some truth to that—if by soft they mean I'm no longer enamored with violence as I once was as a kid.

Back when I was closer to my birth than my one-day pending death, I was fixated on the idea of violence. It wasn't just opponents laying me out I remember, but myself laying out plenty of them. I loved to hit people, both on and off the field or court (I can't tell you how many fights I've gotten into in my life). That temper and penchant for violence has gotten me in more trouble than I'd like to admit, and is one of the major reasons—along with the red hair of my youth (it's now blonde)—my online moniker is "Hotnuke."

Yet, as I've gotten older that love of violence has left me to a certain degree.

While I still love the game of football with all its hard hits and controlled violence, I'm anything but fascinated with seeing someone like DeSean Jackson nearly being killed by a defender as he's still defenseless after making a catch. While I still love boxing (my father was a light-heavyweight contender), I no longer hope to see someone knocked bloody and unconscious, but simply want to see a good boxing match.

And while I still want to see a player on my beloved Marlins do everything they legally can in a game to win it. I'd be more than happy to see a rule change that would eliminate the possibility of collisions like the one that took place in AT&T Park in San Francisco on Wednesday, May 25 that had the Giants fans silent as can be watching arguably their best player, and possibly their hopes of defending their title, with the help of two trainers, down the steps into the dugout and off the field.

I don't know how the rule could effectively be changed to accomplish this. I haven't given it a great deal of thought yet, and nothing immediately came to mind last night or this morning. However, if there was a way to avoid such collisions without negatively impacting the game of baseball, I'd say the owners and MLB need to seriously consider it, if for no other reason than these players have far too much value to be lost to such things.

Baseball was born well over a century ago, and back then a player really wasn't worth squat, and could be replaced fairly easily. His monetary value to the team and the owner of that team didn't equal a fraction of the value current star players have today. I would think the owners would see that, and want to protect their investment.

If someone wants to watch violent collisions, they can turn on a football game. Oh, wait, sorry, no they can't right now. Oh well.

Play Ball!

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All stats and information taken from personal notes and verified at Baseball-Reference.com and Yahoo! Sports.

Read more by Daniel Barber aka Hotnuke at TFS Sports.

*Daniel Barber has rooted for all Miami teams since he was a child or since their inception having been born right above Miami.

Source:

Baseball-Reference.com

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Updated Thursday, May 26, 2011