This shouldn't have happened.
When the Giants won 103 games, they missed the playoffs. The next year baseball said, oh!, wild card! When the Giants had home-field advantage in the 1997 playoffs, that meant opening with two games on the road. That sucked. The next year, baseball shifted to the 2-2-1 format.
Maybe another rule change will come a little too late for the Giants. And, man, how I hope it does. Barreling into a catcher adds nothing to the game of baseball. It never has. Every time I'd watch Pete Rose barrel into Ray Fosse, I'd think how messed up it was. It never really hit home until now, but it's the only element of contact in a non-contact sport. It's like the NFL using Scrabble to decide games that are tied after regulation -- it's the exact opposite of how the rest of the game is played.
Take-out slides at second can cause an injury, but there's something more organic about sliding a little late or wide. A player putting his head down and leveling a catcher is legal, and it's nonsense. I understand the logistical aspect -- you can't run through second or third base, so you have to slide,and first base is a force out, so there's no reason to knock the ball out of the first baseman's hands.
But there has to be a way to eliminate crazy-violent collisions at home plate. You can't decimate a catcher in college. They're able to enforce that somehow. There's no way to eliminate contact altogether, but there's a way to eliminate the strategy of plowing into a catcher so hard that he drops the ball. We're storming the administration building, folks. We're going to burn bras and draft cards and effigies, and we'll get this fixed.
After we stop openly weeping.