March 27, 2019

Diamondbacks Outfielder Explodes Knee in Exhibition Game: Steven Souza Jr. was going to be the starting right fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day Thursday. As he touched home to score a run Monday in a spring training game, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and posterolateral corner (PLC). He'll miss the entire season.

posted by rcade to baseball at 09:12 AM - 2 comments

In the second video, the one that looked like a cell phone video, it appears that Souza extends his right leg just a bit to reach the plate. This would put his weight slightly back and not fully over the foot and knee as he touches the plate. Since the plate is a hard surface and Souza is wearing spikes, traction is limited and the foot will tend to slide. If the sliding motion stops suddenly, the knee will be harmed.

I see this happen at least once per season when I am behind the plate. Fortunately I have not seen a serious injury yet. I'm dealing with middle school kids who are flexible and not carrying a lot of weight on the knee for the most part, but the potential is there. I have wondered what to do about the surface of the plate. Since the plate is in fair territory, the bounce of a ball off of it has to be similar to the bounce off of the hard clay. A soft surface is out of the question. Perhaps doing away with a hard plate and putting in an outline might be better. There will be problems with this such as the dirt being dug up and leaving the boundary protruding above the ground, but these things could be overcome with some technological thought. If one injury like Souza's is prevented, it's worth the effort.

posted by Howard_T at 10:09 AM on March 27

This incident made me wonder whether a painted home plate would work and whether fans and players could accept it. I'm far removed from tapping a bat on the plate as I dig in to the box, but I'd miss that anyway.

posted by rcade at 02:19 PM on March 27

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