Billy Beane to Kurt Suzuki: Don’t Get Hurt

Over the past week and a half, the reaction to Buster Posey’s season-ending injury produced a lot of sanctimony, as pundits have gone back and forth between deploring that one of baseball’s brightest young stars would miss the year, and deploring the hypocrisy that previous catcher injuries have not brought about debate about a rules chance. Amidst all the blather and debate about rules, though, Billy Beane’s Athletics have suggested a team-oriented way forward. Beane effectively ordered his catcher, Kurt Suzuki, to avoid injury:

I said to him, “I don’t want you planting yourself in front of the plate waiting to get creamed. You’re an Athletic catcher — be athletic. … I don’t want to lose you for six months.”

To me, this seemed like a remarkable public admission: I can’t remember another baseball executive telling the press that he instructed a player to try to prioritize avoiding injury. In a blog post yesterday, Buster Olney suggested that the greatest impact of Beane’s move may the fact that he’s providing public cover to Suzuki. Suzuki publicly agreed with the plan and described his future approach to plays at the plate in strategic terms, as he explained to the San Jose Mercury-News: “If I have a feeling it’s going to be a bang-bang play, and I’m putting myself in a vulnerable position, I’m not going to stand in front of [the runner]… If I think he’s going to slide, then I’ll take my chances.” Now that Beane has gone to the press, more players will be able to save face in baseball’s macho culture while avoiding injury, making it seem like sound baseball strategy rather than selfishness or cowardice — more like Rogers Hornsby and less like Roger Dorn.

Changing the culture is more important, and more effective, than changing the rules. On Baseball Tonight, Bobby Valentine disputed the notion that no one has ever done this before, saying that he gave similar instructions to Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez when he managed them, and that his father-in-law Ralph Branca told him that Roy Campanella never used to block the plate, either. “This is a common-sense thing. This isn’t revolutionary,” Valentine said. Beane’s innovation is not asking his player not to get hurt, it’s going to the press. Olney talked to players who admitted to him, off the record, that they “hope that they get the same cover from their respective bosses,” because otherwise they wouldn’t feel comfortable with how their teammates perceived them. “I’m not really in position to ask for it, because of the other 24 sets of eyes in the room,” one player told him. And the macho culture really does have a lot to do with it. As Olney explains:

There is an expectation, among the non-catchers, that catchers stand in front of the plate and get blasted to save a run. Beane and other general managers and managers strongly disagree, because of the incredible imbalance in the risk/reward equation.

With Beane having broken the ice, more teams will be able to give their players similar instructions. The debate about a rules change may continue for a long time, but in the meantime, Beane is once again ahead of the pack. It’s hard to imagine a rules change being more effective than a team voluntarily changing its policy; rules changes can take years to be implemented, and, because every rules change is greeted by loophole-seeking competition, rules changes don’t always have the intended effect.

In the meantime, every team should realize what the Giants already have: trying to prevent a single run on a bang-bang play isn’t worth Carlos Santana being out for the rest of the 2010 season, or Ryan Doumit being out for June 2011. Even if the catcher loses fractions of a second by going for a sweep tag rather than trying to block the plate, significantly reducing the chance of injury is well worth a slight increase in the chance that the runner scores. Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing about the Posey collision is that Scott Cousins would have scored anyway: bone-breaking as it was, the collision didn’t knock the ball loose, because Posey never caught it cleanly in the first place.

Instructing catchers to stop blocking the plate will not prevent all catcher injury. Mike Matheny’s career-ending concussion in 2006 came as a result of a series of foul tips, not a home plate collision, and foul tips will continue to present an injury risk to catchers as long as we continue to have human beings behind the plate instead of robots. Matheny is against a rules change to protect catchers, and he suggests that the problem be solved through baseball culture, but his solution is predicated on the unhelpful notion of retaliation: “You just put a mark in the column that that kid took a run at a catcher. To me, as a catcher, I know the next time I get the ball I’m going to stick it to him.” As Dan Moore (DanUp of Viva El Birdos) points out: “Matheny proposes that the right way to deal with contact at home plate is to cause more contact at home plate, which should somehow end the problem of too much contact at home plate.”

Beane and Suzuki are taking the right approach, and Matheny’s response shows exactly why. The only way that baseball culture will be able to tolerate a change like this is if it is predicated as a strategic move to win ballgames. Otherwise, old baseball people like Matheny will simply say that the way to settle disputes is by escalating conflict. Once that starts to happen, turning baserunners into Hatfields and backstops into McCoys, we’ll have a lot more Busters getting busted at the plate. Blocking the plate is a lot less important than a catcher’s health. It’s time more teams started to treat it that way.



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Alex is a writer for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times, and is a product manager for The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @alexremington.


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Paul B
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Paul B
5 years 2 months ago

Isn’t it already against the rules for a catcher to block the plate without having the ball?

I always thought that was a rule, but umpires never ever enforced it.

Greg H
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Greg H
5 years 2 months ago

Obstruction occurs when a fielder while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball impedes the progress of the runner. There is no prohibition against “camping out” in front of the base.

Bhaakon
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Bhaakon
5 years 2 months ago

But if you are “camping out” between home plate and third base without the ball, then you are, by the very definition you just provided, obstructing the runner.

jorgath
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jorgath
5 years 2 months ago

Except that if you are receiving a throw from another fielder you are technically “fielding” the ball.

Bill
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Bill
5 years 2 months ago

It’s illegal for any player to block a base w/o ball.

Greg H
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Greg H
5 years 2 months ago

That just isn’t so. The fielder can block the base so long as he isn’t impeding the progress of the runner. And the fielder is permitted to impede the progress of the runner if he is in the act of fielding the ball, which would include fielding a throw.

rfs1962
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rfs1962
5 years 2 months ago

How do you block the base without impeding the progress of the runner? Not sure I see how that play unfolds.

That said, I hope all ML teams give the same instructions to their catchers–set up inside the baseline and make the tag if possible. Probably every major-league catcher is worth more than a run scored.

SteveS
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SteveS
5 years 2 months ago

rfs1962, clearly you’ve never seen Rob Johnson play. :-)

Paul Thomas
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Paul Thomas
5 years 2 months ago

rfs: Yes, that particular bit of linguistic gymnastics struck me as odd, too. How could you “block” without “impeding”? If anything, “impeding” is a BROADER term than “blocking.”

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
5 years 2 months ago

It’s simple. The catcher blocking the plate doesn’t impede the runner if the runner is far away.

Say you have a runner on second, and there’s a flyball to the outfield. The catcher is going to immediately block the plate, ready to receive a throw. This isn’t illegal, because he’s not impeding the baserunner *yet*. If no throw is made, or if its way off target, the catcher will move out of the way before the baserunner arrives. So there’s no impediment. If the throw is made and it’s a bang-bang play, it’s not illegal because the catcher is in the act of fielding the ball.

A home plate collision would be illegal if the catcher wasn’t in the act of fielding the ball. But that just doesn’t happen.

donald
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donald
5 years 2 months ago

any1 ever seen a firstbasemen get run over in little league or during P.E.?

Bukanier
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Bukanier
5 years 2 months ago

I’ve seen a first baseman soccer-tackle a runner

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
5 years 2 months ago

What’s a soccer tackle? Where you don’t touch a guy and he flops around and cries and holds his faux hawk?

KDL
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KDL
5 years 2 months ago

What’s a soccer tackle?
Let’s you and me meet at the park. You start running and I’ll soccer tackle you. Once you get the mud and grass out of your mouth, you can tell me about sissie-soccer players.
(If you were just making a joke…it’s been done before by EVERYONE)

B N
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B N
5 years 2 months ago

@Antonio: Naw, they only do that in places like the World Cup where the officiating is horrible. In places that actually have good refs, they’d yellow card (or even red card) floppers and be done with it.

A soccer tackle is basically when one person runs and the other person (usually running alongside them) goes into a slide so that they basically drop their legs/body right onto the tops of the other person’s feet. The intention is to basically make it as if you had gotten both feet stuck under a root/bar when running full speed- leading you to do a faceplant. Alternatively, you can basically just pull a Ty Cobb and spike them in the side of the leg/ankle. (Though that will tend to get called, for some odd reason…)

Needless to say, I’m not even sure under what circumstances a first baseman would even be in a position to slidetackle someone. I mean, soccer style tackles don’t generally work all that well head-on.

Antonio Banans
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Antonio Banans
5 years 2 months ago

I respect soccer players as athletes, however, using anything in soccer as an analogy for roughness seems absurd to me. American football, rugby, even pro wrestling would be a better example.

I’m not a soccer hater BTW, I enjoyed following UEFA and the Premier League, plus I try to follow local MLS teams (crappy Sporting KC is the closest).

David
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David
5 years 2 months ago

Antonio Bananas, do a search for “Eduardo broken leg” (only if you have a strong stomach) and tell me that there’s no roughness in soccer

Paulie
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Paulie
5 years 2 months ago

That is a sneaky pun by using ‘Athletic catcher’ in the quote.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

I thought the move was primarily to protect Suzuki from being perceived as un-macho.

The problem is that catchers cannot control a runner that feels plowing is the only way to be safe, such as the Posey-Cousins play. In that situation Posey did exactly what he is supposed to do … be in front of the plate and attempt a tag.

When Beane says not to be in front of the plate, he really means “don’t be in the baseline, or “in between the runner and the plate”.

Jason
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Jason
5 years 2 months ago

This is the real problem that needs to be legislated. When a runner thinks he is going to be out becuase the throw has him beat his only strategy to be safe is to hit the catcher and try to seperate him from the ball. That is what Cousins was attempting to do. An even more egregious example was the Fielder/Whiteside collision several days later. At no other base is a runner entitled to initiate contact with a fielder just becuase the throw beat him.

Unfortunately I don’t think changing the culture is sufficient in such cases. You need to disincentivize the behavior.

NEPP
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NEPP
5 years 2 months ago

No other fielder wears armor either…

NEPP
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NEPP
5 years 2 months ago

On a serious note though, Cousins was attempting to break up a throw as he thought it was a bang-bang play at the plate. He arrived right around when the ball did and as Posey was in the basepath, he was fair game.

Most of it is on Posey for being in a poor position. Had he positioned himself correctly, he doesnt get injured. 99 times out of a 100, he still doesnt get injured if his leg doesnt snag. It was a freak occurrance, not a sign of a huge underlying danger.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

[1] Posey was NOT in the baseline.

[2] Posey was positioned correctly.

Posey got injured because there’s no way to brace yourself for impact while you are attempting to catch the ball, so when his bodyweight rolled over his legs, his ankles were at an awkward angle.

I am willing to change my opinion on this, but it will need to be based on evidence.

Posey was out in front of the plate. Cousins crossed the foul line to initiate contact. He had full access to the plate. Not partial access. Full access.

There is, quite literally, nothing Posey could have done to avoid the contact (while still being in range to make a tag).

If you can show me pictures where Posey was obstructing the plate, I could change my view.

I think the argument could be made that Cousins could have reached the plate faster than he reached Posey.

descender
Member
descender
5 years 2 months ago

Everything circlechange just said, and more…

Cousins almost missed the plate he went so far out of his way to hit Posey. THAT is illegal, yet the umps don’t call it.

If the baseball culture was established that you can’t run into someone if you have a clear path to the plate (like it says in the rules) then he never would have thought of running into Posey.

He decided half-way home that no matter where the ball or play was, he was running into the catcher. That’s the mindset that needs to change, not the catchers position on the play.

soladoras
Member
soladoras
5 years 2 months ago

@NEPP

Posey was emphatically NOT in the base path as the video evidence and stills from the video CLEARLY point out:

Cousins went out of the base path and struck Posey on his right shoulder, literally the furthest part of Posey’s body from the plate. It’s actually quite a tragic photo to look at, because Cousins is clearly aiming for where Posey was before he attempted to turn and make a tag. You can clearly see Posey turning to make a swipe tag where he expected Cousins to be sliding, but instead Cousins is about to barrel into his chest. It’s sad and pathetic.

Telo
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Telo
5 years 2 months ago

Good for Beane. Hopefully it’s the pebble that starts the avalanche of change. Though Beane may not be held in the highest esteem among baseball traditionalists, he’s still a GM… and maybe other logical thinking GMs will follow suit. In the end, it’s just a matter of time and money (lost due to injury).

Basil Ganglia
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Basil Ganglia
5 years 2 months ago

It does only require a cultural change. The rules regarding obstruction and interference are already in the rulebook; blocking the plate is obstruction and interfering with a defender making a play is interference. A culture has sprung up that allows both parties to ignore the rule, as if they were cancelling infractions.

What might change is that if it is abundantly clear that the catcher is not and will not be obstructing the runner, then it will begin to be deemed unfair for the runner to interfere with the catcher fielding the ball. And that will solve the problem. Once the cultural change takes place an occasional interference or obstruction by the umps will be all that is needed to keep things in check.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

It is culture.

I’m sure Scott Cousins thought he was going to be lauded for hard-nosed play and do whatever it takes to win.

I’m certain he didn’t see any of this coming, especially the death threats.

But, it is about culture. I think the culture has started to change, and significantly after the week where 3 catchers were injured due to collisions.

Catcher’s gear does not protect one against concussions, torn knees, or broken ankles. It does protect you rather well from foul tips to the face, balls that bounce in the dirt, and spikes/baseballs to the shins …. but nothing, I mean nothing, protects your from a bat/ball to the tip of the shoe. Oh holy hell, does that hurt.

For those that think that catcher’s gear is “armor” in the sense that we think of it, let a 6’1 210 pound buddy getting a running start from 60-feet and let him truck you as you’re looking away trying to catch a one-hop throw from RF and make a tag,

Armor my ass.

jorgath
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jorgath
5 years 2 months ago

THIS.

The only part of a catcher’s gear that provides any protection in a plate collision is the shin guards. Which only helps if someone tries to spike your shin or knee. The helmet is not significantly better than a batter’s helmet. The chest protector is designed to take the impacts of very-fast-moving baseballs, not of sorta-fast-moving people. Just so everyone knows, a person weighs a lot more than a baseball.

Levi Davis
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Levi Davis
5 years 2 months ago

Let’s all repeat together: Buster Posey was not blocking the plate.

Joe D.
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Joe D.
5 years 2 months ago

Good on Bill James for nailing it. The expectation that Cousins in a fraction of a second notice to take advantage of a sliver of baseline left available to him is ludicrous beyond belief. James nailed it.

Steve
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Steve
5 years 2 months ago

So I assume you didn’t bother to examine the clip then. The collision takes place at least a yard towards the mound away from the plate. Please utilize facts when they are available.

don
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don
5 years 2 months ago

No it doesn’t, unless you think he’s somehow running forward and keeping his feet on the baseline while leaning 45 degrees to his left. That single still image screencap that people keep posting is baseball’s version of the myspace angle.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, because baseball players don’t make decisions in fractions of a second.

They determine whether to swing or not is predetermined, as is whether to dive right or left, or come in or back.

The “can’t make decisions in short time” is the worst, IMO, to make for a baseball player. They make fraction of a second decisions all game long.

Cousins blasted Posey to know the ball loose. Bill James lectures quite a bit about playing baseball and blah, blah, blah. Even the casual fan knows the purpose of trucking the catcher when he doesn’t have the ball.

Let me guess, when Cain gives Cousins some “chin music” the next time they play, he was just brushing off the plate to set up something off speed.

We all know what went on during the play. The discussion seems to be more about association with bravado and machismo and things of that nature.

I don’t know who pissed in Bill James’s oatmeal, but remind me never to ask him to stick to the facts.

Runners coming home from 3rd are already a yard on the dugout side of the baseline. He really did have to go out of his way to initiate contact. He had full acess to the plate. He wasn’t trying to beat Posey to the plate. He was trying to knock the ball loose.

Steve
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Steve
5 years 2 months ago

Right before the impact both of Cousins’ feet are on the fair side of the line with the back of his right foot (the one forward at the time) touching the baseline. This foot is cocked at an angle of about 30 degrees to the baseline.

With his left foot it’s still up and the toe is touching the fair side of the line. This angle is harder to tell, but Cousins’ entire body is inside the line. This is no trick. He is completely inside fair territory because he has to veer a bit in order to hit Posey who is at least two feet inside fair territory.

At the point of collision Cousins feet appear to be in the air against the fair side of the line and he hits Posey with the upper half of his body which knocks his center of gravity over to the right a bit and back over the plate which is what happens when two similarly sized bodies collide.

JohnnyComeLately
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JohnnyComeLately
5 years 2 months ago

I’m not sure JFK getting shot received this thorough of analysis.

Pat
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Pat
5 years 2 months ago

Maybe he should ask his pitchers to quit getting hurt? Rich Harden says “no!!!!”.

Ed
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Ed
5 years 2 months ago

You might tell the catchers to not block the plate but you also need to make the runners slide because otherwise a catcher within tagging distance can still be plowed over by the runner.

The thing that is so hard for giants fans to watch about Poseys collision isn’t the collision itself. Its that cousins went out of his way to tackle posey when a slide would have worked. Cousins could have slid and posey was turning to apply a tag not close off the plate.

jlwoj
Member
jlwoj
5 years 2 months ago

“Changing the culture is more important, and more effective, than changing the rules.”

Do we know this? How?

Train
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Train
5 years 2 months ago

Common sense maybe? In the macho world of baseball which do you think is going to be more persuasive, “Coach made me do it” or “but the rules say…”?

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
5 years 2 months ago

Another benefit of Beane’s public announcement is now runners know Suzuki will not be blocking the plate and will be more likely to avoid the collision as well.

pinball1973
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pinball1973
5 years 2 months ago

It makes all the sense in the world, of course: “macho” is another word for “damn stupid”.

And didn’t some Seattle Times “sportswriter” (i.e. “useless douchebag”) laud Olivo for his absurd and risky headfirst slide into first recently? And dump on Ichiro for NOT risking himself in a similar manner “so as to “inspire” the team?

May I never meet any of these “sportswriters” in person, for their own sake.

Antonio Banans
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Antonio Banans
5 years 2 months ago

I think it’s stupid too. The only people who should risk their lives to inspire the team are the guys who are big, tough, and expendable.

Dave S
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Dave S
5 years 2 months ago

Like in hockey!

ElJimador
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ElJimador
5 years 2 months ago

I agree with Beane but I think in terms of discouraging collisions what Suzuki said afterward (“if I think he’s going to slide, then I’ll take my chances”) undermines it entirely. Because whether by rule change or culture change, what’s needed is to give the runner confidence that he’s not going to be physically blocked off the plate. Until then they’re going to continue to truck the catcher on every close play whether he’s blocking the plate or (like Posey) not. Basically Beane just announced “my catcher will not be blocking the plate” and then his catcher said “well actually, maybe I still will”. And this is the culture change that’s going to prevent collisions and more devastating injuries like Posey’s? I’m not seeing it. To me it just illustrates why nothing short of a rule change is going to fix anything.

Greg H
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Greg H
5 years 2 months ago

This debate is a bit silly because Buster Posey could not have avoided the collision with Cousins unless he chose to step aside and not field the throw. The throw was on line, just slightly to the first base side. Posey had to field the throw in front of home plate or he’s not tagging anybody out (and this is true for all fielders: third basemen don’t field throws from outfielders while standing behind the bag). This wasn’t a situation where Posey fielded the throw well in advance of the oncoming runner and refused to give any ground. That’s the situation Beane was referring to in his admonition to Suzuki. And I agree with Circle Change, I think Beane was using the press to make it clear to Suzuki that he doesn’t have to prove his manhood by getting into unnecessary collisions.

westcoast hero
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westcoast hero
5 years 2 months ago

The proposal by Posey’s agent to prevent runners from headhunting outside the base line still seems reasonable to me. As Greg said, Buster was just fielding the ball as any second or third baseman would. Also, my respect for Mr. James has been dramatically reduced.

NEPP
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NEPP
5 years 2 months ago

Considering the runner was actually in the basepath…yeah, I agree too. Cousins didn’t leave the basepath to hit Posey who was also in the basepath.

giantsrainman
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giantsrainman
5 years 2 months ago

Again, not true. Buster was on the pitching mound side of home plate and Cousins had a clear path to the plate. Cousins choose not to take this clear path and instead hit Posey.

Dave S
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Dave S
5 years 2 months ago

Posey was _on his knees_ waiting for a throw, in the vicinity of home plate, on a close play.

When was the last time a 2nd or 3rd baseman got on his knees near the base while awaiting a throw on a close play?

If you did see that, would you blame the runner if he thought the defender might be thinking of blocking that base, and therefore was inviting a collision?

BillWallace
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BillWallace
5 years 2 months ago

For once I totally agree with you Alex. This means you’re either 100% right or 100% wrong.

BillWallace
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BillWallace
5 years 2 months ago

I think the hoopla this has already generated will serve to reduce headhunting by runners. Most are going to know instinctively that the next runner seen to be leaving his natural line to crunch a catcher is going to face a lot of scrutiny.

Greg H
Guest
Greg H
5 years 2 months ago

But Cousins did not leave his “natural line to crunch” Posey. The baserunner has the right of way, and Cousins ran directly on the baseline. He never left his natural line. His center of mass landed on home plate after the collision.

giantsrainman
Guest
giantsrainman
5 years 2 months ago

Greg H.

Not true. The collision redirected Cousins back towards homeplate. Buster was infront of homeplate towards the pitchers mound. Cousins could have simply slide and would not have found his path to the plate blocked. Cousins feared the ball had beat him and choose contact and thus was willing to risk injuring Posey to impove his chance of scoring,

A simple rule change that requires the baserunner to slide when his path is not blocked and only allows upperbody lead colisions when his path is blocked is required to prevent these situations from happening. The penalty should be that the runner is automaticly out and is ejected from the game.

lex logan
Guest
lex logan
5 years 2 months ago

Good article, Alex. Plate collisions used not to be part of the game; somewhere around WWII the culture changed. Kudos to Beane for trying to change it back.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
5 years 2 months ago

You’re wrong. Old-timey baseball was very hard-nosed and violent, with collisions between runners and defenders frequently occurring at every base.

lex logan
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lex logan
5 years 2 months ago

The rules debate reminds me of college basketball before the shot clock. “True fans” claimed keep-away was “part of the game”; Dean Smith invented the Four Corners Offense specifically to tame Kentucky’s fast break. Then Cincinnati played stall-ball against the Wildcats for an entire, nationally televised 25-11 snoozer and the shot clock was added the next year. Who would argue for eliminating it now?

hunterfan
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hunterfan
5 years 2 months ago

I would. Maybe I would start watching basketball again.

PaulScarfo
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PaulScarfo
5 years 2 months ago

You wouldn’t even be talking about this if Posey was black.

And when did Bill James become MGL?

baycommuter
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baycommuter
5 years 2 months ago

Why in the world would someone inject race into this argument?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

We talked about it when Posey was a “dark Latin” (Santana), and it’s been discussed countless times in the past.

The conclusion has just always been the same, “Collisions are a part of baseball. Catcher is a tough position. Deal with it.”

The situation was discussed A LOT after Fosse was collided in a non-play during an All-Star game.

The situation has been discussed quite a bit previously, just no one remembers it.

THIS situation is getting A LOT of attention because it IS a high-profile prospect (We can all admit that), and he IS playing for the reigning World Series champs (We can all admit that too), but also because he is the 3rd catcher to be injured in a single week (something people are glancing past). Posey is the part of the iceberg that is showing.

Besides, there aren’t any black catchers. *grin*

I think if the catcher was black, certain people would be talking about this A LOT, and creating racial lines where they need not be … and one’s stance on the issue might have more to do with how they feel they are expected to answer, rather than how they truly feel. In other words, a white player trucking a black catcher, might result in the discussion being more about black-and-white, than the actual issue of trucking the catcher when the catcher does not have the ball and is granting the runner access to the plate.

Actually, it’s probably a good situation, for the baseball discussion, that both players involved are the same race. So, we can keep the focus where it needs to be … well, if we so choose.

bonestock94
Member
bonestock94
5 years 2 months ago

The collision doesn’t strike me as problematic. Unfortunate but nothing that needs to be changed.

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
5 years 2 months ago

I have yet to see a comparison of home plate collisions to players attempting to break up double plays at second base. If the rule is similar, the runner just needs to be in arms’ reach of the plate to make it perfectly legal.

Nate
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Nate
5 years 2 months ago

You can’t run into the 2B/SS, you have to slide (or veer off/stop running).

giantsrainman
Guest
giantsrainman
5 years 2 months ago

The context of this article is false. Buster Posey was not blocking the plate he was in front of the plate. Scott Cousins had a clear path to slide to the plate but he choose contact instead. The idea that this collision whould have been avoidable if Buster and the Giants had simply adopted a stratagy of not blocking the plate is simply completely false.

giantsrainman
Guest
giantsrainman
5 years 2 months ago

To be clear, by infront of the plate I specificly mean infront of the plate towards the pitching mound and not in the path of a base runner coming from third base thus giving said baserunner a clear path to slide to the plate.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

Here’s why Cousins plowed the catcher … because the idiot decided to tag from 3rd on a shallow fly ball to RF and was dead to rights.

If Posey actually catches the ball (in this pic), Cousins is out by 10 feet.

Seriously, let’s stop acting like the situation is something it’s not. Cousins made a horrible decision to tag and his only refuse is to try and knock the ball loose. For a player of Cousins caliber, this decision could literally be a “career move”, as in such a dumb decision for such a marginal player could easily = demotion.

I know people here get sick of hearing about things from “baseball guys”, but there are some seriously stupid things being said in this thread.

If I, as a coach, told Posey to “block the damn plate” and he told me that he “did block the plate” (in the pic linked above) …. I would spend considerable time letting him know that he DID NOT come close to blocking the plate. Not. Close.

Blocking the plate in baseball terms means “the runner cannot get to the plate”. What Posey did was “give up the plate” (which I am fine with). Having the heel of your left foot near the 3rd base corner of the plate is most definitely NOT blocking the plate. Having your left knee on the ground with your full shin shielding the plate is blocking the plate. Standing on the 3rd base side of the plate with your shin guards ready to drop is blocking the plate. The only way Posey is blocking the plate is if the runner is coming home in a direct line from second base to home plate.

He got s— rolled because he opened up to make a tag, left his chest wide open, and had his ankles pinned under his bodyweight.

Dave S
Guest
Dave S
5 years 2 months ago

Well, the idiot scored on the play. Would have scored even if he had not steamrolled Posey. So, apparently, was not dead to rights.

just sayin’

Bhaakon
Guest
Bhaakon
5 years 2 months ago

Depends. Does Posey miss the catch if he doesn’t see 200 pounds of bench warmer barreling towards him out of the corner of his eye? Who knows.

It’s unfortunate that “knocking the ball loose” is a legitimate baserunning maneuver at home plate but not anywhere else (though, as far as I can tell, it should be equally illegal for all baserunners). If only it had been Arod running, Posey might have gotten away with a slap on the wrist.

Steve
Guest
Steve
5 years 2 months ago

By the definitions here it seems completely impossible for the catcher to field a throw in such a way as to be able to tag out a runner at home without “blocking the plate” Remember that the catcher has to be close enough to the plate to cover it in case the runner tries to slide and catch the back end of the plate.

Posey was at least two feet into fair territory. How far does a catcher have to be before he is considered off limits to the runner?

Of course a lot of people simply don’t want to believe the patently obvious. Posey did everything that he could to avoid getting hurt while still being able to make the play and that was not enough to protect him. What Beane is telling Suzuki to do is what Posey did.

giantsrainman
Guest
giantsrainman
5 years 2 months ago

Exactly!

jGreen
Member
jGreen
5 years 2 months ago

“I like Billy Beane and I agree with his assessment of the situation, I just wish he didn’t write that book about himself.” – Troll

SOB in TO
Guest
SOB in TO
5 years 2 months ago

At least Cousins had the decency to check on Posey after he touched the plate.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, he’s dead to rights if Posey catches the ball.

I’ve already stated that Cousins could not have foreseen that.

Obviously Cousins thought he was dead to rights, or he would have taken the plate instead of trying the knock the ball loose.

If he thought he had any other chance then plunging into the catcher/tag would be a very dumb move.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

If Oliver Stone isn’t working on the movie, I’m sure Michael Moore is considering it.

wpDiscuz