Thursday, May 26, 2011

Buster Posey

So its almost been 24 hours since Scott Cousins, of the Florida Marlins, ended Buster Posey's season with a devastating hit. As the rules stand right now, it was a clean, legal play.

Now, baseball does not have a lot of contact. And I am one of the first to say that the MLB has gone overboard in protecting the players. For instance, that ridiculous rule where the umpires can warn the benches, meaning that any further hit batsmen will result in automatic ejections, is a mistake. It allows cowards to get away unpunished because the Leagues never do anything to them.

However, there are a few places where contact occurs on the diamond. Usually you see it at either second base or home plate. In MLB, the rule governing base-running is found in 7.0 of the Official Baseball Rules.  Now, the danger of a injury causing play at 2nd base is diminished mainly because the runner has to stay within a prescribed area and has to make an attempt to reach the bag. If the umpire finds that the player was trying to take out the player in breaking up a double play, as opposed to making his primary attempt at reaching the bag, and they can be called out.

Where the big collisions tend to come is at home plate. Unlike second base, the runner can overrun the base and still be safe. Until last night, perhaps the most famous collision at the plate came between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse during the 1970 All Star Game. In 12th inning, Rose barreled through Fosse, forcing him to drop the ball, allowing him to score the winning run.

The collision resulted in a separated shoulder for Fosse. Some say that it was this injury which cut his career short. Even if it wasn't, it was still enough of a blow to send him to the hospital.

Now, there have been some other big collisions. In Giants lore, there is Nate Schierholtz during the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Big time hit. Clean play. Sure, the catcher went down hard and had to go to the hospital, but there was nothing inherently dangerous about the collision. He took him with his body, not with his head.

Now there was the play last night in the 12th inning. My problem is not that Posey got hit. That's part of the game. The problem is, Cousins essentially speared into him by going head first. That to me is the problem. Could Cousins do this? After all, it was very similar to my eye to what Rose did Fosse. There's nothing against it that I can find in the rules. I think that a narrow rule to cover this because it would allow for runner to try and dislodge the ball, but at the same time, it would limit the chance of a serious injury.

When I was trying to make the high school team and about to make the jump from Little League to the next level (I forget which) I went to a baseball camp. They showed us the Rose-Fosse collision. They said "You only get to do this if you are Pete Rose. Its legal, but if we see you do this, that's it."

Taking out the catcher is part of the game, but allowing guys to essentially dive head first into catchers is just not safe at all. The college rules apparently do not allow this. The game does not seem to suffer there. Why not implement a similar rule in the Majors?

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