Does Buster Posey’s Injury Really Warrant a Rule Change?

Before you read any further, you should click here, because you have to understand exactly what happened before you can read my take on it/form your own opinion.

Let’s break down that play really fast.  In the top of the 12th, with runners on the corners and 1 out, Emilio Bonifacio hit a fly ball to shallow right center.  Giants Right Fielder Nate Schierholtz caught the ball, but Scott Cousins of the Marlins decided to test the strong arm of Schierholtz, and took off for home plate after tagging up.  Schierholtz delivered an absolute bullet to home plate, and Posey faced the outfield as he attempted to pick up the ball on one-hop as it bounced into his glove.  At the same time as he was about to catch it, Cousins crashed shoulder-first into Posey at full speed, giving Posey no chance at all to make the play as the ball rolled past home plate.  Posey never got the ball, so Cousins was safe at home.  Only problem for the Giants (besides the whole, losing the lead thing) was that Posey couldn’t get up.  Replays showed his left leg and ankle twisting in all kinds of directions, and Posey had to commando crawl just to get to home plate.  He was lifted by two trainers off the field, and the game ended when the Marlins won.

But now the question arises.  Should that hit by Cousins have been illegal?  Let me preface what I’m about to say by pointing out that this is not my Anti-Giants bias speaking.  I’m all for player safety, and I’d rather the game be played cleanly and fairly than see the Giants lose.  In my opinion though, that was a clean hit.  Posey was doing his job by blocking home plate, and Cousins’ only choice was to go through Posey to get home.  If Posey wasn’t hurt, then this would have simply been one of those “Wow, that was a big hit.  Posey is really tough for taking the hit and the loss with his chin up!” type deals.  But because Posey is hurt, MLB might consider a rule change.  I feel like part of this is because Posey is a popular player amongst casual fans.  Had his backup, Eli Whiteside, been taken out and injured, I think only hardcore Giants fans would be making a huge deal out of this.  But Posey is a very popular player.  He was the Rookie of the Year, and to most people, the MVP on a Giants team that won the World Series.  He’s clearly their best hitter, and he’s also a fine catcher.  Overall, that makes for a pretty popular player, and not only are Giants fans sad to see him go down, but also fans of Baseball in general (Yes, even me.  I’m a big Dodgers fan, but an even bigger Baseball fan.  If the Giants are going to tank, I want it to be because they weren’t good enough to win, not because they weren’t healthy enough.)

I do realize that this is the kind of injury that can end any playoff hopes for the Giants.  And I do realize that that’s unfortunate.  But this incident should result in minor tweaks to the rules, and that’s all.  The thing here is that Cousins from the start looks like he wants to truck Buster Posey like a football player would.  Posey, while he was blocking the plate, wasn’t directly in front of Cousins, but Cousins launched himself into Posey to guarantee that he was safe.  There aren’t too many people saying that Cousins is now a dirty player because of this hit, because hits like this are standard procedure in MLB.  I think the issue here is that Posey was pretty-much defenseless.  The NFL, obviously much  more of a contact sport than Baseball, has begun fining players who lead with their heads and aim for other player’s heads, because of possible concussions that can be a result.  They also penalize players who tackle or knock down “defenseless” players, usually Wide Receivers who are looking at the ball and can’t see the guy coming to knock them down at a high speed.

So the bottom line, is that MLB should go out of their way to stop players from attacking other defenseless players.  I don’t personally think that collisions at home plate should be completely banned, but they should only be legal if A. The Catcher has the ball and is blocking home plate, with his eyes focused on the runner, and B. If the runner has no other way to get to home plate.  Failure to comply with these rules will result in the runner being out, as well as said player being fined and/or suspended.  I’m all for collisions, but we should be attempting to make them as safe as possible.  Which sounds weird, but I just don’t think collisions themselves are the problem, I think it’s players taking advantage of the rules in place.

What are your thoughts on collisions at home plate?  Tell me with a comment below!

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One Comment on “Does Buster Posey’s Injury Really Warrant a Rule Change?”

  1. Chris Ross Says:

    I just don’t really agree with the reaction that has come about because of this. I’m not amazed by the reaction because this is type of reaction happens all the time. We overreact to a single extreme event that influences our decision on a matter that for the most part would have been insignificant otherwise. I don’t see a need for a rule change and the reason for the change sure shouldn’t be because a one star player was injured one time. Also, you think you could take a peek at my blog because I really want to know what you think about what I have to say on this http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/buster-posey-silliness/


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