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NCAA Approves Obstruction Rule Change


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4 replies to this topic

#1
CatOsterFan

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A few weeks ago the NCAA approved a new rule regarding obstruction.  Beginning in 2018, players will be forbidden from blocking or otherwise obstructing a base or home plate until they have the ball.  Additionally, the runner can SLIDE and make contact (but cannot run into or "railroad" the catcher) if the defender is blocking the plate.  If the defender blocks the plate before possessing the ball, the runner will be called safe.

 

I think this is a good rule.  Major League Baseball created this rule a few years ago after a star catcher, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, was hit by a runner on his way to home plate and suffered a season-ending injury.  To better protect its players, the MLB created the rule that to block the plate, you must have the ball.

 

It makes sense that the NCAA would institute this rule for the same safety reasons.



#2
MammaZord

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This is a good rule. I always hated how catchers in the MLB would block the plate when they didn't have the ball. I remember that Posey injury—it was gruesome. 



#3
hitgirl

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I totally disagree.  The new rule will eliminate some of the most exciting plays in softball.  American sports fans love contact, and female sports have precious little of it compared to male sports (most obviously football, but also hockey and even basketball)—now they will have even less.  Roller derby was the most popular female sport on television for years because of the contact.  We're trying to increase the popularity of women's softball, not diminish it.



#4
MammaZord

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I understand your sentiment about losing the excitement in the game by eliminating collisions at the plate. You are right, fans love to see violent plays at the plate, and big hits are a big draw for hugely popular sports like football and hockey. However, I am not convinced that softball should try to emulate these collisions in order to gain popularity....

 

Take a look at the rule linked above and you will see that there still can be exciting plays at the plate. Per the new rule, if the defensive player has the ball, she can still block the plate. Furthermore, the offensive player can still make contact as long as she is in the act of sliding.

 

The NCAA has done a good job here in preserving exciting plays at the plate while being mindful of player safety. Having a catcher stand in font of the plate without the ball only to get trucked by the baserunner is just unnecessarily risky for the players.  As far as gaining popularity: NCAA softball should not try to rely on violent collisions in order to appease some members of the masses who require violence to enjoy sport. 



#5
jlurban

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Great points.  See also the related topic Railroading the Catcher.






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