Another argument is that Posey and all catchers understand the risk when they sign up to play catcher. It’s notoriously demanding behind the plate, and catchers know what they’re getting themselves into. It sounds good on the surface. Well, what do you think about factory workers? Back at the beginning of the century, they understood the risks of working in Industrial Revolution factories, but society still realized the conditions were too dangerous and changed the situation. Yes, they understand the risks, but that doesn’t mean they should be there to begin with. Yes, if I had the chance to make millions as a catcher, I would do it, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer to do it without getting crushed at home plate.
I also saw this argument, but I don’t think it was common. Catchers have pads and can withstand being hit. Just in case you believe this, yes, catchers have pads, but they aren’t great. They’re only somewhat helpful against half-pound leather projectiles, but that’s usually one after the ball has hit the ground. They don’t work against 200+ pound athletes barreling into you. Pads don’t always work well enough in football, and catcher pads are much worse at protecting the human body.
The next argument is what you would have the runner do instead. Slide around, of course. Players only bowl into home because they can. It isn’t allowed at first or third, and it’s only marginally allowed at second. But players don’t run through the defenders there. If there was a rule that took away the option to bowl over the catcher at home, runners wouldn’t even think about doing it. They would slide. Yes, I realize that guys like Josh Hamilton can get hurt when catchers fall on them trying to protect the plate, but we can also make adjustments to how the catcher should act—ie. no falling down unless it’s to receive the ball somehow (most other position players won’t drop to a knee to block the base, and just because catchers have pads doesn’t mean they should be able to use them like that). Look, players and coaches have to make the decision on whether or not they should go home, and having to slide is just another thing to take into account, which they pretty much already do.
The next argument was that runners, in fear the catcher will hit them, they prepare and hit the catcher. Let’s think about that for a moment. Why would the catcher hit them or prepare to do so? Because the runner is allowed to hit them. They gear up for it just like the runners do it. If the play is made illegal (from either runner or catcher), then no one is gearing up for contact. There’s no reason for the catcher or runner to fear getting hit.
I understand the excitement over plays at the plate. Runs are crucial, and we want to know that our player is doing his best to score or prevent the run. For whatever reason, we think that means contact and collisions. I guess it’s because it’s a sacrifice of the body to do so, but why is it necessary for either player to do so? Yes, it’s a dangerous play regardless, but those who would change the rules should change it in favor of the runner and the catcher. The runner cannot run into the catcher. The catcher cannot contact the runner with anything other than his glove, and he cannot drop his knee down to block the plate (those knee pads can be dangerous, and the catcher shouldn’t be throwing his weight around anymore than any other player at another base). Home plate collisions are dangerous, and they are unnecessarily so. I’d rather see Posey or Hamilton for the entire season than the occasional tackle at home plate.