Posey returned to win the NL batting title and MVP award in 2012, when he led the Giants to their second World Series title in three seasons.
“This is, I think, in response to a few issues that have arisen,” Alderson said. “One is just the general occurrence of injuries from these incidents at home plate that affect players, both runners and catchers. And also kind of the general concern about concussions that exists not only in baseball but throughout professional sports and amateur sports today. It’s an emerging issue, and one that we in baseball have to address, as well as other sports.”
The NFL reached a settlement last summer in a concussion-related lawsuit by former players for $765 million and a group of hockey players sued the NHL last month.
Former catchers Joe Girardi, Bruce Bochy and Mike Matheny — all of them now managing in the majors — attended Wednesday’s meeting.
“I don’t think it’s completely sparked by anything that’s happened in baseball as much as what’s happening outside of baseball and how it’s impacting people and impacting the welfare of each sport,” said Matheny, now managing the St. Louis Cardinals.
But not everyone is in favor of a change.
“I lost time as a catcher being run over a couple different times, but I thought it was part of my job and I enjoyed the contact,” said Girardi, the New York Yankees’ manager. “Now I’m not so sure that everyone enjoys contact. But I love football, so I liked it.”
MLB intends to have varied levels of punishment.
“I think there will be two levels of enforcement,” Alderson said. “One will be with respect to whether the runner is declared safe or out based on conduct. So, for example, intentionally running over the catcher might result in an out call. So I think that the enforcement will be on the field as well as subsequent consequences in the form of fines and suspensions and the like.”
But drafting the rule figures to be complicated.
“Does it include at every base or just home plate?” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “What’s considered blocking the plate and how do you define all of it?”
The NCAA instituted a rule on collisions for the 2011 season, saying “contact above the waist that was initiated by the base runner shall not be judged as an attempt to reach the base or plate.” The umpire can call the runner out and also eject the player if contact is determined to be malicious or flagrant.
The rule is likely to have an effect on youth leagues, too, where player safety is a primary concern.
“The actual detail, frankly the kinds of plays that we’re trying to eliminate, we haven’t finely determined,” Alderson said. “I would expect to put together 100 of these plays and identify which ones we want to continue to allow and others that we want to prohibit, and draft a rule accordingly.”