Major League Baseball is on the verge of banning all helmet-to-helmet contact, a source close to the commissioner’s office has revealed.
Under the expected rule change, the league will ask umpires to “immediately eject and subsequently fine – and possibly suspend – players who’ve initiated helmet-to-helmet collisions deemed flagrant.”
“They could be arrested too,” added the source, “Pending an investigation obviously.”
The move comes in the wake of a string of recent concussions in the NFL, some due to violent collisions where a player led with his helmet while making a play.
Players, managers, and baseball analysts are already criticizing the rule, some passionately.
“It’s a physical sport, and it seems they want to chip away at that,” said Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, interviewed in the dugout as he putted a baseball into a Gatorade cup with his bat during Game 5 of the NLCS last week. “Players play on instinct. Barreling down the third base line just won’t be the same anymore. The game is ruined.”
“The integrity of the game is under attack,” said John Kruk, a former player and current ESPN analyst. “To change this rule at all, let alone in the middle of the playoffs, is a joke. First they got rid of bean-ball wars, now this abomination. What are they gonna ban next, wiping out the shortstop with a cleat to the throat? It’s a slippery slope.”
Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley was certain to make his opinion known as well.
“It’s a terrible rule and it’s your fault,” Bradley snapped, glaring at each reporter with mad eyes. “I’m not gonna comply with this one. Double period.”
“Problem?” Bradley added, pointing at one of the journalists.
The commissioner’s office has refused to comment publicly on the proposed shift, aside from a statement it released Monday stating that “the safety of our players is paramount.”
In a related story, Milton Bradley was apprehended by Seattle police late Monday for allegedly kicking a Baseball Digest reporter in the throat.
By Louis Lazar