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MLB moves toward banning home-plate collisions

The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Home-plate collisions, long the staple of highlight reels, are soon to become a thing of the past in the major leagues.

Major League Baseball's playing-rules committee recommended outlawing the collisions Wednesday during the Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

The rule must be approved by both the 30 major league owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association in order for it to be implemented in time for next season. Otherwise, it can be unilaterally imposed by the committee for the start of the 2015 season.

"The exact language and how exactly the rule will be enforced is subject to final determination," said committee chairman Sandy Alderson, the New York Mets' general manager. "We're going to do a fairly extensive review of the types of plays that occur at home plate to determine which we're going to find acceptable and which are going to be prohibited."

Alderson said putting in the rule is an attempt to reduce the number of injuries that occur in collisions, especially concussions.

"There a general concern about concussions that exists not only in baseball but throughout professional sports and amateur sports," Alderson said. "It's an emerging issue, and one that we in baseball have to address as well as other sports."

Home-plate collision are banned on all levels of amateur baseball, and Alderson said MLB likely would pattern its rules after those in high school and college. Umpires will have the option of ejecting any runner attempting to knock a catcher off his feet, and that player also might be subject to being fined and/or suspended.

"It has to do with a number of different things, positioning, intent, a variety of things that we are going to look at," Alderson said. "Umpires will have some discretion, but at the same time, umpires have other things to do deciding whether the run scores or doesn't score. So it's a little more complicated than it would appear.

"I think ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary and routine and an accepted part of the game, that ... the costs associated in terms of health and injury just no longer warrant the status quo."

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