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Panda completely trucks catcher in Mexican League game originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Pablo Sandoval saw firsthand the impact a home-plate collision can have on a catcher during his time with the Giants, but he recently was involved in one of his own during a close Mexican League game.
The former San Francisco third baseman now plays for Olmecas de Tabasco, who were in the seventh inning of a tie ball game on Thursday night when Sandoval tried scoring from second on a base hit to left field.
While MLB installed a home-plate collision rule back in 2014, there are no such protections for catchers and runners in the Mexican League. So in his effort to score, the Kung Fu Panda absolutely trucked catcher Hans Wilson -- who was somehow able to make the tag as he held onto the ball.
After the collision, Sandoval stumbles to the ground then returns to Wilson to place a hand on his chest before returning to the dugout as boos rain down.
The violent play certainly wouldn’t have flown in an MLB game, where the aforementioned home-plate collision rule became the law of the land to prevent injuries like the one Sandoval’s former teammate Buster Posey suffered in 2011.
Under the rule, a catcher isn’t allowed to block home plate without the ball unless he already has the ball, or unless the throw takes him into the runner’s lane. If neither of those apply, the catcher must leave the lane open for the runner to slide.
If the catcher has the ball or the throw moves him in front of the plate, however, the runner is not allowed to run into him like they were in the past.
But such plays are still permitted in the Mexican League, and whether intentional or not, Sandoval barreled into Wilson like an NFL linebacker just after the ball reached the plate.
Sandoval was brought up to the big leagues as a catcher, so there’s no doubt he understands the dangers that can come with the position.
And after the scary collision he was involved in on Thursday, you have to hope that Wilson is OK.