31 May 2011
One of the last Marlins games I was able to watch before heading to Trinidad for work was the Marlins 7-6 win over the Giants in 12 innings. The game was capitalized by Marlins Scott Cousins colliding hard with Giants catcher Buster Posey to sore the go ahead run. Unfortunately as a result of the hard collision Buster Posey had to be carried off the field with an injured leg, and it was latter revealed to be a broken leg and strained ligaments in his ankle that would mean the end of Posey's season. The next day their was an eruption all over the baseball world over whether or not baseball should change their rules about colliding with the catcher, and also whether it was a dirty play by Cousins. Now I finally get a chance to express my opionion and the answer is no on both counts.
First off any idea that Scott Cousins went in their trying to hurt Posey is insane. If you watch the video after Cousins makes sure that he tags the base, he goes over to Posey to check on him. Cousins also said that he did not sleep that night and tried repeatedly to get in contact with Posey to appologise and Posey has expressed indifference as to getting in contact with Cousins, which is something I cannot believe. Both Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Buster Posey have said that Scott Cousins did not do anything illegal, but he did have a lane that he could have slid in. However had Cousins slid, while Posey would have not gotten hurt their would also have been a decent chance, had Posey caught the ball cleanly, that he could have tagged Cousins out. Also it is not as though sliding means no injury. Reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton has already missed a good chunk of this season when he broke his arm trying to slide in home plate.
The fact is that the majority of people demanding a rule change are people like Bruce Bochy and Posey's agent, both of whom depend on Posey's play to be successful, and Giants fans who had Posey done that same thing to John Buck with Buck the one getting hurt would have said it was a great job by Posey. Most real baseball people know that his is just a part of the game and that baseball should not overreact just because one star player got hurt. Truth is if baseball were to get rid of players running into the catchers, what about the play where a player slides into second trying to break up the double play? Does that play need to be stopped as well? And if you are going to make runners avoid running in to the catcher, then you also need to stop catchers from blocking the plate with their bodies when they are waiting on the throw. Lets be honest if MLB were to make a rule like little league baseball where runners must slide and avoid contact, MLB catchers are just going to sit on the plate while waiting for the catch making sliding into the plate almost impossible, unless forced by the rules to do be off of it.
Luckily baseball is one of the slowest moving organisations in the world when it comes to change, so it is doubtful anything will actually come of this other than the Giants losing several more games than they would have otherwise. Was this and unfortunate accident, yes. Do all Marlins players and fans wish that Posey had not gotten hurt, yes. This was an unfortunate accident, but is nothing that deserve swift action to be taken and rule changes by MLB.
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