Dr. Helen

"Call me a wimp, if you like,..."

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!