In light of the season-ending injury to the San Francisco Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey, it’s time for Major League Baseball (MLB) to come out of the stone ages and do a better job protecting its players.

Allowing catchers to legally stand in the base path of 200-pound elite athletes running full bore at them is negligence in the area of safety on the part of MLB owners.  It’s also a poor business practice to allow valuable players to be vulnerable like this .  Catchers don’t have the protection to take blows from MLB players colliding with them at home plate — especially when they’re looking at the ball being thrown in and not the runner coming down the third base line.  Without a full view of the runner, they don’t even have time to brace for a collision.

“You don’t just replace a guy like Buster Posey,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher who said he’d like to see MLB adopt a rule to help protect catchers.

Bochy proposes a rule change that would disallow a runner from blasting full speed into the catcher if the runner has a clear lane to the plate.

“The catcher’s so vulnerable, and there’s so many that have gotten hurt,” Bochy said.  “And not just a little bit.  I mean, careers ended or shortened.”

In most states, it is now illegal to run over the catcher in high school baseball.  The same thing should happen at the higher levels of the game.

Here’s a fix:  If the catcher is blocking the base path it should be ruled interference.  The runner should always have a right to the base path and if a defensive player is in the base path — for whatever reason — it’s interference and the runner is given the base he’s headed to (in the Posey case, he would’ve been awarded home plate).

Just because MLB has been allowing catchers to block the plate — and runners to bowl them over — for 100+ years is no reason we can’t be a little more enlightened today about this archaic rule.

It’s time to change the rule.  Now.

— Ken Reed, Director & Senior Analyst, League of Fans

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