It is unfortunate that talented young star catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants will miss the rest of the season after fracturing his left leg in a collision at home plate. But, let's not get all crazy and start changing the rules -- which is what Posey's agent, Jeff Berry, wants after Posey collision with Florida's Scott Cousins.
"If you go helmet to helmet in the NFL, it's a $100,000 fine, but in baseball, you have a situation in which runners are (slamming into) fielders," Berry said. "It's brutal. It's borderline shocking. It just stinks for baseball. I'm going to call Major League Baseball and put this on the radar. Because it's just wrong."
So, precisely how do you change the way baseball has always been played? Do you tell runners trying to score that when the plate is blocked they have to dive or slide -- putting themselves at severe risk -- or just give themselves up and not try to score? Do you completely outlaw blocking the plate? If so, how do you do that? Maybe baseball should just use "ghost runners" like we did when we were kids and we didn't have enough players to field full teams.
Over at SB Nation New York, Rob Neyer is taking Beaty's side in this argument.
Baseball was not designed, and is not best played, as a contact sport.
Catchers should not be allowed to block home plate without the ball, and in fact the rules prohibit them from doing exactly that. But the umpires allow them to block the plate -- this is what Joe refers to as "the de facto legalization of obstruction" -- and this leads to a serious injury or two every season.
Runners should not be allowed to devastate catchers. They should not be allowed to devastate catchers who are blocking the plate, and they absolutely should not be allowed to devastate catchers who are not blocking the plate.
Watch the play again. Buster Posey did not have the ball. Buster Posey was not blocking the plate. Scott Cousins had to alter his path to slam into Buster Posey. But you can't really fault Scott Cousins because his behavior has become normal.
It should not be normal, or acceptable.
I did watch the play again. Several times. And I have to disagree with Neyer. Cousins' job is to score that run. Any way possible.
Cousins knows in that situation that the ball is going to beat him to home plate. In that split second he can't determine whether or not Posey, who is turning to tag him, has caught the ball cleanly or not. He only knows that if Posey has the ball and he slides, he will be out. He does the only thing possible -- hit the catcher and try to dislodge the baseball.
Cousins may have slightly altered his path -- but he still went directly over home plate.
In the end, this is competitive, professional sports. This is guy's livelihoods and they are paid to try to win. Sometimes players get hurt, that's just how it is.
It is unfortunate, but you can't change a rule every time it happens.