The traditional focal point of every baseball game, the act of crossing home plate to score a run, has become a point of contention off the field this season, as Nippon Professional Baseball seeks to remove collisions at home from its game.
Traditionally a year or a step behind Major League Baseball, NPB has now moved a step ahead of its American counterpart in the trend toward a less violent product. Whereas MLB moved to eliminate egregious collisions at home plate, NPB has moved to eliminate collisions altogether.
Yet NPB's radical move has not been without its growing pains. Two out calls this month -- when throws easily beat the runner and easy tags were applied -- were overturned following video reviews. Kazuhide Kinefuchi, who administers NPB's Central League, admitted last week that the implementation of the rule is a work in progress.