Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who earned a hard-nosed reputation during his career as a Gold Glove-winning catcher, said that it’s time Major League Baseball outlaws contact at home plate and changes the culture of collisions. Once a fan of the toughness and edge he felt that play demonstrated, Matheny has rethought his position and believes the risk far outweighs the tradition of blocking home. “I do believe that this game will get to the point where there will no longer be a collision at the plate,” Matheny said before the Cardinals game against Boston at jetBlue Park. “And I am 100 percent in support of that. … Can this game survive without that play? I say absolutely.” Matheny spoke with former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and other MLB officials about plays at the plate and his rethought opinion earlier this spring. He expects later this spring to talk with Joe Torre, the former catcher and MVP who now works in the commissioner’s office as the executive vice president of baseball operations. Torre told reporters in Arizona that he planned to talk with Matheny about improving catcher safety at the plate, and that he is open to suggestions but not ready to make a sweeping rule change about plays at the plate. “If something is going to make the game safer and not affect the way the game is played, I’m certainly all for it,” Torre told The San Francisco Chronicle. “I really haven’t heard that thing that would make us change.” Matheny wants to try. The four-time Gold Glove winner, whose career was ended by multiple concussions and the life-altering effects they had on him, would like to see the rules rewritten so that home plate is treated like the other three bases. A tag play would be required, thus clearing the catcher out of the way of the plate and permitting the runner to get there without going through him. Matheny described home as if it were third base, where the catcher would straddle the plate and apply the tag.
Matheny: No place for collisions at plate
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Feb 27