Preventing catcher injuries
A play at home plate is arguably the most exciting in baseball. And the most dangerous.
High-profile incidents have brought controversy to the play, and some are calling to either set rules to keep catchers from blocking the plate, runners from plowing into catchers, or both. Ironically, not too many catchers support the idea of outlawing the play.
“Some guys choose to give up the plate, and then take it away,” says Indians catcher Lou Marson. “I believe that if I’m over the plate, you’re gonna slow down a bit if you see me standing there. I know a lot of teams are telling their guys to not block the plate, but I kinda like contact to be honest with you.”
So how can we keep catchers safe?
Stressing the fundamentals is what Rob Leary, the minor league field and catching coordinator for the Cleveland Indians, does to reducing injuries. He knows that getting out and preventing runs is what defense is all about.
“But you want to be smart about it. We want these guys to get into a good athletic position where they can react to the ball and make the tag in a good athletic position of strength, so the fundamental side is taken care of, but also from a health perspective,” said Leary
And depending on the situation, sometimes the catcher simply has to concede the run and not be a hero, according to Seattle Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo.
As regards General Liability Insurance for baseball teams, the existence of a player vs. player exclusion brings into question coverage for a home plate collision resulting in a catcher injury lawsuit against an aggressive baserunner. The player vs. player exclusion would likely prohibit coverage for an overly aggressive base runner.
Source: Bob Harkins, “Danger, excitement of the home plate collision,” nbcsport.com, 04 Apr. 2012