The World According to Keitho

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A bush league of his own

Posted by keithosaunders on June 7, 2011

Tom Hanks said it best:  There’s no crying in baseball.  Tell that to Brian Sabean, GM of the San Francisco Giants.  In the wake of losing his All Star catcher, Buster Posey, due to a collision at home plate with the Marlin’s Scott Cousins, Sabean has lobbied for rules changes, and threatened retaliation.  

The play came in the 12th inning of a 6-6 tie.  Emilio Bonifacio hit a shallow fly ball which was caught for the second out.  Cousins tagged from third, while Posey stood directly in front of the plate, waiting for the throw from right fielder, Nate Schierholtz.  Cousins lowered his shoulder and barreled into Posey at full speed as Posey failed to field the throw.  It was a brutal, yet clean hit.

Sabean, in a subsequent radio interview on KNBR, called the hit malicious saying, “If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy.”  He left little doubt that the Giants are planning on seeking revenge on Cousins.

Cousins, for his part, felt terrible about the injury.  Immediately after the collision you can see him standing over Posey, clearly concerned and shaken up by the incident.  He has called Posey several times to apologize.

What would Sabean and Posey have had Cousins do?  If he slides and is out, Cousins would be branded as soft.  He is probably the 25th man on the Marlins roster — he can’t afford to play it safe. 

Not only that, several baseball people have stated that Posey used poor technique while blocking the plate.  Here’s Johnny Bench:

 When I heard about the injury, I was anxious to see how this happened. Buster put himself in such a bad position. First of all, my catchers don’t sit in front of home plate. They stand away from home plate and work back to the plate. But we (catchers) are just fair game. You’ve got a guy running around third base at 210 to 220 pounds with 3 percent body fat and with sprinter’s speed. I teach my kids to stay away from the plate when you don’t have the ball so the runner actually sees home plate and his thought is, slide. But Buster is laying in front of home plate, and it’s like having a disabled car in the middle of a four-lane highway. You’re just going to get smacked. Show them the plate. You can always catch the ball and step, or step and catch the ball, as long as you’ve got the runner on the ground. And if you have the runner on the ground, there’s less chance of any severe collision.

The idea that baseball should change its rules over this incident is insane.  I’ve been watching the game for over 40 years, and in that span I can only think of one catcher whose career ended due to a home plate collision — Ray Fosse.  That was a real travesty, however, as he was bowled over by Pete Rose in the 1970 All Star game. 

So calm down and leave the rules alone. 

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7 Responses to “A bush league of his own”

  1. verdun2 said

    AMEN
    v

  2. bkivey said

    If Johnny Bench says you’re playing the position wrong, you probably are. That was a hell of a hit, though.

    • Oh it was a terrible hit, but it’s still part of the game. The outrage from the fans has been way out of proportion, though. People are calling up the sports radio in a rage – one woman was practically in tears as she talked about what an evil man Cousins is. You know if it was Joe McGillicutty, instead of ROY phenom, Posey, the response wouldn’t have been nearly so hysterical.

  3. Keith, I couldn’t agree with you more on this one. It’s just part of the game. If the casual baseball fan and the obnoxious gang-bangers out there don’t understand this, the hell with them. And as far as Cousins getting death-threats, that speaks volumes about what an angry, crazy country we’ve become. If there is retaliation by the Giants in any way on the field, MLB needs to come down VERY hard on Sabean and the Giants.
    Nice post,
    Bill

  4. jb said

    Grown men running fast tend to bowl over other men standing still.

    Johnny Bench nailed the point. So did you.

  5. Sean Breslin said

    Johnny Bench was right. As someone who played the position for 15 years growing up, I learned that it’s a part of the game and if you come back to the plate (as Posey did), you’re inviting a collision. It almost appeared as if Cousins was going to slide head-first until he saw Posey start to move back towards him, then he went for the collision instead. I would have done the same thing.

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