Pete Rose sounded bowled over.
Charlie Hustle, who famously flattened Ray Fosse to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star game, couldn't believe Major League Baseball intends to eliminate home-plate collisions by 2015 at the latest.
"What are they going to do next, you can't break up a double play?" Rose said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after MLB announced its plan Wednesday.
"You're not allowed to pitch inside. The hitters wear more armor than the Humvees in Afghanistan. Now you're not allowed to try to be safe at home plate?" Rose said. "What's the game coming to? Evidently the guys making all these rules never played the game of baseball."
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, made the announcement at the winter meetings, saying the change would go into effect for next season if the players' association approved. Safety and concern over concussions were major factors fans still cringe at the thought of the season-ending hit Buster Posey absorbed in 2011.
"Ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary and routine and an accepted part of the game," Alderson said. "The costs associated in terms of health and injury just no longer warrant the status quo."
In a sport long bound by tradition, a ban will be a major step. MLB also is instituting a vast increase in the use of instant replay by umpires next season in an effort to eliminate blown calls.
Around the majors
Mets • Free-agent right-hander Bartolo Colon and New York reached a deal, giving the team the starter it was seeking to replace injured ace Matt Harvey. The deal is pending the completion of a physical for the 18-game winner. The deal is for two-years and $20 million.
Mariners • Seattle added a pair of slugging first baseman-outfielders to go along with Robinson Cano on Wednesday, reaching agreement on a one-year deal with Corey Hart and acquiring Logan Morrison in a trade with the Miami Marlins. Hart's deal is still pending what should be a closely monitored physical after Hart missed all of last season following surgery on his right knee.
Dodgers • Matt Kemp's agent said the team is not trading the All-Star outfielder. Dave Stewart spoke with general manager Ned Colletti at baseball's winter meetings, and walked away feeling confident the Dodgers wouldn't move his Kemp.
Tigers • Outfielder Rajai Davis and Detroit agreed to terms on a two-year contract worth $10 million. The 33-year-old Davis spent the last three seasons with Toronto and hit .260 this year with six homers, 24 RBIs and 45 steals.
Pirates • Pittsburgh reached a deal with right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez on a one-year contract for $5 million. The 30-year-old Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA in 2013 while splitting time with the Padres and the Dodgers.