Gardenhire concerned about likely rule change to eliminate collisions
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FORT MYERS, Fla. - Major League Baseball is pushing towards a rule change that would outlaw catcher collisions at home plate. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire isn't a fan.
The rule change, although not yet approved by the Players' Association, would put too much added pressure on the home plate umpire, Gardenhire said.
"My biggest fear through all this is that they're putting more on the shoulders of the umpires to make judgment decisions. It's going to lead to issues because it's a tough situation for umpires to be in," Gardenhire said. "They have to make the decision whether the runner slid, should've slid or didn't have a chance to slide. They're going to put that on their shoulders because it's not definitive whichever way they go."
Gardenhire likely will get some further clarification when the MLBPA convenes for a meeting this weekend, a meeting Gardenhire is scheduled to attend.
The Twins, in the meantime, won't teach a different way than they have in the past, as pitchers and catchers work on fundamentals this week and next.
"We're going on as business remains business and we're doing our regular catching. We're teaching them to protect themselves and proper technique no matter which way it'll go -- whether they get run over or not we teach the technique that if you're at home plate and the runner is coming in, to keep your toe pointed toward third base.
"If you leave it open you can get whacked pretty good and if you leave it closed you can get whacked on the knee. So if you get that toe and plant that foot at third base you can probably survive it unless you're really in a bad situation. We'll do technique whether they have these rules or not. We still have to teach proper technique," Gardenhire said.
Perhaps most of all, Gardenhire said he fears for the safety of runners approaching home plate.
"There's going to be times when I guy comes in there with no place to go and slides and he gets hurt and then you're going to have issues because he can't protect himself as a runner trying to score and a catcher whacks him," Gardenhire said. "You're going to have a lawsuit in my opinion."
"I think there's a lot involved and they're trying to do the best they can. I think there's issues. I'm more worried about my runners going in there than my catchers. They're going to have change what they do to score, which is scary because that's how you get hurt."