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MLB collision rule: All in favor? 
Posted on December 13, 2013 at 01:28 PM.
Time for a rant that most Giants fans (and baseball fans in general) won't agree with, but damn it I have a voice too. Note that I wrote this before they approved it. Here it goes...

There is a new rule that is going to be voted on to omit collisions at home plate as an effort to protect catchers. I am going to coin this the 'Buster Posey Rule,' because talks grew heavier since the league's highest paid catcher and San Francisco superstar was sidelined for the remainder of the 2011 with a broken ankle season after Scott Cousins went out of his way to plow into Posey as he was receiving an offline throw from Schierholtz in the 12th inning of a tied ballgame. Adrenaline was scorching on both sides of the opposition in both dugouts, and the play just happened as it did. In fact, I have valid reason to believe that if Posey initially secures that ball and Cousins slides into home plate, he would have slid right into the tag and would have been out. Given that there was no rule against home plate collisions at the time, Cousins took advantage of it, and Posey suffered a devastating injury.

I felt incredibly bad for Posey. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, Mr. Posey, I have news for you: it is because of you that this rule has a chance of being put into place. As much as people are going to hate me for saying this, your injury was your fault. Collisions are not illegal at home plate in this sport (not yet, at least) so what Cousins did was legal. You were not in a proper catcher position at impact. Ignore the circle and look at his left leg here:

Toes should be pointed outward and knee outside the legs. It doesn't have anything to do with bracing yourself.

Secondly, you didn't do anything afterward to let the storm calm. You called this a bush play. Whether or not it was, your words are what everybody is going to focus on, because they recall your injury as the shining example as to why this is being put in place. I know, you're injured for the rest of the season and can't help your team contend for a second straight year... really, I do feel bad for you, your situation, your wife and children, and I know why you're angry. But prior to the collision, what were your sentiments on them? I know you “play the game right” and as a catcher you probably didn't like them anyway, but now you became an advocate of those who directly oppose. You, Bruce Bochy, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny, Mike Scioscia, Joe Torre, and other former catchers/managers who are going to make a bid for this to be changed. Of course these voices would be heard, especially since they're all World Champions in one way or another.

Now I know what you're thinking: it's better for the game anyway. Of course it is! As much action as we all love to see, who wants to see their starting players hurt, or perhaps concussed? Yes, collisions are an exciting play; but then again, so are plays at the plate in general. Anyone recall Prince Fielder going from first to home in the 2012 World Series at AT&T Park? You can't tell me that play can get much more exciting. That's not my problem here. My problem has to do with knee-jerk reactions that occur in hindsight to an incident.

This is akin to MLB base coaches wearing batting helmets. Yes, sixty out of sixty base coaches would agree it is a great rule and if it was only an option would elect to wear one, but that too was purely a knee-jerk reaction after an unfortunate event occurred. Minor League Baseball base coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed from a line drive foul ball that struck him in the head. I don't recall this having ever happened before, but as we all know it always could have happened. So what does the MLB do? Instead of chalking it up as a freak accident that always could have happened, they instead institute a policy that only came after Coolbaugh's death. I understand why they did it, but forgive me for saying they are ridiculous for not having thought of it before his death. We had to wait until a life was taken before we put this rule into place. Personally, I'd say it should have happened before this occurrence, or it shouldn't happen at all, in which case base coaches should be doing what they've always been doing (or wear helmets on an optional basis).

Back to collisions. If Posey wasn't injured on this play, would we be talking about this today? My theory is no, no we would not. If that line drive doesn't kill that coach, it's just a foul ball like any other and base coaches would not be wearing helmets today. But note that I'm not saying this is the way it should be. I'm saying that these institutions should not be a knee-jerk reaction to a freak accident. It should be in place for the safety of the sport before an incident like this occurs, in preparation for an incident like this to be prevented. In the past two years, Brandon McCarthy and JA Happ suffered concussions from line drive comebackers while pitching. It's such a vulnerable position where you're defenselessly standing fifty-five feet away from a ball coming back you at more than 100 miles per hour. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often. I'm surprised more people aren't killed from this. Why aren't we protecting pitchers? In softball they were facemasks. Should we do this? I don't know, maybe. My only point is that watch... nothing will happen until a pitcher is killed from this. Only then will they take action and make some sort of change, probably with protective gear. Will it be the right play? Probably, but why did we wait for somebody to die first? If you can't institute it before the death, don't put it in place afterward as a knee-jerk reaction. That's the problem at hand, here. And once it's put in place, it will never be changed back. Look at the NFL and the restrictions that have come into play the past few years. They aren't going back and they can't. If you want to change the game to prevent something, do so but before something happens and not after.

Now personally, I'd prefer to see the game that I grew up with remain as is, or at least as much as possible. I know it's changed time and time again, though. After all, there was a time where batters didn't wear helmets either, so obviously some things have to come into play. But collisions at home plate? It's wishy-washy. People like Duane Kuiper are now quoted as calling it “an unnecessary play.” I disagree. One thing that I don't think many people understand is thinking that collisions will remove injuries on plays at the plate. Actually, there might be the exact same amount. Don't just look at the MLB, look at your local little league baseball or softball field. Now instead of catchers, baserunners will get injured. Catchers are mechas underneath their gear. Their added weight when they land and fall on your with their armored guarding has the exact same effects on the opposition, and baserunners are now prone to injury this way. Manny Ramirez, Josh Hamilton, and even catcher Joe Mauer have slid into home plate and suffered injuries because of the catcher and his gear. So has your son or daughter. So have I. Should they collide instead? I don't know. But the upper hand has been weighed completely in favor of what are now seemingly invincible beings at the dish who can land on you without repercussion.

My proposed solution is as follows: if the catcher blocks the plate defensively, he can be run through. I had always thought that was the rule personally a long time ago, but I guess it's not. In Posey's case, he wasn't blocking the plate, so if it happened again Cousins would be called out. Otherwise, the runner should find other means to score. Maybe they should do it like ASA softball where a defensive player blocking the runner's base path without the ball is obstructing the runner's progression. Basically, there are rule changes that can, should, and should have already been made. But in this case, the newly proposed Buster Posey Rule is a bit outlandish and ridiculous. I personally hope it doesn't go through, but that's just me. I'm not asking catchers to man up, I'm asking baseball to change rules based on preventative measures before they happen and not after. The base coach helmet thing is an example of it occurring afterward, so is the Rangers fan falling from the bleachers to his death and then the stadium guys saying they should have a support net... and now Posey. It's a bit of a shame that I think a pitcher is going to die before he has a facemask that could have saved his life, and immediately afterward they are going to talk about putting facemasks on pitchers. Shoot, think about airport security and 9/11. Heck, think about ballpark security. You can walk in with an entire arsenal of weaponry! There are a lot of things that need to change, only we need to sacrifice a human or two to make the change. It's messed up is what it is.

Really Posey, I love you and all... but if you're going to play catcher, learn how to play your position instead of making your problem muck up a rule for the rest of the sport for the rest of forever.
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