May 26, 2011RATTO ARCHIVEGIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEORay Ratto
SAN FRANCISCO -- All the other rhetoric aside, Bruce Bochy codified the Buster Posey issue with one deft phrase.
We dont like it. Hes our guy.
Thats all that it needs to be. Buster Poseys leg got crumpled in a baseball play, a career-changing (not threatening necessarily, but changing for sure) injury. Floridas Scott Cousins steamrolled him based on one judgment alone:
Is this my best chance of scoring based on what I know running at my top speed 20 feet from home plate?
Put another way, again according to Bochy:
There was nothing malicious about it. I think he figured that this was what he had to do to score.
In short, this wasnt false hustle by Cousins, and vilifying him is wrong on its face. Fans can decide they dont like it because hes your guy, but they dont get to deny rational thought.
We do not know when Cousins made up his mind to collide with Posey. You speculate what you want, but you do not know. Moreover, the fact that Nate Schierholtz was the one making the outfield throw made it more, rather than less likely that Cousins would assume his best play would not be a slide or a fly-by but the full-on-hope-I-knock-the-ball-loose collision.
And thats it. Pure and simple as can be.
The cries for rules changes for home plate collisions are therefore misguided, because when you try to legislate against bad luck, which is what the Posey injury was, you create different kinds of bad luck.
If you want the rule to change, the only one that works is the rec league co-ed softball rule where a line is drawn 20 or 30 or 40 feet up the line and make home plate Switzerland, and every play a force-out.
If, on the other hand, you want the culture on home plate collisions to change, you lose. Few players slide feet first any more, even fewer know how to hook slide, and the player who doesnt try his hardest to score is out of baseball just as fast as the catcher who doesnt want to block the plate.
Buster Posey is a loss, and a dramatic one. His injury is comprehensive, and could in the worst-scenario be career-shortening. And for most of you, you dont like it because ... well, you know.
And thats the end of it. It makes managing and running the Giants a much more difficult proposition, but the creativity that is required of Bochy and Brian Sabean now makes the team more fascinating to follow.
The calculus of running a baseball team has now gone from differential to integral, and watching Sabean and Bochy try and meld a team without a chunk of its nucleus will make the season valuable entertainment in a radically different way.
Which is another way of saying, Its more fun to watch Buster Posey than watch people cope with the absence of Buster Posey, but you eat whats on the table when you cant order off the menu.
In the meantime, you dont like it, because hes your guy. Just dont forget youd have been all for it if Buster Posey were Carlos Ruiz, and the Giants were the Phillies. And if you can say otherwise, then good on your father. Youre a better person then all the other people in your section.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com.