MLB Instant Replay, Roid Rules, and Catcher safety. . . .

Major League Baseball needs to show their fans some integrity. 

A lot of change is underfoot, from Steroid oversight and penalties, to Instant replay and even protecting catchers form baserunners. 

From what I understand, some players are advocating a 2 strikes, and you’re “Banned for life” rule. Makes sense to me. 

I don’t understand why they aren’t tested year round.  For an athlete to compete at that level, he’s likely been on a regimen of healthy food, exercise, supplements and training that would knock most of us out. Yet they can’t be piss tested WAY more than they are now? Please. It’s so easy for an athlete to cycle in and out of steroid usage. I’m sure of this, because of what I’ve seen the past few years. If it were more difficult, and you were likely to get caught if you cheated, not so many people would cheat, its that simple. Sure, there will always be your Balco situations of trying to be smarter than the system, but it would at least dissuade most of them form going that route. 

Then, Instant replay. . . I heard something about the league talking about using it for “game changing foul ball” decisions. . . . I really think they can do better than that. How many times have you watched a game, and seen an obvious out at first get called safe? It doesn’t take a long time to establish it with a replay during a game on TV, so why is it so difficult on the field? Why can’t we have an ump watching a replay of each play that is even borderline questionable?

I really hope they use instant replay to it’s full potential, to avoid any more situations like what happened to Galaraga’s “near-perfect” game. That was a travesty, and while the ump showed some class by acknowledging and apologizing, it really shouldn’t have happened. Galaraga won’t get close to that again in his whole career, and there’s no way to fix it. I feel like that should change. 

Now, the last hot button, is plays at the plate. Scioscia chimed in, said he feels it should stay the same, Torre said it was how we’ve been playing for so long that we shouldn’t change it, but I wonder. 

I played catcher in little league for two years. I was SO relieved to move to outfield after those two years. I got bonked on the head, spiked in the arm, hit with bats, and yes, charged down and run into by an overzealous baserunner on a couple of occasions. It hurts. Still, it is part of the position, and this is why nobody expects a catcher to move really fast. It’s a position that’s known to wear you down, shorten your careers, and generally break strong men. 

Now, there is talk of banning collisions at the plate, giving a baserunner a clear lane to run in, and the catcher his own space to make the play. A plate charging stocky baserunner is probably one of my favorite plays to watch, but I have to sympathize with any catcher who wants no part of it. It leaves too much room for injury, and gives an oppurtunity to do something dirty as well, like throw up a forearm, or ruin someone’s career ala Pete Rose vs Ray Fosse in the 1970 all star game. He was an all star, and never quite the same after taking that hit. I love Pete Rose, but that seemed to be just dirty to me, probably because I was a catcher. It’s a philosophical split to be sure, and your opinion likely falls with where you identify, in that play at the plate situation. . . . Do you see yourself as the baserunner charging down the catcher, or as the catcher bracing yourself for the baserunner? 

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, I’ve been out of baseball for a couple of years, basically since the last steroid mess, which is still panning out. I’m not sure if they can get me back as a full fledged hardcore fan again, but at least they seem to be making changes, to get fans like me back. For now, I’ll watch with a wary eye. . . . 

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