Daily Distractions: Some not-so-final thoughts on home plate collisions.

Brian Jordan

Home plate collisions are rare and exciting, but their elimination was a calculated risk by Major League Baseball. (Associated Press photo)

In my story for today’s newspaper about the Dodgers’ reactions to the new rule banning home-plate collisions, I focused on the micro: The thoughts in the moment, the individual experiences that gave birth to the thoughts in the moment.

Here are some big-picture figures and facts worth mentioning:

A.J. Ellis is entering his 12th season of professional baseball. He’s played 890 games and estimates that he’s been part of “a dozen or more” home-plate collisions in his career.

Tim Federowicz is entering his seventh season of professional baseball. He’s played 568 games and has been involved in two collisions.

Drew Butera is entering his 10th professional season. Six hundred ninety two games, “five or six” collisions.

In reality, the scope of Rule 7.13 banning home-plate collisions in baseball is extremely limited. The three catchers on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster have played a total of 2,150 professional games — the equivalent of 13 full seasons, and then some — and have been part of a total of 20 collisions. Let’s call it one collision every 100 games.

The plays are memorable precisely because they are rare. “In all of them,” Butera said of his collisions, “they were in close games, toward the end of the game.” Fans remember those kind of plays.

That said, the tradeoff for the league was a calculated one.

Those are the facts, and baseball isn’t hiding them. If anything, the tipping point might have been when Joe Mauer visited the Mayo Clinic following a concussion and came back a first baseman.

Still, Federowicz wasn’t convinced that he’s entirely safer because of the rule.

“Instead of being able to hit us in the chest,” he said, “they have to take out our knees. I guess we have to learn a new technique for tagging guys out.”

Remember, rule 7.13 is “experimental” for this season. If catchers are still in line for serious injuries, the league will simply change the rule.

Some bullet points for a Soviet Occupation Day:

Clayton Kershaw lost his #FaceOfMLB showdown to David Wright. This is also a contest where Mike Trout was a first-round bust, Derek Jeter lost to Jose Bautista, and Eric Sogard is one of baseball’s four most popular players.

• If you didn’t catch the Dodgers’ intrasquad game Monday, I uploaded video of the game highlights here. If you want to see a full-computer-screen-sized clip of Joc Pederson hauling in Andre Ethier‘s warning track fly ball, watch it here.

Jason Kidd referenced the movie “42″ when he talked to the New Jersey Nets players about welcoming Jason Collins back into the NBA.

• I invite comments (here, or on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram) from any Australians who have been following the lead-up to Opening Day between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Here’s one:

• Did a young Woodrow Wilson invent fantasy baseball in 1871?

• Love TOKiMONSTA’s take on “If This World Were Mine” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell:

Here’s the original:

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
This entry was posted in JP on the Dodgers and tagged , , , , , by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.