It's an argument that comes up every time there's a collision at home plate during a baseball game, usually after someone is injured as a result of it.
"Home plate collisions are dangerous and unnecessary, and should be taken out of the game."
Most recently, this argument came up across the nation after the Pittsburgh Pirates' Josh Harrison plowed into Yadier Molina on Wednesday night, knocking Molina out of the game and the Cards' subsequent game against the Pirates. Molina held onto the ball, and Harrison was out. The play was clean, and both players acknowledged that there was nothing dirty about it. Only some extremist sports writers believe the play wasn't clean.
As long as it's clean, home plate collisions are a part of the game, and there's no reason to get rid of it. It's been a part of the game since the beginning of baseball, and sure, there have been some incidents, but as a whole, no one has really had a problem with it until the past five years or so, when a number of people have adopted this belief that all sports should be played in tutus and fuzzy pink slippers.
I get it. These collisions are dangerous. I hate to see people get injured as much as everyone else. But again, it's a part of the game. It's just like hard slides when a runner tries to break up a double play at second base. It's a part of the game, and I'd venture a guess to say that just as many players are injured there as they are at home plate. You don't hear anyone chomping at the bit to get rid of those hard slides, do you?
For that matter, you could also say that pitching is dangerous, since some players are injured when they're hit in the wrist or on the head. If you want to get rid of everything dangerous, why don't we get rid of the pitcher altogether and just let players hit from a tee or a pitching machine? You might as well get rid of running while you're at it, since you run the risk of injuring yourself by running into the wall while making a catch. Is that what you want, America? Batters hitting from a tee and players casually strolling to catch fly balls (oh, wait — Alfonso Soriano already does the latter part)?
The collision at home plate shows a sign of toughness and effort on both sides of things. The runner shows he's not giving up on a play until the very end, and the catcher shows toughness by hanging in there to attempt to make the tag and keep his opponent from scoring. It's also a play that can energize a team. A play that, at the end of the year, a team will look back upon and say, "that was one of the plays that defined our season."
Page 2 of 2 - If you want to take out everything that's fun and exciting in baseball, sure, go ahead and take out home plate collisions. But you do that, and you'll just be watching a bunch of adults play tee-ball and run around in giant bubbles.
Alix Kunkle is the News Editor of the Leesville Daily Leader in Leesville, La. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.