MLB must eliminate danger at the dish

Updated: August 29, 2012, 11:05 AM ET
By Buster Olney

After enough hitters were nailed in the head during the first century of baseball, the batters started wearing helmets, because everybody realized that getting drilled by pitches is not a good way to stay on the field and get paid.

In the name of safety, most outfield walls have been padded. Nets have been placed in front of dugouts to protect bystanders from foul balls. Base coaches started wearing protection after the death of Mike Coolbaugh. Rules on how baserunners can slide into second and third base have been enforced to protect fielders. Pitchers are having their innings and pitch counts limited to improve their chances for long-term health and productivity.

And inevitably, there will be rules made to reduce collisions between baserunners and catchers, because it's a senseless outlier in baseball's risk/reward equation. Until then, however, the play will stupidly be allowed to go on, perhaps until someone else gets seriously hurt -- an ignominy that Yadier Molina narrowly avoided Tuesday night while trying to save one essentially meaningless run in one game in the midst of a career that should encompass thousands of runs and games.