So here we are a week after the Buster Posey-Scott Cousins collision which led to a serious season ending injury to Buster Posey and the drama seems to be increasing. One one side you have Giants manager, and former MLB catcher, Bruce Bochy making overtures to Major League Baseball's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Joe Torre (who is also a former MLB catcher), to re-evaluate the rules in regards to catchers and collisions at the plate. On another side you have Giants GM Brian Sabean making inflammatory and somewhat threatening statements towards Scott Collins of the Florida Marlins regarding his role in the season ending injury to Giants catcher Buster Posey. Add to the mix that Cousins' agent has mentioned that his client has received death threats because of the collision with Posey. In the end, this matter is getting out of hand for a hard and legitimate play that has occurred in MLB for over 100 years. Would the powers that be in the Giants' organization be as vehemently opposed to Scott Cousins if he had collided with Arencibia or the Blue Jays or the third string catcher for the Pirates?
Before anyone accuses me of downplaying what happened, I'm not in any way doing so. I realize the significance to the injury to Posey. I know that he's an important part of the success for the Giants. He's a franchise player. Posey is the kind of catcher that comes once in a generation and this injury could be a career changing one. I would be upset if it happened to one of the Yankees catchers but at the same time, I understand that as a catcher the collisions, nicks, bumps and bruises come with the position. This next statement applies to the Minnesota Twins, as well as, the San Francisco Giants. If you want to ensure that your franchise player is healthy and playing at possible maximum performance: MOVE HIM FROM BEHIND THE PLATE. Follow the Houston Astros model with Craig Biggio and take him out from behind the plate. Even if you don't move Posey, platoon him at other positions to ease the strain of the catching position on his body. Look at the example of Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra.
Berra played a total of 19 seasons of which he played in 1699 games (868 starts) behind the plate. He also played in 353 games (241 starts) at all three outfield positions and a couple of games at first and third. Granted it was mainly done during his later years but it allowed Yogi to HAVE later years. Doing so today would ensure that a catcher remains fresh and healthy. I believe that's what the Giants should do with Posey if he is still able to catch upon his return.
Should the rules be changed? Should the plate be a collision-free zone? Where were the calls for rule changes when Nishioka of the Twins had his leg broken in a break-up of a potential double play by Nick Swisher of the Yankees earlier this season. Is it a knee-jerk reaction to the loss of a young superstar player on the World Champions that is causing the uproar? Sure, Baseball isn't a contact sport in the ilk of hockey or football but it is a game that is played hard and physical contact between players can happen at any time. Ask Ray Fosse about his collision with Pete Rose during the 1970 All-Star game for an example. The rules weren't changed then. Should they be changed now? Like I said earlier, would people be beating the drums for rule changes if it was the third string catcher for the Pirates instead of Posey? I would hope so but I honestly don't think we'd hear a peep from Bochy or Sabean.
In the end, both Posey and Collins' careers have taken a turn. Posey has a long and painful road to get back to playing ball and Collins will have a hard time dealing with the incident when in San Francisco and when approaching a play at the plate. Time will tell if either player can move forward and succeed after this incident.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here to access David Brown's article Giants’ Sabean rips Marlins’ Cousins for running over Buster Posey from the Big League Stew blog dated June 3, 2011 for more information on the comments made by Sabean regarding Scott Collins of the Florida Marlins