MLB Collision Controversy Has Gone Too Far, Fans and Giants Need to Move on
The following is my opinion on the ongoing coverage of the collision between Buster Posey and Scott Cousins, discussion of a rule change and retribution by the Giants against the Florida Marlins. It does not reflect the opinion of Bleacher Report or anyone else associated with BleacherReport.com besides myself.
It's been over a week since Buster Posey's season was cut short by a home plate collision administered by the Florida Marlins' Scott Cousins.
Immediately following the announcement that Posey had a broken ankle and torn ligaments in his ankle, I knew that this would be a big story for a few days, perhaps a week at longest. Yes, the incident will be brought up throughout the season, but I figured the controversy would be over by now.
I'm not trying to downplay the significance of Posey's loss to the Giants' chances of defending their World Series title. His injury is significant; it may go down as the most significant moment of the entire season for San Francisco.
I sincerely hope that Buster recovers from this injury and is able to return next season and continue a career that many Giants fans think will one day end with his induction into Cooperstown (okay, maybe it's a bit premature to start working on his Hall of Fame plaque after just one season). I agree with everyone that Posey is a star though, and his loss is unfortunate for all of baseball.
At what point do we stop talking about this injury though? Maybe in the rest of the country the issue has already been forgotten. I live in the Bay Area though, and while I don't follow the Giants like I follow the Oakland A's, I still have not been able to escape the daily conversation of rule changes and retribution.
Before you dismiss my opinion because I don't bleed black and orange, hear me out.
I'm an A's fan, but I grew up in a family with mixed loyalties. Most of my uncles are diehard Giant fans. A good percentage of my friends root for the Giants, and I have to admit I enjoy watching them play too.
When it comes to interleague play, I still wear my green and gold, but the rest of the time I root for the Giants to win. Buster Posey is one of the main reasons that I have enjoyed watching the Giants over the past year.
The play was not dirty though. It was not malicious. Scott Cousins had no intention to injure Buster Posey, and he clearly felt horrible that he was responsible for ending Posey's season.
Scott Cousins was doing what every ballplayer who has played beyond high school is taught to do with the game on the line. (It's been about a decade since I was in college, and maybe the rules have changed, but I have been witness to collisions at that level, and have even seen them before then).
The Giants and their fans are upset that he did not say it was the wrong decision in his postgame comments.
He had no reason to back down from his decision to try to knock the ball loose: it was the winning run of a game in extra innings.
He stated he was very sorry, immediately checked on Posey's condition and tried to reach out to Posey after the game.
The Giants and Posey have chosen not to accept his apology. That is their decision, but a week later, this issue should be over and the Giants should be moving on without Posey for this season.
Injuries are part of the game, the caliber of the player affected is the only reason this is still being discussed
If this happened to any other catcher in the league, my opinion would be the same.
Since I have stated I root for the A's, I'll put it on my own team.
Would this still be discussed with a lesser known player?
If Kurt Suzuki gets run over by a player with the game on the line and gets hurt, I will maintain that this is just part of the game. It is an unfortunate part of the game, but it is part of the game nonetheless.
In fact, this could easily go the other way as well. Yes, the catcher is the more vulnerable player in this situation since they are also looking for the ball in some instances when they are hit. It could just as easily be the runner that lands awkwardly and has his season cut short though.
What would the reaction be if Scott Cousins were the one that wound up with a broken ankle and torn ligaments? Probably no reaction at all.
What if Albert Pujols decides to run over Brian McCann and in the process breaks his wrist and can't swing a bat for the rest of the season?
I fully understand that I am stretching here, but my point is that injuries are part of the game.
The game was robbed of seeing Ken Griffey, Jr. play for two months when he jumped to catch a fly ball in 1995 and broke his wrist crashing into the wall.
The game has been robbed again of seeing Buster Posey play for the remainder of the season, and while it is unfortunate, it is just a part of the game.
The basic principal is the same in all of these scenarios I tossed out there, even the more ridiculous ones: one team is trying to score a run to win the game, the other is trying to save a run to win the game.
Do you feel MLB needs to change the rules and outlaw catcher collisions?
No need for a rule change
The Giants have reportedly reached out to MLB and Joe Torre to discuss a rule change.
While I have not heard a single analyst state on the record that they expect baseball will outlaw catcher collisions, I am surprised that after a week the issue has not died down.
While I was not alive to hear the discussions that followed the most infamous catcher collision between Ray Fosse and Pete Rose, I doubt that any serious consideration was given to outlawing collisions following that play.
The medical attention was clearly not the same back then as it is now, and the damage caused by concussions is alarming. If baseball wants to make a rule against making contact with a catcher's helmet and mask, I am all for that.
Baseball is capable of policing itself on the field.
There will be retribution, but don't take it overboard
Any time spent listening to the radio will undoubtedly result in you overhearing at least one mention of how the Giants should handle this the next time they play the Florida Marlins.
If Cousins is on the roster at that time, and finds himself inserted into a game against San Francisco, he should expect to take a fastball right square in his number.
Cousins should expect it, the Marlins should expect it, the umpires should expect it, baseball and the fans should expect it. The issue should die right there and be over.
The local talk though has been the equivalent of The Untouchables movie: "If they put one of our guys in the hospital, we put one of theirs in the morgue."
It has actually been suggested that since Buster Posey is the Giants best player, that San Francisco throw at Hanley Ramirez or Mike Stanton.
Hanley Ramirez did not run over Buster Posey!
Mike Stanton did not run over Buster Posey!
If the Giants go after any player other than Scott Cousins, there should be punishments handed down by the league. All that will accomplish is escalating a conflict that shouldn't exist in the first place.
It's time to move on
I think that most Giants fans have actually accepted that injuries happen, and realize that Posey will be back next season.
The radio stations, Sports Radio 95.7FM and KNBR 680/1050AM, need to move on from the topic.
The San Francisco Giants management needs to take the high road, find a replacement catcher and play the remainder of the season.
Giants general manager, Brian Sabean, went on KNBR today and made it quite clear that they have not forgotten, nor forgiven, Scott Cousins.
The San Jose Mercury News' Andrew Baggardly reported that Sabean told KNBR hosts Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert:
“Why not be hard nosed?” Sabean said. “If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy.”
Asked later in the interview if perhaps those words were too harsh, Sabean didn’t back down. In fact, he left little doubt that the Giants are bent on getting some on-field vengeance.
“Well, no,” Sabean said. “He chose to be a hero in my mind, and if that’s his flash of fame, that’s as good as it’s going to get, pal. We’ll have a long memory. Believe me, we’ve talked to (former catcher Mike) Matheny about how this game works. You can’t be that out-and-out overly aggressive. I’ll put it as politically as I can state it: There’s no love lost and there shouldn’t be.”
“In no way, shape or form was he blocking the plate,” Sabean said. “He was just reacting to the throw and trying to get back to make a tag. So (it’s) unfortunate. It’s one of those things that happens to your family. Until it happens to you and hits home, maybe it’s not as real what we’re going through.”
It was clearly an accident, but do the Giants need to be reminded of the fastball that was thrown by their own Matt Cain which hit New York's David Wright in the head, giving him a concussion and costing him playing time?
I'm drawing an unfair comparison, I know, but are you going to request that there be a rule change stating that pitchers are no longer allowed to brush back a player crowding the plate because of the chance a pitch can get away and injure someone?
My point? Accidents happen, injuries happen and regardless of the status of the player involved, we need to just move on and play the games.
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