Archive for May, 2011
I’ve read several articles now about the Posey collision, and they all say the same thing, it’s part of the game. A lot of them also assert that it’s always been part of the game, the catcher blocking the plate and the runner blasting into him to try and dislodge the baseball and steal a run. That’s simply not true. Catchers didn’t always have to risk their livelihood protecting the plate. Look at the images of Jackie Robinson stealing home against Yogi Berra in the World Series, to use just one example.
And, really, what kind of argument is that? A second basemen can’t block the base. And the baserunner isn’t allowed to knock the ball out of the first baseman’s glove. Why should a catcher have to sit there and get run into by a 200 pound baserunner with a 90 foot head start? That’s a penalty in football, for crying out loud. Just saying that it’s been done that way is not, and never has been, a reasonable argument for doing anything.
Sure, I’m upset about the Giants losing Posey, and for the fact that his career might be in jeopardy (although recent reports seem to indicate he will be fine). But that doesn’t take away from the fact that that play shouldn’t be part of the game. Catchers already go through enough. There is no reason they should be exposed to that kind of risk. The rules don’t even have to be changed. It’s already against the rules for the catcher to block the plate without the ball, and it’s already against the rules for a runner to try and knock the ball out of a fielder’s hand.
The rules just need to be enforced, and the players need to think about their health a little more.
Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper was quietly seething in the dugout, calling for change.
“I don’t know how,” he said. “They can figure that out in the Major League Baseball offices. But you can’t just have a guy out there defenseless like that. I stood out there defenseless at second base for 10 years (as a player) until they changed the rules about guys sliding with the sole intent of taking somebody out. So they can change it at home plate, too.”
UPDATE: I’ve now had a chance to read some more pieces, and see that several writers have echoed my call for a rule change or enforcement. Over at Baseball Prospectus, Corey Dawkins and Ben Lindbergh cite the NCAA rule as a possible precedent for MLB to do something to protect catchers:
…. if the catcher/ fielder has possession of the ball and blocks the path of the base runner to the base (plate), the runner may make contact, slide into, or collide with a fielder as long as the runner is making a legitimate attempt to reach the base or plate. The runner must make a legal slide into or around the glove. Under NFHS rules, a runner cannot dive, hurdle, jump or go over the top of the catcher unless the catcher is prone. He cannot lower his shoulder and barrel over the catcher. As a result of his illegal action if the runner interferes, you have a dead ball and the runner is out.
Under NCAA rules, “When there is a collision between a runner and a fielder who clearly is in possession of the ball, the umpire shall judge whether the collision by the runner was avoidable (could the runner have reached the base without colliding) or unavoidable (the runner’s path to the base was blocked.)
“If the runner can avoid a collision when the catcher clearly has possession of the ball, the runner is called for interference if he attempts to dislodge the ball without making a bona fide effort to reach the plate”
What’s so hard about that? Again, just because something has been allowed to happen until now doesn’t mean it should be allowed to continue.
I hate to be the kind of guy to say that, but now any chance to defend their title is obviously in jeopardy.
…. Giants star catcher Buster Posey is likely out for the season with a fractured bone in his lower left leg suffered during a collision at home plate with Florida’s Scott Cousins.
…. Posey had already taken several hard foul tips off his mask and legs this season, even leaving one game for precautionary reasons to make sure he didn’t have a concussion. Some observers have argued a slugger of his caliber shouldn’t be behind the plate, where hits can be routine, and this injury surely won’t do much to quiet that sentiment.
Posey himself has always shaken off those remarks, saying he was born to play catcher and loves his position.
I have a minute to sit down and write. Sorry for the lack of posts, my life has been very challenging lately.
So, the Giants reach the 40 game mark tomorrow, which means a quarter of the season is in the books, and the team is in first place in the NL West, 22-17. The pitching has been anywhere from good to awesome, and the offense has been abysmal. There’s not a player on the team having a surprisingly good season at the plate, (except for pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, more on him in a moment). For all intents and purposes, 2011 feels just like last years playoff run, with our pitchers just running out zero after zero waiting for a run.
Offensively, Tejada looks pretty much done, and defensively, he’s been atrocious. I couldn’t have imagined that Uribe would be missed this much, but, damn. Panda came out on fire, his injury was a huge disappointment. He must have been particularly bummed given how hard he worked, and how terrific his season was starting out as.
Burrell has been timely, but, then again, so has everyone. That’s how you win 22 games with the second fewest runs scored in all of baseball.
Barry Zito is on the DL, and his replacement, Vogelsong, has been just short of a revelation. Do the Giants just give Zito his spot in the rotation like nothing’s happened, or do they stick with Vogelsong? I’d love to see them dump Zito to the Yankees, who could use some inning eating, and maybe pick up a hitter. Not likely, sure, but here’s hoping.
All in all, not a bad start defending their title. It’s funny, for all the hype about the Phillies big three pitchers, the Giants have allowed only 8 more runs than Philadelphia, are leading all of baseball in strikeouts (328), and have allowed just an astounding 19 home runs. When the hitters come around, I expect the Giants to become quite formidable.