Thursday, May 26, 2011

Poseying the Question

I don't know where this league's loyalties lie as far as who the dominant favorite team is, but I'm sure all of you have seen the Buster Posey incident that happened last night. Spurring from the tragic scene of Posey rolling around in pain, as well as the fact that he suffered a broken bone in his leg and torn ligaments in his ankle, everyone has been asking: should MLB change the rules?


Let me qualify this a little. Yes, I am a Giants fan, so watching Posey be bulldozed by a 5th outfielder is irritating in itself. Yes, Posey is a former Rookie of the Year, and is a catcher with an above average level of "stardum."

But, the hit he received was malicious. It is well within the rules, so it isn't dirty, but that is why the rule needs to be changed. There is nothing Posey could have done to prevent him from being plowed. He wasn't even blocking the plate, see for yourself:

He is a foot and a half in front of home plate, and Cousins is already lowering his shoulder to take him out. The decision had already been made. If Posey was in the basepath, or even, in front of the plate, I wouldn't consider it malicious... but this isn't the case.

In fact, any rule change should tell catchers to do exactly what Posey is doing, attempting to make a catch in front of the plate so that they can spin and apply the tag. To avoid the runners should make a headfirst slide and tag the plate with their left hand. Cousins would have been safe if he did this, without taking out Posey. Cousins would have been out if Posey caught the ball. The only difference is that Posey wouldn't be facing a major injury this early in his career.

I am writing this post having read many blogs and commenters' take on the situation. But, watching the Rockies broadcast on MLB Network with their fan's submission of opinions was just aggravating. "Keep baseball old school" and "If it wasn't Posey then nobody would care" are not sufficient reasons to ignore the problem. Baseball is a non-contact sport. This isn't football. however, I can think of a rule in football that is caused by their young players getting injured while their focus is on receiving a ball. (That's for you Fresno fans). That being said, I can think of plenty catchers where people would care. I was unaware of Santana's injury last year, because I don't watch Indian's games... but my opinion would be the same. If you don't care because he isn't on your team, then you are only ignoring the problem for selfish, competitive reasons. If you really think that bulldozing at the plate brings something to the game (like a wreck at a Nascar race), then I'd like to hear it. Maybe we should just change the rules and make everyone who enjoys the bulldozing only watch football. Keep that crap over there. Baseball is better than that.


  1. ive never been a big fan of contact in baseball; nothing good comes of it with the exception of a fight between piniella and fisk

  2. Actually, in the dead-ball era ('pre-1920)
    , there was a lot more hard physical contact and, frankly, dirty play. It was common for infielders to grab the feet of baserunners while they were trying to steal, for example...Hughie Jennings and John McGraw would trip baserunners when they rounded a bag, and there were many more plays on the basepaths that were violent. And, even in today's era, someone gets CLOCKED every night in the big I think there has always been, and will always be a significant level of contact, especially when the running game asserts itself.

    Now in Posey's case he wasn't blocking the plate, but again it is common that catchers do block the plate, which is illegal but almost never enforced by the umps. This frankly encourages baserunners to level the catchers at all times, because if they don't punish them the catcher has the advantage. I am not in favor of any rule change to protect the catcher as long as umps don't enforce the existing rule.

    One more point: often as not, it is the baserunners who pay a heavy price. Worst collision I ever saw at home was Jack Clark vs. Mike Scioscia. Both were knocked out, but Scioscia held to the ball and came too within a few minutes. Scioscia came out, but started a game later that week. Clark ( much bigger than Scioscia) had to go on the DL.

  3. The rule wasn't changed when rose lever fosse and posey is merely a half season wonder at this point. The hit was fine and the marlins scored a much needed run. Tough luck giants fans. Hope belt or Crawford can carry the load now. Time yo move on

  4. How many allstar games has posey been too? None. Hes too new to be called an upper level superstar or whatever

  5. I called him a former ROY and a player with above average stardom. This is true within the giant fanbase. He is a catcher who can post .900 ops seasons. If this kind of play had been illegal, he would have a better opportunity to showcase his skillset Matt.

    If Posey is giving up the plate it should be illegal to clock him. Catchers in the way are asking to be clocked. This isn't the case in this situation.

    Yesterday Jose Tabata and Humberto Quintero were both injured on plays at the plate. I'm glad MLB enjoys players being on their DL.

  6. For all of Pete roses faults, you can't deny he played the game hard. I see too many players give themselves up to avoid contact at home plate (Arod specifically). Players shouldn't be penalized for hard plays. Pujols slides cleats up into second and no one complains. Tough plays are tough plays. An injury is part of the game. It wasn't malicious. There was no intent to harm. He did what he did to score the run. I applaud that. I think this play rubs giants fans the wrong way because it hurt their god.

  7. Guys lets be real. In ALL sports there are injuries. When you sign up to play, you are automatically putting yourself in harms way. Every player knows this. If you cannot handle it, then don't play. There shouldn't be rules in place in baseball to help "prevent" injuries. It's stupid. It's part of the game. Many baseball players before our time didn't complain to the level we are now these days. The only reason this is being blown out of proportion is because (1) Posey is young (2) is the Giants best player. If this was someone older and not so popular like say Eli Whiteside, we wouldn't be hearing about this to the level we are today. Sorry Buster, but you were in fact blocking the plate with your left leg. It was very obviously in the way of the plate. Its a move to where you hope to block a player's foot if they decide to slide feet first. But it didn't happen that way. Oh well.. part of sports. It was a legal hit, Posey was in the way, Posey knows what happens when you try to block the plate.. sorry so sad. I've been beaten up in sports since I was small. Gone through my own share of injuries. From a player's perspective, it sucks, but again part of the game.

    If your going to try to regulate safety rules, then you must do the following:

    - No one can throw over 60 MPH because even at this speed, it can kill someone

    - No one can use wooden bats. Because it has a chance to splinter when it contacts with the baseball and could stab someone in the chest causing potentially death (didn't we see this once?!)

    - No one can wear metal spikes... can cause harm to a player if exposed to them during slides or breaking up double plays.

    Do you get where I'm going with this?! In every sports, there is always a chance of injury. When the game begins, the risk increases.

    Sorry but Posey was doing his job and the runner was doing his! Simply put. Sorry SF but you lost your player to a CLEAN and LEGAL play. NOW if Posey wasn't trying to block the plate and was free away from it and he still went for Posey, then that is different. Not the case here. Move on guys. This is silly. Today's era is becoming soft when it comes to sports. It's sad to see... next thing you know baseball hats will be replaced with helmets. Safety first right?!

  8. Ron, I posted the picture of the play in the post. His left foot is a foot in front of the plate. Its not anywhere close to the basepath. Yet, look at Cousin's shoulder lean. Cousins went up the line and out of his way to take out Posey. Posey didn't want to be hit, he knows he is an offensive force and his health is more important than that run.

    And I believe your argument is called the "slippery slope fallacy." That's high school logic class. I'm talking about a simple rule change that can be as tight nit as this:

    -Catchers cannot block the plate
    -If the do, its interference and the runner is safe
    -Therefore, a runner would no deck a catcher, because it would be unnecessary to the play, and ruthless contact on the catcher would lead to an ejection.

    Catchers would position themselves in front of the plate to set themselves in position for a swipe tag (hmm, kind of like where Posey was) and runners wouldn't see railroading as an option.

    Similarly, 20 years ago MLB put restrictions on take-out slides at 2nd base. Why can't they put restrictions at the plate?

    What does railroading add to the game anyways? I'd rather have lost the game (Posey missed the ball anyways) and had the fan favorite of the Giants still healthy. I think team by team, everyone could say this about their favorite player.

  9. Posey is even facing the runner. He knew he was gona get hit. He moved to block the runner, preparing for contact.

  10. Posey was facing right field when the ball was coming in. He turned after thinking he had the ball, so of course he was facing the runner. Do you expect him to still face right field and wave his hand behind him to tag the runner?

    Posey has been instructed by the Giants staff to stay out of collisions. Many times he has tagged players out with the swipe tag. He didn't move his body to get into the baseline. If you watch his glove, it was starting to go to the baseline. Even if Posey had the ball, Cousins probably would have been safe on a good slide.

    In addition, I believe the generally accepted distance off the real baseline to be considered still in the baseline is about 3 feet. Cousins went for and hit Posey's right shoulder, which was 3 feet or more from the third base line. Therefore, Cousins possibly left the baseline to hit Posey. If that happened at 2B (on a slide) it would be interference on the runner.

  11. Look at the picture!!!! How was cousi s out of the baseline and how could posey not sense an impending collision? Bottom line, who won the game. 1 win for the marlins. 0 win for the giants.

  12. Instruct posey to stay out of collisions??? That's the most softball thing I've ever heard. Lost even more respect for the giants.

  13. Watch the collision Matt. It's the first link of the article. You think posey had time to reset his feet? At full speed, he was completely helpless. He was set up for a swipe tag completely set up wrong for a collision.

    The marlins won, but that has nothing to do with the play, or poseys health. If the giants came back and won (they had a runner on 2b in the bottom half) does that change your argument?

  14. Read back over some of the comments. Giants fans, sorry it was Posey but if it was any other team your opinions would be altered. That is fact. To me, the runner in this case was almost exactly on the baseline through the plate. The ball beat the runner to the plate- enforced by the catcher's movements toward the runner. I do NOT understand how so many of the arguments reach the conclusion that the legality of the play is whether the catcher had enough time to set his feet or brace for impact. That is absurd. He is a catcher late in the game who likely was going to catch the ball before the runner crossed the plate, which means he MUST prepare for the logical play. Returning to the argument that the baserunner went out of the line to hit the catcher. You must be joking. Are you completely ignoring the camera angle? Do you think that every pitch is a strike on outside corner? No of course not the camera angle alters perception. Well the same applies here. If anything the catcher was smack down in the middle of the front part of plate. He tried the swipe tag and was leveled. Bigger question why would you try the swipe in that game and its situation. To me it's a legal play but unfortunate. A runner should score any way he can when the game is on the line. As previously stated, Posey would have had the advantage in tagging Cousins out had he slid or attempted to slide around the swipe. What would have increased the likelihood of getting that much needed run? Lower the shoulder and run directly in the baseline through the plate. What happened to Josh Hamilton when he slid around the catcher's tag? On DL for extended period of time. To me the arguments of most seem to be influenced by the Giants and their fans. Should MLB outlaw plays at the plate to prevent injuries to the catchers (Posey) and injuries to the runners (Hamilton)? Is the issue that one of those superstars makes more than half a million a season while the other makes plenty more than that? Compared to the average fan, they make WAY TOO much money, so keep playing the game the way it should be played.

  15. And Landon, may be a catcher should always remember that he is preventing a run from scoring when there is a play at the plate so treat every runner as if that runner is going to bulldoze you. I played catcher a good deal and that was one of the first things the ump always told me that if I attempt to tag a runner out, that runner is allowed to run my ass over.

  16. sorry i joined the debate late, but in my opinion, it was a clean play. Posey did exactly what a smart catcher of his caliber would do; be just out in front of the plate, so cousins could assume he may have had a path to the plate so he didn't have to collide, and he also put himself in a position to protect himself in a way (in other words, he ain't sitting on the plate asking for contact). cousins did exactly what any base runner would have done; the throw beat me, he is going down. To me, i didn't think posey was blocking the plate; he was just out in front. Either way, he had to assume cousins was going to run his ass over; to not think so he is nieve. the throw beat the runner and cousins didn't have a choice.

    does anyone know the rules regarding takeout slides at 2nd base? Half the time (from what i seen) you can see the runner going out of his way to annihilate the 2nd baseman. if you change the rule for the catcher then change the rule for runners sliding into second as to protect second baseman. im sure there are rules for it, but ive almost never witnessed one personally enforced.

    i am a giants fan, and it probably killed any chances of us repeating a World Series (a lot needs to go right for them, even before this injury). The reason it is a big deal is that posey is a star player in baseball who is very marketable. I understand landon's argument, and it sounds reasonable, but in the heat of the game, the rule i feel is the last thing on anyones mind; there focus is to win the game