Bruce Bochy spent his first career in baseball as a catcher, his second as a manager. He has absorbed the crush of oncoming base runners and felt the sickening despair of witnessing his own catchers’ injuries in collisions at the plate.
“The way these catchers are getting speared, they don’t have a chance,” Bochy said Wednesday. “I think it’s better to be proactive before we carry a guy off the field paralyzed and think, ‘Why didn’t we change this rule?’ ”
Now they have decided to do so. In the first step to formally eradicating a thrilling but dangerous staple of the game — and an emphatic response to the concussion crisis that has gripped other sports — Major League Baseball’s rules committee voted Wednesday to eliminate home-plate collisions.
Bochy, the manager of the San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny, whose catching career was cut short by concussions, made presentations to M.L.B.’s senior vice president, Joe Torre, and some other managers in the morning.
The committee eagerly adopted the guidelines in the afternoon.
“It was unanimous that it’s time,” Bochy said. “It was very encouraging. I personally thought either through the managers or general managers or the rules committee, there would be a few more naysayers. But there wasn’t one.”
Some former catchers, like Oakland Athletics...