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Dr. Helen

“Call me a wimp, if you like,…”

December 17th, 2013 - 10:50 am

Fine, I will then. John M. Crisp, who teaches English at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, has an article entitled “Throw out home-plate collisions:”

Briefly, for the non-fan: Baseball is essentially a non-contact sport. Unless a fielder is holding the ball or in the act of catching it, a runner approaching any base must be given a clear path and is ordinarily prevented from reaching the base only by a tag with the ball. Collisions on the base paths are relatively rare.

The exception is home plate, where a runner attempting to score is often physically blocked by the catcher. The result is a punishing collision between ballplayers, one running at top speed, one dug in hard, and both essentially unprotected. Collisions at home plate are generally inconsistent with all the rest of baseball, and they have inflicted serious injuries and ended careers.

The final language of the new rule is under development, but likely it will mean the end of violent home-plate collisions.If Major League Baseball eliminates home-plate collisions, look for someone to object that they might as well be playing softball.

Call me a wimp, if you like, but indulge for a moment the assertion that the games we play should require speed, skill, endurance, teamwork, strategy, competition, sportsmanship and so on, but they should not serve as vehicles for encouraging an overwrought sense of macho manliness. And they should not inflict on their players injuries that are permanent.

In fact, games supported by public money, that is, those played in public colleges and high schools, should have positive, lifelong physical benefits for as many citizens as possible.

Note the aversion to “macho manliness.” Goodness, we certainly wouldn’t want any of that!

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All Comments   (16)
All Comments   (16)
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There was a time when crude physical strength could win things and make a person successful in life(during the time of jungle law). As things moved on and co operation became more important than competition, skills became more important(physical, mental, leadership, emotional etc etc) and a crude display of strength, especially on another living creature rather than an inanimate object just displayed primitive caveman like attitudes which were considered uncivilized. And as this happened in civilization, so too it started reflecting in sport where even physical sports became non touch and more skill based and less strength based. Baseball is basically a less refined version of the English game of cricket(cricket was played by the English aristocracy of the days while baseball was played by the working class). The English game of cricket strictly prohibits any kind of avoidable injuries to any player for any reason whatsoever and rules and equipment were continuously upgraded to ensure that the highest levels of sportsmanship were maintained. It was not for no reason that cricket was called the gentlemans game. And cricket always emphasized skill rather than brute strength and the rules allow for the smart to make it big in the game if they develop the skill even if they are not physically big hulks. Similarly for volleyball or basketball especially when you go outside USA where any physical contact with another player is severely frowned upon. It is just a matter of bringing baseball in tune with the times. For all you know, this rule may already be in force in some countries which play baseball.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
So............
Not a rugby fan, then?
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm all for physical prowess and toughness. Plays at the plate have a ridiculously high amount of CAREER ending injuries. And allowing a sliver for the runner simply doesn't change the integrity of the game. I think its unfair to the catchers in the big leagues to have to participate in a play that could end their career when it doesn't change anything with regards to the game to allow a sliver of the plate free for the runner.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of my uncles played minor league baseball. He played catcher. He's a big guy, very old now. He also played semi-pro football for a while. Once he broke the runner's ribs when the guy tried to run over him at home plate.

That said, one of the purposes of sports if for males to develop and demonstrate physical prowess and toughness. Characteristics often associated with masculinity. When you make a sport too wimpy, males migrate to more risky sports - skateboarding, snow boarding, and other more extreme sports.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Like Expat21, I disagree with Crisp's "macho manliness" trope, but I do agree that the rule should change. Unlike football, baseball isn't intended to be a violent sport, and its rules have changed several times over the years in ways which reduce the risk of injury. Batters wear helmets because of the one time a major-league player was killed by a fastball to the head, and pitchers are ejected from the game if they deliberately throw at batters.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
His reasons for why it should be changed almost made me change my mind....I can't believe I agree with such an idiot. "but they should not serve as vehicles for encouraging an overwrought sense of macho manliness." This guy never played sports or played them well... Translation: No one should feel strong and manly because I never experienced victory when I was younger wah wah wah
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm going to agree with Helen that John M. Crisp is indeed a wimp, but agree with John that the rule should be tweaked. I love football and baseball. I don't agree that we should change sports just to try and allow it to be played by everyone. That's ridiculous. HOWEVER

The rule should be tweaked because the catcher does not have a choice in the MLB. If he doesn't move they will get somebody who will. Catchers dedicate their whole lives to the sport, I played catcher for a little while, only to have their careers ended early in their career on plays at the plate. Also, a runner is in just a precarious a situation. These guys aren't wearing pads people! Yes, Crisp is a simp, but that doesn't mean he isn't right about the rule. I'm all for competitive contact sports including the UFC, it doesn't mean they shouldn't tweak this rule. The play at home achieves nothing, but career ending injuries. It doesn't take anything away from the game to force the catcher to allow a sliver of the plate open for the runner.

If they DON'T change the rule, guaranteed someone is going to get killed eventually. It's a stupid situation right now and it's good their changing it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
"If they DON'T change the rule, guaranteed someone is going to get killed eventually. It's a stupid situation right now and it's good their changing it. "

Baseball is 150 or more years old. When will "...eventually" occur?

I wouldn't play softball because I liked the game of baseball, as is...

And I was a catcher.
ta
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is one of my pet peeves. Masculine is not synonymous with macho. Masculine denotes a manly heterosexual. Macho denotes the dominant male in a homosexual relationship. Why do you think the Village People sang "I want to be a a macho man / A mucho macho man"? Because masculine has too many sylllables to fit in the rhythm? Please.

Masculine does not refer to some muscle bound freak. It simply refers to a man who is strong, confident and unafraid. Masculine men play sports. Macho men cruise gay bars.

So when this English professor, in Corpus Christi of all places, condemns contact sports for "encouraging an overwrought sense of macho manliness," it just shows that he knows absolutely nothing of what he is talking about.

I suppose he would prefer that we eliminate football and replace it with soccer as the national sport. Yeah, well, lots of kids suffer brain trauma from repeatedly butting a soccer ball with their head. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, football causes concussions. Can't mention that soccer causes just as many if not more, that would undermine the narrative.

To quote Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon."
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
This guy has obviously never been on the receiving end of a 90mph fastball. He's never been spiked at Shortstop, nor has he ever had someone try to break up a double play by sliding away from the bag.

So his argument that it's "inconsistent with all the rest of baseball" is without merit. Baseball's a violent sport. Yeah, there's not the collisions of football, but getting beaned is a pretty violent act.

The thing is, there are rules as to what's acceptable and what isn't, and it's largely self-policing. The notion of a home-plate collision is that the player has as much right to home plate as the catcher does.

Collisions, they're a risk that the catcher takes. He consciously makes a decision to defend the plate and take the hit. He can stand out of the way and try to dodge it, but he chose to defend the plate to prevent the run. It's not like some guy is hitting someone undefended. Getting hit sucks, and it has caused injuries, but so has playing video games, so has walking on ice, and so has a myriad of other daily activities that probably have a lot more chance of happening in the real world, but don't happen in front of an audience.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Goodness, we certainly wouldn’t want any of that!"

I'm not sure what to make of Helen. She has never - and will never - have to physically do these things, but she seems to want to be on the side of all the wimp-name-callers. The bizarre thing is that she would most certainly be a wimp, but she gets a pass as a "girl". She will never be under pressure to "provide protection".

Certainly confusing.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not sure what you are saying here. Are you saying that I think that men should have to "provide protection?" I do not. I just don't think an English professor and his ilk need to decide the rules for baseball--they tend to want the game toned down so that it does not appear "masculine or macho." Are you saying that no man should be allowed to engage in any sport that might hurt them? If so, why?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Crisp referred to an OVERWROUGHT SENSE of macho manliness. This is a distinction that everyone seems to have missed. And the baseball ruling is not meant to protect all the players from merely getting hurt. It is meant to protect them from serious injury. ....if you criticize or ridicule so indiscriminately, your observations lose their effect and just become part of the background noise of complaint that fogs up the Internet.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yup. I agree that men - probably "people", because I hate wimpy, manipulative-with-feminine-wiles-type girls as well - should have some tolerance for the rough and tumble of life, the comic-book type view promoted by some of the guys here is ridiculous. The really tough guy gets to kiss the girl in the end (if he survives).

And if women are promoting that view for whatever reason - well, I guess I don't mind that the wanna-be tough guys get the "prize". It all has its harmony.

As a side note - I think that Helen's husband seems like a good guy, but he doesn't strike me as particularly "tough". It's interesting that Helen seems to be promoting the tough guy image of men. I remember years ago on her other blog that she talked about men being cowards for not stepping in to help women being assaulted, and she also talked about some 5-foot woman even stepping in. I wondered: If she was watching it, and she promotes toughness, why didn't SHE step in? Certain things just don't apply to her.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
She didn't call him a wimp. He called himself a wimp, and she agreed.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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