The Mets have decided that they will not allow Travis d”Arnaud to block the plate if a runner is trying to score on a close play. I understand the thinking, but I’m not sure how happy I am about this.
“He’s the future,” Terry Collins told the Daily News in explaining the team’s thinking. “So we’re going to be smart about this. When he gets to the big leagues, things may change, but right now — let’s let him get to the big leagues. The thing is, catchers with his offensive potential, they’re hard to find.”
The Mets are concerned about d’Arnaud’s injury history; he hurt his knee last season, but on a slide into second base, not on a play at the plate.
They also saw what happened to Buster Posey in 2011, when he broke his leg blocking the plate and missed most of the season. The Mets are not the first team to do this in the aftermath of Posey’s ugly and costly injury.
But here’s the thing — collisions at the plate are a part of baseball. Unless they are outlawed completely, and apparently there is a move afoot to do just that, all catchers should be expected to block the plate and possibly sacrifice themselves to help the team. Now granted, allowing a run to score is small potatoes compared to losing a player to injury. But still, it is just wrong to stand to the side of the plate while a runner strolls in.
Actually, the Mets never should have made this proclamation. So few runners even initiate contact anymore; I believe the last Met to bowl over a catcher was Ty Wigginton, and he hasn’t played for the team in a decade. The Mets would have been smart to keep this information private, and let other teams think plays at the plate would be contested.
In any case, this is probably the smart move for the Mets and Travis d’Arnaud. But it is just another example of the pussification of sports.