Ratto: Only Posey can defuse Cousins situation

June 3, 2011, 5:10 pm
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We may have reached the point at long last where it is time for Buster Posey to say, Enough is enough. He may not want to, and he may hate having to do it, but he is the only one who can save the Giants from themselves any longer.

He may even have to publicly forgive Scott Cousins. Whether hes in the mood to or not.

Posey is angry that he has lost an entire year of his career, and he is certainly entitled to that. His injuries are extensive and career-changing, and it takes a good long time for anyone to process that kind of trauma.

But hes going to have to find the strength to call off the whirlwind now. Cousins is getting death threats. Brian Sabean is saying that the end of his career will be a good thing. The Giants are giving off an aura as unbearable whiners, and whatever hopes they have of getting the home-plate-collision rule changed is diminishing with each new petulant act and statement.

In short, they are making Cousins seem sympathetic, and they are damaging their chances of righting what they see as a wrong.

Sure, they are playing to their own audience, which loves the very idea of Posey refusing Cousins attempts to contact Posey and Sabean going on the radio and savaging the Florida rookie as an unguided missile who does not deserve to play the game ever again. Rhetorical vengeance is always easiest when the audience is your own.

But just as the fan reaction has been over the top some actually using words like grieving, as though Posey had been blown to smithereens now the Giants has been. Sabean may have found satisfaction in speaking off the cuff about Cousins, his motives in the collision and his worthiness to draw a major league paycheck, but it is a luxury that works against Cousins, Posey, and yes, the Giants.

So why is it Poseys job to defuse this? Because nobody else can.

Should it have fallen to him? No, probably not. It is not unreasonable for Posey to be angry at Cousins even now, for reasons so obvious that they neednt be belabored.

But Bill Neukom cant, nor can Larry Baer. Bruce Bochy cant, and none of Poseys teammates, either. It can only come from him.

Maybe he wants the rage to remain stoked, and maybe the Giants do, too. Maybe they want Scott Cousins to become a cause for which they are willing to fight more publicly than any other baseball team has since the days of players sharpening their own spikes.

But tactically, its a fail. Its a fail for the rules change they would like to enact, its a fail for their national reputation, and its a fail for Posey as well. As well as this might play in the 415, everywhere else, he and they are coming off badly, very badly. Indeed, Bud Selig may have to step in and order the Giants to stop, and Bud never does anything unless he is sure he has the full complement of support behind him.

So yes, Buster Posey is going to have to muster the will to say, Okay, enough about me. Ill do my job knitting bones, and you guys should go win games, and well meet at the parade route, or some such well-wish. Hes going to ask the Giants to stop, for his good and theirs. Indeed, protocol may even require him to finally reach out to Cousins, although we suspect he wont be there for awhile yet.

But its his ballgame now, and only he can repair what has been wrought around him. That, too, is a measure of his presence, in a weird way. Buster Posey -- catcher, hitter, face of the franchise and mediator. Jobs not to be left to amateurs, or the faint at heart, or bad strategic thinkers. A job only he can do, if he accepts it.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.