Bo Porter’s Secret History

Ballparks, Books, CBA, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, Players, Prospects, Stats, Umpires

Bo Porter makes up a new rule, a precedent for that rule and gets away with it.

You have to admire it.

Last night, in the top of the seventh inning with the Astros leading the reeling Angels 5-3 and going for a series sweep, Astros manager Porter called lefty specialist Wesley Wright in to replace righty Paul Clemens. When Angels manager Mike Scioscia countered with righty bat Luis Jimenez hitting for J.B Shuck, Porter decided to yank Wright before Wright threw a pitch. That’s not allowed but for some reason, the umpires allowed it. Scioscia went bonkers and when the umps still let Porter to make the move, Scioscia sent Scott Cousins up to hit. Nothing came of the inning on the field as the Angels didn’t score. The Angels came back to win the game and the win might’ve come as a direct result of the spark they got from this series of maneuvers and mistakes.

There are multiple levels of “what?!?” “where?!?” and “why?!?” in this story.

What?!? Porter didn’t know the rule that a pitcher had to pitch to at least one hitter when called into the game?

What?!? He saw Davey Johnson do the same thing last season?

Where?!? In a dream he had?

And most importantly, why?!? Why, why, why would you look at a team and a dugout that was as dreary, sleepy and resigned to their 2013 fate as the Angels and do anything that could possibly wake them up? Scioscia’s fiery reaction to the umpiring decision looked like it gave his team a boost. Of course the Astros are so terrible that without the call and the protest, there’s a chance that the Angels would’ve come back to win anyway, but if that one moment galvanizes the Angels to save their season, the rest of baseball can blame Porter and his ignorance of the rules and clinging to the numbers that he had to play lefty-righty-lefty and poke the sleeping bear.

What the Astros have Porter doing is managing scared because he has orders coming from the stat heavy front office that he has to adhere to or else. This creates a manager who’s paranoid and sticks to the script of lefty/righty, matchups and percentages to the detriment of any feel for the game itself. Porter, who was a longtime player and coach, has very little managerial experience (107 games in the minors) and when he took the job was not in a position to exert his theories or his will on anyone. With the Astros, as is their right, they wanted a manager who would be willing to follow orders and accept that that particular job is a joint entity in conjunction with the front office and he’s there to implement what the front office wants. It’s the MoneyballArt Howe story except in this case, it’s real. In Moneyball it was Michael Lewis searching for an old-school “villain” to exemplify how the “genius” Billy Beane was altering every part of the game from top to bottom and found one by attacking the liked and respected baseball man Howe with a sadistic and absurd caricature.

An experienced manager would have known the rules and would have looked across the field at an Angels squad that was staring at 11-23 with an expensive and star-studded roster, ready to pack their bags and go to Chicago for what might’ve been the last road trip for Scioscia as Angels manager, and just let it be hoping that the Angels bad luck would’ve extended to Wright retiring Jimenez. Oh, and Jimenez is 1 for 9 against lefties this season so the numbers didn’t even fit to yank Wright.

The umpires letting him do it doesn’t absolve Porter for trying to do it in the first place. Who knows? Wright might’ve gotten Jimenez to pop up or struck him out. It was overmanaging and “look how smart I am guys” gazing toward the front office by acquiescing to edicts as if he’s a prisoner to his new job and wants to make sure and please his bosses by doing what he’s told.

The umpiring decision was bad and it was a mistake, but what Porter did was worse because it indicated an institutionalized tone that he’s no longer a baseball man on the field. He’s a functionary and doing what the stat people want him to do. Running a team that way is not all that hard. In fact, it’s not managing at all.


Dayton Moore—Desperate; Jack Zduriencik—Genius?

Ballparks, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, Players, Playoffs, Politics, Prospects, Stats, Trade Rumors

Desperation and job security are in the eye of the beholder.

Last season Jason Vargas was, in stat guy metrics, more valuable than James Shields with a 2.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) compared to Shields’s 2.2. Vargas is a free agent after the 2013 season while Shields is signed through 2014, so the Royals have Shields for two years vs the Angels guaranteed to have Vargas for one, but the return on the trades that sent both from their former homes should be viewed in the same light.

Royals’ GM Dayton Moore was torched for trading top prospect Wil Myers and other young minor leaguers to the Rays for Shields and Wade Davis. Vargas was traded by the Mariners by their GM Jack Zduriencik (a stat guy totem) to the Angels for 1B/OF/DH Kendrys Morales. On the surface, the trades don’t appear to be similar, but in reality, they are.

Vargas isn’t particularly good and isn’t a substantial upgrade for the Angels, but if Zduriencik was in year two of his administration and still getting a pass for what he inherited from Bill Bavasi, would he have made this trade? Or did he bow to expediency to try and get better in the now with an acquisition for a “name” player to try and score a few more runs because he’s in year five and under fire, possibly having to show legitimate improvement to keep his job?

Moore was accused of making a capricious and desperate trade in an attempt to save his job and the Myers trade was added to the list of charges on the indictment.

In comparison, one of the stat persons’ “own,” Zduriencik, has been essentially bulletproof from criticism from the wing that portrays themselves as seeking profundity through statistical truth, but is just as invested in altering the narrative to fit into their desired template. There’s a collision of philosophies when a faction uses one man’s trades (in this case Moore) to advance an agenda; and another’s trades (Zduriencik’s) to defend an agenda. The genesis of these deals is basically the same even if the players are entirely different.

Zduriencik’s tenure as Mariners’ GM somewhat mirrors Moore’s with only perception separating the two. They’ve both rejuvenated dilapidated farm systems and developed prospects that are highly regarded around baseball. They’ve made free agent signings, somewhat going over budget to disastrous results as Moore did with Jose Guillen and Gil Meche and Zduriencik with Chone Figgins. Both are on their third manager. Neither has made meaningful progress in the bottom line win column. Yet comparing the vitriol Moore inspires and the silence that accompanies Zduriencik’s tenure, you’d think they were polar opposites. They might be in terms of philosophy, but in the sum of their reigns? Not at all.

Would the Royals have been better served to keep Myers? Or did they put themselves in the thick of playoff contention for 2013-2014 by getting one genuine All-Star pitcher—Shields, and a pretty good 200-inning arm—Davis? The Royals will more than likely be a better team immediately because of the trade Moore made in spite of viable criticisms of the short-sightedness of the move.

Can the same be said for the Mariners and this trade?

Vargas’s situation is separate from Myers’s because of Vargas’s pending free agency and reputation as a creature of the Mariners’ formerly spacious home park of Safeco Field. When the decision was made to bring the fences in significantly to boost the offense, pitchers like Vargas were either going to suffer statistically or need to be traded. In 2012, 26 of the 35 homers he surrendered were away from Safeco. If he’d stayed with the Mariners, there’s a good chance he’d allow 40 homers next season; and as a pending free agent for a team offensively destitute with pitching to spare, he was a logical choice to go. But for Morales? A rental for a rental to play for a team that has very little chance at contention in 2012? This was a cosmetic trade and won’t make the club markedly better over the long term. They’ll be slightly better in the short term. Moore’s trade doesn’t simply change the optics as Zduriencik’s does. In 2013-2014, it does guarantee to make the Royals better because no one knows whether Myers is truly ready, but we do know what Shields and Davis are and they’re far better than what the Royals trotted out to the mound last season.

For Zduriencik, this winter has consisted of dumping one free agent bust (Figgins) and replacing him with another one (Jason Bay); he traded for Robert Andino; selected Scott Cousins off waivers from the Blue Jays (maybe he can run around the field ramming into other clubs’ stars and knock them out as he did with Buster Posey); and by acquiring Morales.

It’s repeatedly said that the Mariners were “in it until the end” on Josh Hamilton. In the stat person’s world of the definable and “you are what you are,” this would be mocked as the lamentations of a loser. In the Mariners’ case, it’s used as evidence of “trying.”

There are repeated references to prospects on the way for the Mariners. On the way. Eventually. Someday. Much of their talent base are pitchers waiting to graduate to the big leagues for a club whose ballpark is no longer as conducive for pitchers to succeed as it once was. Do you see the dichotomy?

Morales will make the Mariners’ offense better, but how much of his infusion of power will be counteracted by the increased number of homers the pitchers are going to allow? They’re in the AL West with the high-powered Angels; the still-talented Rangers; and the AL playoff surprise Athletics. Barring a shocking rise, massive trade to improve immediately (sort of like what Moore did), or a free agent signing out of the blue, can they contend in 2013? I don’t see how.

At least they’ll be able to beat on the horrific Astros.

Perhaps Zduriencik can again he can use Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman as a handpuppet like he did in the Cliff Lee/Michael Pineda trades. Nothing else seems to be working and, on his GM epitaph, it won’t be a total negative to say, “He torched the Yankees a couple of times.” That might be all he has left.


New Age Collisions and Matt Holliday

All Star Game, Ballparks, CBA, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, MLB Waiver Trades, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2012 Baseball Guide, PEDs, Players, Playoffs, Politics, Prospects, Spring Training, Stats, Trade Rumors, Umpires, World Series

The photo you see above is Graig Nettles kicking George Brett in game 5 of the 1977 ALCS. The Yankees eventually won the game and the pennant. A brawl occurred between the two teams following this incident. No one was kicked out of the game. (Get it?)

If that happened today, someone would have to be thrown out. I think. Although Roger Clemens was allowed to fling a projectile—a broken bat—at Mike Piazza in the 2000 World Series and didn’t get tossed. It’s a fine line between defending oneself and running the risk of getting ejected.

In last night’s game 2 of the NLCS, on a double play attempt, Marco Scutaro of the Giants was nailed and had his hip injured on a takeout slide by Cardinals’ outfielder Matt Holliday.

You can watch it below.

Holliday was past the base and his specific intent was to hit Scutaro hard enough to prevent the double play. He did it cheaply with a dangerous roll block and raised arm making it doubly treacherous for the infielder. This isn’t little league and there’s a reasonable expectation for hard, clean play. Infielders have their own little tricks they use to prevent this from occurring. In general, they use the base for protection because the runner is technically not supposed to pass the base; they also throw the ball sidearm and specifically aim it at the runner’s head (this is taught) so the runner has to get down to avoid getting beaned. Holliday’s play was arguable in its legality/line-crossing because the ball and Holliday arrived nearly simultaneously and Scutaro didn’t have the time to hop out of the way or use the base as protection, nor could he throw the ball at Holliday’s head. Holliday did go past the base to get Scutaro.

It wasn’t overtly illegal, but it was a legal cheap shot.

On the Fox broadcast, Tim McCarver—a former catcher, no stranger to home plate collisions—compared the play to Buster Posey getting leveled by Marlins’ outfielder Scott Cousins in May of 2011. Posey had his ankle broken, needed surgery, and was lost for the season. It was his absence that set forth the chain-of-events that might have cost the Giants a second straight World Series and forced them to search for more offense and surrender their top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler to get Carlos Beltran from the Mets.

There was no comparison between the two hits because what Holliday did was questionable at best and dirty at worst. What Cousins did was within the rules. Rules and propriety don’t always intersect and if that’s the case, then baseball has to step in and clarify the grey areas.

What creates the controversy is that it’s so rare in today’s game. In the Royals-Yankees annual ALCS matchups (4 times in 5 years between 1976 and 1980), Royals’ DH/outfielder Hal McRae took every opportunity to try and send Yankees’ second baseman Willie Randolph into the left field seats and break up a double play. It’s perfectly acceptable for a runner to run into a fielder if he has the ball and is trying to tag him, but the last player I remember doing it was Albert Belle.

With catchers and runners, it’s an old-school play that some former catchers like McCarver, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi, and Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy would like to see outlawed, while Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia thinks it’s an integral, exciting, and necessary aspect of competition. No one will accuse any of the above ex-players of being wimps. All were tough, but disagree on the subject. Scioscia relished the contact and was the recipient of one of the most brutal collisions I’ve ever seen in 1985 when Jack Clark of the Cardinals barreled into him. Scioscia was knocked out; Clark was staggered as if he’d been he recipient of a George Foreman sledgehammer punch; and Scioscia held onto the ball.

Nobody runs over the catcher anymore. There’s a commercial playing in New York of Derek Jeter crashing into a catcher. When has Jeter ever run into a catcher? It’s almost never done, and when it is, it turns into a national catastrophe if one of the players gets hurt.

The camaraderie and brotherhood among the players also precludes these hard plays. Everyone knows each other now. With the limited degrees of separation and the amount of money at stake, few are willing to take the chance of ruining another player’s career. You don’t see knockdown pitches; you don’t see take-out slides; you don’t see busted double plays; and you don’t see home plate collisions.

It wasn’t an, “I’m trying to hurt you,” play. But an injury was a byproduct. It was legal, yet borderline. If MLB wants to make it illegal or come up with a way to constrain it, then fine. Until then, it’s acceptable. As long as the people in charge fail to make a concrete announcement and provide a clear-cut mandate to the umpires that certain actions won’t be tolerated, there will be players who are willing to do what Holliday did, injured players, and indignant reactions in its aftermath.


LoMo And The Tweets

Games, Management, Media, Players

Generations are clearly clashing in the case of Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison and his penchant for expressing himself on Twitter.

I suppose “expressing” is better than “exposing”. (See Weiner, Anthony.)

Team president David Samson already warned Morrison about the potential negatives of his outspokenness on the site—as innocuous as most of it is—and ostensibly threatened him with demotion.

Samson’s not known as the most congenial guy in the world.

Obviously the Marlins aren’t going to demote Morrison…as long as he’s hitting.

That he’s a 23-year-old potential All Star contributes to his ability to push the envelope via social media. If it was Wes Helms doing the tweeting, he’d be told to stop or he’d get released; since it’s Morrison, he gets a certain amount of leeway and repeated stern talking-tos from the front office.

I use Twitter and other social networks and find it entertaining when people in the position of Morrison interact with fans. Roger Clemens and barbecue maestro Steven Raichlen have both replied to me on the site; I’m waiting for Jose Canseco to answer me or threaten me—either/or is fine.

Morrison’s biggest problem appears to be the perceptions of propriety separating the Marlins front office and his penchant for tweeting his mind. The lines are being blurred with what he says to the media in person and what he tweets.

After the Scott CousinsBuster Posey collision, Morrison did a service by stating publicly—on Twitter—that Cousins was receiving death threats. The reaction to this ridiculousness played a part on the toning down of the rhetoric.

It was an “enough already” moment.

After the Marlins fired hitting coach John Mallee, Morrison defended him, but did so to reporters directly and not on Twitter.

It’s easy for such things to become misunderstood.

Morrison’s tweets aren’t controversial. A public person willing to actually be the one running his own Twitter/Facebook page is not customary—much of the time, it’s a PR person or ghostwriter (or ghosttweeter) behind it.

Morrison interacts with fans and it’s viewed as unusual because it is unusual.

I find his twitter feed moderately entertaining; at least he knows his “your/you’re”, “their/they’re” and doesn’t use the phrase “lol” repeatedly. That’s all I ask.

But what I don’t understand is why an apparently single 23-year-old major league baseball player—whose home base is Miami—is on Twitter so often. There have to be better things to do.

Where are the models?


“The Collision”—In Quotes

Games, Hall Of Fame, Management, Media, Players

Baseball has off-field hierarchies.

Certain players receive special treatment and are given more leeway by their clubs because of who they are.

It occasionally extends to the field.

Chipper Jones is going to get a close call while batting whereas Diory Hernandez isn’t.

Greg Maddux would get a slightly wider strike zone than Kyle Kendrick.

I don’t even think the umpires are doing it intentionally; it just is.

But there’s a limit.

And that limit is in the heat of battle. When a play is occurring, nobody’s looking to see who’s running; who’s hitting; who’s catching; who’s throwing.

They’re trying to do their jobs.

When something unfortunate but clean like what happened to Buster Posey happens, to denigrate the player who is seen to be “responsible”—Scott Cousins—is a reactionary and foolish response that’s rapidly reaching critical mass and a logical conclusion of fanned flames of derangement.

Cousins is getting death threats.

No one would say a word if it wasn’t a star player who was injured.

In 2003, Derek Jeter was injured in a collision at third base with Blue Jays backup catcher Ken Huckaby; many callers to WFAN in New York were outraged that a “garbage” player like Huckaby dare injure their captain as if he did it with intent.

It was a play in the heat of action; it was unintentional.

People want Cousins to apologize; to trade places with Posey; to die. It was a clean play and he has nothing to apologize for.

It happened because baseball is sometimes a contact sport played by large men running at full speed.

Johnny Bench—class act and one of the best and toughest defensive catchers in history—has said that Posey was at fault.

Now Posey has released a statement to try and put the issue to bed once and for all—link.

This thing is about 2 days away from reaching media circus levels in which there’ll be people selling T-shirts outside the stadiums with images of Cousins with a bullseye on his face; and stop motion clips of the collision.

Henceforth to be called, “the collision” in quotes.

Let it go. And grow up.


Viewer Mail 6.4.2011

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Games, Management, Media, Players

Gabriel writes RE Buster Posey and Scott Cousins:

What people don’t really see is that Posey did not suffer a concussion nor a separated shoulder. He was injured because of the awkward position he assumed when trying to defend the plate. It’s a shame Buster is lost for the season, but people should not satanize Cousins because injury was not his goal.


Pookah writes in response to Gabriel and RE Brian Sabean’s comments:

Gabriel, the injury could have been way worse. Unfortunately, it would take a way worse injury for the rule to be changed.

Though Sabs (as we call him) shouldn’t have said any of that, I don’t fault him. He lost his best position player. He spoke out of frustration. The Giants have already apologized on Sabs behalf ( Maybe he’ll get fined, but I’m sure he’ll think it was well worth it.

Posey was in a bad position because he moved in front of the plate to take the somewhat errant throw.

Cousins had no way calculating where Posey was and deciding in that small window that sliding around him was the best option. He chose to run him over and Posey got hurt. It was an accident of circumstance.

As for Sabean’s comments, you can’t defend them in any way. You can read Pookah’s link and then you can read this link from SBNation in which the Giants press release is “translated”—more accurately, I say.

Sabean’s absolutely going to get fined; he was going to get (or has already gotten) a stern talking to from baseball’s Godfather, Joe Torre; and he made himself look like a whiny fool.

The “home team” radio silliness as if Sabean’s comments weren’t going to be picked up by the national media and this “emotional time” garbage is stoking the fires.

Posey was hurt in a clean play. He wasn’t killed in a drive by shooting led by a rival gang with low-level soldier Cousins pulling the trigger.


Jak writes RE the Brewers and deadline deals:

Sounds nice and all, but can you name any Brewers prospects that any team is interested in? You seem to have forgotten how much the Greinke trade emptied their whole farm system. Jose Reyes would make them unbeatable, but i will bet my life that Melvin cant pull that deal.

It’s a fair point.

But history has shown that you can’t say now what it’ll take to get a player from a dealing club. Situations and demands are fluid and change rapidly.

Reyes isn’t going anywhere unless there’s a lot coming back, but with Francisco Rodriguez or Carlos Beltran, the cost would be less; K-Rod especially could be had for a young, high-end prospect who needs to mature and simply taking on the rest of his contract.

Unbeatable is a strong word. The Mets have had Reyes for eight years and have proven to be eminently beatable.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes RE the MLB Draft:

HAHAHA! Who will be drafted number one!?!? THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME LIKE A NAIL GUN TO THE TEMPLE! Two words for Pirates fans: Brad Lincoln.

Our best bet is to wait to see what Keith Law says as he continuously alters his mock draft with a greater frequency than PECOTA tries to run from their picking the Twins to win 95 games.

I fought the Law and the Law won.

Let’s not fight the Law.

Patrick writes RE Reyes and the Mets:

Reyes won’t make or break the franchise, but it will make or break the next three to four years.

Look if his price tag becomes insanely overvalued a lunatic owner looking to make a splash, like the way Boston did with Crawford and Washington did with Werth, I can’t fault the Mets for being in a thanks but no thanks mode.

However when you look at the makeup of the Mets system, the pending free agent market for 2012 and 2013, the two most direct routes to roster improvement, there is not a lot there.

Most of the Mets options for improvement are going to need to come out trades and of non-tendered guys, wise looks at other teams systems ala taking shots at guys like Pridie and Turner and roll the dice some pan out.

The trades require a deep farm system which the Mets can’t boast currently. So is it wise to lose a core asset like Reyes if you really want to be competitive.

To get Reyes, it’s a safe bet that someone will go over-the-top in a similar fashion as the Red Sox and Nationals did with Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.

For the record, I’d like the Mets to keep Reyes unless someone offers the moon for him in a trade or his demands as a free agent are in the Crawford range ($140 million).

Teams turn around their fortunes relatively quickly even after perceived “franchise-wrecking” moves were completed. The Mets can’t let sentiment and the anger and rhetorical manipulations by fans/media influence them into doing something stupid; that’s how they got into this mess in the first place.

JR writes RE the Brewers and J.J. Hardy:

Do u think the Brewers go and try to get Hardy back?

I actually thought of that.

It’s not a terrible idea. A free agent at the end of the year, Hardy’s a far superior fielder and hitter than Yuniesky Betancourt, but his offense has collapsed since the All Star beginning to his career.

The Orioles won’t do anything now, but Hardy will be available and won’t cost much.

I could see it happening.


Foundation For Blame

Fantasy/Roto, Games, Management, Media, Players

I can predict right now that if the Giants fail to repeat as World Series champions or miss the playoffs entirely, GM Brian Sabean will blame Scott Cousins.

Presumably, he’ll do it privately and not to a member for the media because by then the league will have told him to keep his mouth shut with denigration of Cousins and threats of retribution for what was a clean play.

Giants catcher Buster Posey was lost for the season when Cousins crashed into him trying (and succeeding) to score the winning run.

Sabean went into an ill-advised tirade in a radio interview yesterday, tearing into Cousins—ESPN Story.

The Giants have reason to be upset that their star catcher is lost for the season, but the GM can’t be engaging in this kind of rhetoric during an interview. As understandable as Sabean’s frustration is, it’s not limited to the loss of Posey. Everything that happens with a club has an influence on the entire organization; sometimes they’re little and meaningless; sometimes they’re big and catastrophic. Posey’s injury not only has the potential to affect the Giants this season, but because he was one of their only reliable hitters Sabean is now in a position where other clubs with whom he might have been negotiating deals to acquire a bat will latch onto the desperation like jackals and try to extract more than they previously would’ve gotten.

If Sabean was prepared to offer prospects A and B to the Mets for Jose Reyes, Mets GM Sandy Alderson is smart enough to use the absence of Posey to his advantage and ask for more because the Giants offensive hole is wider and the need greater.

Sabean has a right to be upset and it’s not only about Posey; it’s about aggravation he has to endure and players he might have to trade to account for his young star’s absence, but to overtly attack Cousins—for what was a clean play—is inappropriate at best and ridiculous at worst.

The players take their cue from the GM and the GM is making his team’s circumstances worse.

What happens if a brawl breaks out and Tim Lincecum gets injured during the scrum? Will that be Cousins’s fault too? Or will it be Sabean’s?

The GM of the club who, instead of defusing tensions and telling his players to keep quiet and not do anything stupid when they next play the Marlins, is giving them a flagrant okay to retaliate; he’s at fault for whatever happens next.

The GM is the one who has to be an adult.

Sabean should take that advice.


The Posey Film

Books, Fantasy/Roto, Games, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

Giants catcher Buster Posey was injured in a home plate collision with Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins.

You can see the clip here.

The reactionary nature by some is so over-the-top, arrogant and self-interested that they’re bordering on parody.

We’re seeing said arrogance from the likes of Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated who evidently anointed himself the arbiter of propriety as he applauded Cousins on Twitter with the following:

cousins so broken up about injuring posey he couldnt sleep (via @joecapMarlins). very human reax. good to hear.#marlins, #SFGiants

And if Cousins said, “It was a clean play; I didn’t want to hurt him and I slept fine,” does that make him an evil entity worthy of public scorn?

Buster Olney wants to eliminate collisions (the solidarity of the Busters?); Posey’s agent had a conniption fit.

Analysis of the clip is reaching the level of the Zapruder Film of the Kennedy assassination with slow motion, freeze frames, measurements and discoveries of that which is not there. Cousins had a split-second to decide whether to run over the Posey or slide around him; Posey moved to the front of the plate to get the throw and while he wasn’t blocking the plate directly, he was close enough for Cousins to decide to run into him not for the sake of it, but because that was one of his two options.

The caste system of players is extending from off-field perks to on-field floating rules and regulations designed to “protect” the game’s stars. It’s as if Posey, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are up here; Scott Cousins and lesser players are down there.

So had Cousins been the one to get injured, would there have been this call to outlaw collisions? Were there similar bouts of hand-wringing and whining when, in a 1996 collision with Johnny Damon, journeyman Chad Kreuter fractured and dislocated his shoulder and experienced internal bleeding in his stomach days later and nearly died?

Is it that it’s Posey—a star player, integral to the Giants success—that’s the catalyst for the sudden revulsion at home plate collisions? What would be said if Cousins tried to slide around Posey and broken his own leg? Would anyone care? Or if Cousins was tagged out clearly avoiding the contact, would anyone be saying, “why didn’t he run him over?”

This is similar to when one wonders why they decided to take one street over another and had an accident because of circumstance; there’s nothing that can be done about it and the attitude that because it’s Posey and not a lesser player is selective and somewhat pompous.

Nothing can be done to change it and any immediate response to reduce the risk of a home plate collision happening again will do more harm than good.

You can’t regulate a home plate collision any more than you can stop a hit by pitch or a torn hamstring running the bases.

MLB shouldn’t bend to the whimsical response to a player getting injured by outlawing home plate collisions. There’s no reason to outlaw them.

It was a clean play without any intent; it’s part of the game.


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