Sunday Scorecard: Time to crack down on collisions at home plate?
The crummy Sunday weather has given you an extra day to get ready for your Memorial Day grilling – or just an excuse to plant yourself on the couch and relax a little bit. No matter what your holiday weekend plans include, let's make sure we take a few minutes to remember just why we have Monday off in the first place.
With that said, let's move onto the notes.
Coming through: Aside from enraging armchair managers across Wisconsin, Prince Fielder's attempt to knock the ball out of San Francisco catcher Eli Whiteside's glove Friday night once again stirred up the argument about collisions at home plate.
The Fielder-Whiteside collision came just days after Giants catcher Buster Posey was lost for the year in a similar run in at home plate.
Collisions between base runners and catchers have been a part of the game since the days of Abner Doubleday. The ultimate goal, players will tell you, is to get your foot on home plate.
Fielder isn't the only one to come in hard to home plate. Outfielder Nyjer Morgan is known for his run-ins with catchers. A former hockey player, Morgan created a bit of controversy last season when he barreled into St. Louis catcher Bryan Anderson and not long after that, into Florida's Brett Hayes.
This year, Morgan wound up on the disabled list with a deep thigh bruise after a hard slide home April 18 at Pittsburgh. Considering Manager Ron Roenicke's aggressive approach to base running, does he agree with those calling for rules against blocking the plate in light of Posey's injury?
"That's a hard question for me to answer," Roenicke said. "I came up with Mike Scioscia, watching him at home plate, so I get a different look on it than I think what everybody else did. It's hard to say you shouldn't hit a guy, then sometimes the catcher buries home plate, and you can't get there unless you run him over."
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy doesn't think changes are necessary.
"It's part of the game," Lurcoy said. "I say that unselfishly because I always say 'I don't want the same thing to happen to me' but it's tough.
"When a guy is blocking the plate like that, you've got to hit him. Whether they are blocking the plate or not, you're still trying to score. That's the ultimate goal in this game."
While it's true that catchers are in a precarious position, it's hard to disagree with Lucroy. Catchers are taught how to properly position themselves to protect the plate. Collisions are an occupational hazard. But instituting a rules change would be difficult. What is the alternative? It's a bit much to make it mandatory for a player to slide, just to protect the catcher.
"If a guy is holding the ball in between you and the plate and you're trying to score, you're going to try and knock that ball loose," Lucroy said. "It's just part of the game."
Stay dry: University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal last week that the school has no plans to allow beer sales at Camp Randall Stadium as his counterpart at West Virginia, Oliver Luck, has proposed during Mountaineers football games as a way to increase revenue for the program.
As much as we here at Scorecard HQ enjoy the thought of throwing down a couple of cold ones prior to "jumping around," it's probably best that Alvarez sticks to his guns on this one.
Make no mistake, drinking is just as much a part of football Saturdays in Madison as the Fifth Quarter, the Tuba March and Mike Mahnke. But there is a line and while it hasn't been fully crossed yet, let's face it ... it's not that far away.
Selling beer in-house would do little to curtail the drunkeness in the stands (which causes stupid decisions like rushing the field after beating Northwestern) and would have hardly any impact on underage drinking.
"I wouldn't even try to bring it up," Alvarez told the State Journal's Andy Baggot.
Smart move, Barry. Smart move.
Temporary truce: Any bitterness between Packers players and management during the NFL lockout will be put aside June 16 when the team holds a ceremony to hand out Super Bowl rings.
"I talked to the commissioner," team president Mark Murphy said. "They worked with us. I think the sense was this was really based on what we accomplished last year."
Unlike the last time the Packers won a championship, they will invite all players to the ceremony. After Super Bowl XXXI, the team found itself in controversy after Desmond Howard, Chris Jacke and Andre Rison weren't invited to the ceremony.
The private ceremony will be held in the Lambeau Field Atrium and is an exception to the lockout, which remains in place and threatens the 2011 season.
The traditional trip to the White House is still on hold.
Larry King Lounge: James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales have collaborated on a 763-page history of ESPN. It's available now and if you're a sports fan, you'll want this in your library ... When did Eric Wynalda and Brad Friedel get English accents? ... The Brewers will make five appearances on MLB Network in June ... The average price for an NBA Finals ticket is $1,033, up from an average of $892 a year ago. Tickets for games in Miami are averaging $1,135 and games in Dallas are going for an average of $865 ... UW-Whitewater's baseball season came to an end with a 4-2 loss to Chapman Sunday at the NCAA Division III Championship Series in Appleton.
If you want to outlaw collisions at the plate as a way to offset injuries, why not just get rid of a pitcher all together and put a pitching machine on the mound to avoid the possibility of both high and tight pitches, as wel as screamers back up the middle? Injuries happen in sports, that's one of the reason they get paid so much money to play. I thought Brad Fridel's strange new english accent was more noticeable that Eric Wynalda's. I understand that Curt Menafe's whole purpose is supposed to have some sort of crossover recognition for the big Fox Sports audience, but good god, keep him away from soccer matches. He bothces Pep Guardiola's name, said Ryan Giggs was 20 years old, and just made a terrible impression, even Michaela Strahan's little bit was better than everything Menafe said. I was nearly nauseous watching him and Wynalda lift the cup. At least Wynalda had the decency to actually say 'I can't believe i'm touching this thing'. Ian Darke would have been a much better choice or take the guys from FSC and use Derek Taylor or JP Dellacamera. The end all be all of commentators of course would have been Ray Hudson, and it would have been fitting for a Barcelona Final to have somebody who isn't gagging on the epicness of Manchester United for once.
If a catcher wants to avoid a collision than he should position himself in front of the bag and perfect the sweep tag. The runner has he right to the base and if the catcher is blocking the plate, than he should get ready for impact.
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