Nationals fans will remember Jesus Flores being taken out by Chase Utley, who launched himself into Flores's knee in a move more appropriate for a pro wrestler than a baseball player. There wasn't much outcry then.
Carlos Santana suffered a season-ending injury last year on a similar play--that's arguably the two best catchers in baseball going down in consecutive seasons in completely preventable injuries.
It's irritating to me that a star athlete has to get hurt to put this issue on the radar, but if this finally prompts a revision of the rules (or more accurately enforcement of the runner interference rules already on the books), that will be a good thing.
There was a time, early in the last century, when baseball was truly a contact sport. Pitchers threw at hitters. Baserunners would sucker-punch shortstops rounding second base. What we call "breaking up a double play" today would have been considered pansy stuff back then.
Today's game has changed, but one artifact of the old days remains. It's still perfectly acceptable for a catcher to block home plate and for a baserunner to plow into him head first.
First basemen can't block the bag on a close play, and runners can't try to block the first baseman from catching a throw. But for some reason when it's a close play at home, baseball turns into ultimate fighting.
The rule should have been changed a long time ago, and hopefully now it finally will.