Urban: No need to govern collisions at plate


Urban: No need to govern collisions at plate

May 26, 2011
SLIDESHOW: Scott Cousins vs. Buster PoseyMychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

One of the great benefits of working for a television network is that when a single play merits serious discussion, as does Scott Cousins' devastating collision with Buster Posey on Wednesday night, you can ask someone to cue up the video and spend 10 minutes -- or 20 minutes, an hour, an eternity -- breaking down the play, frame by frame, backward and forward.So, of course, that was priority No. 1 upon arrival at the CSN Bay Area offices early this afternoon. The same exercise played out late last night at home thanks to the genius of DVR, but DVR can't hold a candle to what the geniuses in our San Francisco studios can do.On a monitor at a desk in the newsroom, the play -- Nate Schierholtz's one-hop dart to Posey that beat Cousins to the plate by a good 10 feet before Posey dropped the ball and saw his season placed in jeopardy by a strong-safely style blast in the chest -- played over and over and back and over and back. For a good, long while. Thus, now more than ever, there is no hesitation in issuing the following unequivocal, iron-clad-confidence-based statement: Clean play. Based on frame-by-frame examination, Cousins did the only thing he could have possibly thought to do in order to score that run.Anyone who wants to say it was a cheap shot is wrong. They haven't seen the video like this. Sorry guys. You're wrong.Still need convincing? Take a look at the slide show we've put together.SLIDESHOW: Scott Cousins vs. Buster Posey
The cleanliness of the play has been the subject of much debate. Hopefully you'll check out the slide show and see why those calling it a clean play are correct.The play has spawned another hot debate, though, too, and that one's even more lopsided than the first.It's been suggested, in the wake of the play that might cost Posey his season, that MLB needs to take a long, hard look at home-plate collisions and consider legislature that makes life safer for catchers.Anyone got a puke bucket? How about a tutu? Perhaps a red jersey, like the quarterbacks wear in practice in the NFL, a non-verbal "Don't Touch Me" sign?Please. If it were Buster Posey who blew up the Marlins' catcher Wednesday night, Giants fans would be talking about what a gamer he is. What a hard-nosed, country hardball stud! Heck, if Posey hadn't been hurt, we might be saying the same thing about Cousins and Buster. No harm, no foul, right?But there was harm. Lots of it. All to Posey. And as a result, some Giants fans are calling foul.Please. Knock it off. Collisions have been part of the game forever, and only a handful of catchers have been seriously injured in them. Ray Fosse's career was greatly compromised by the unnecessary hit he took from Pete Rose in the 1970 All-Star Game, for instance. And if you want to come up with a rule that rules out collisions at All-Star Games, fine. That makes sense.So does a fat fine and lengthy suspension for anyone deemed by MLB to have administered an NFL-style hit, a free-safety launch that ends with helmet-to-helmet contact. That would serve as an effective deterrent for runners who go in search of damage for the sake of damage.Were such a rule in effect, however, Cousins wouldn't have draw a fine. He did what he felt he needed to do to win a game. Nothing more, nothing less.Outlaw collisions at the plate? Why not eliminate takeout slides, too? And while you're at it, immediately toss anyone who hits a batter with a pitch, intent or not. Come on, people. Too many folks are overreacting here, and it needs to stop. What happened to Posey stinks. No question about it. It's awful. But it happened for no reason other than a baseball play that happens many, many times over the course of a season went awry through no fault of the play's participants.Change the rule? No. Collisions at the plate and injuries are part of the game. Pure and simple. If you want a contact-free game, head to your local softball field and get behind the 50-and-over league.You want real baseball, risks and rewards, all of which the players were well aware of, and well-compensated for? Stay with your Giants, hope they can gut it out without Posey. and don't change a damn thing.Oh, and one last thing. All the people calling for a rule change? Not one of them has presented an actual idea, much less a good one, for what would go into such a change.Why might that be? You figure it out. Baseball did a long time ago.

Giants notes: Melancon gets injection; Kontos gets an at-bat

Giants notes: Melancon gets injection; Kontos gets an at-bat

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants were annoyed by Monday’s “rubbing teammates the wrong way” report for a number of reasons, but near the top of the list was the fact that the target, Mark Melancon, has been pitching hurt to try and help a last-place team. That’s no longer the case. 

Melancon went on the DL on Wednesday morning and later had a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection in his right arm to try and ease some of the discomfort in his pronator. He is expected to be out the rest of the first half. Melancon would be eligible to return with two games left until the break, but there’s no point in rushing him. He missed 12 games the first time this came up and he now has more than two weeks to rest before the second half kicks off. 

In the meantime, Sam Dyson is the closer, but he was unavailable Wednesday because of a heavy workload. So Bruce Bochy got creative to close out a 5-3 win over the Rockies. George Kontos came on for a sharp Ty Blach in the seventh and carried the lead to the eighth. Steven Okert got through the 26th out and Hunter Strickland came in to get Ian Desmond to fly out for his first save of the year. 

Because Bochy wanted Kontos to face Pat Valaika in the eighth, he got an at-bat 15 hours after Cory Gearrin got to take his hacks. It at first looked like Kontos had “don’t swing” orders, but he fouled a ball off. 

“The second fastball I got, if it was near the plate, I was going to swing,” he said. 

Kontos said he doesn’t have bragging rights over Gearrin because he fouled a ball off, noting that Gearrin is 1 for 2 in his career and he is 0 for 8. It turns out that they used the same bat, too. Yes, there is a Cory Gearrin model.

“It’s just been hanging out since last year,” Gearrin said, looking down at his equipment bag. “Just in case.”

--- Dan Slania woke up a 4:30, drove to Philadelphia, and boarded a flight that was went down through Nashville to fuel up. He arrived in San Francisco in time for the second inning. And then he watched, met with old teammates, showered … and prepared to fly all the way back to Pennsylvania. 

“I’m going to pass out as soon as I get on the plane,” Slania said. 

He wasn’t complaining at all. The Giants needed a potential innings-eater with Melancon on the DL, and if Slania is sent back down before Friday’s game, he’ll at least be back near Double-A Richmond and the flight back will have been taken on a chartered jet with a bunch of former teammates. Plus he gets a couple of service days. 

“I can tell you it’s well worth it,” Bochy said. 

--- The main story today is about Jae-gyun Hwang, who brought some more life to a team that got its first sweep of the year. The standings are what they are, but the Giants are playing much better, and some players started talking Wednesday about how they’re looking forward to being a spoiler for teams like the Rockies and Diamondbacks. 

More than anything, the players are just happy that they got to listen to the victory soundtrack again and walk out of this park with smiles. 

“We did a really good job of coming into this series and decided what the intent should be,” Nick Hundley said. “We weren’t going to worry about what’s been going on. You control what you can control. It’s nice when the results match up.”

There was a players-only meeting on Monday and Hundley said “everybody got on the same page again.”

Now the tricky part: Keeping it going on the road. 

--- Nolan Arenado is a freak and the Giants should give him a blank check, a ton of Facebook stock, and the rights to the Salesforce building when he’s a free agent in two and a half seasons. 

--- Ryder Jones is hitless in 16 at-bats but he was keeping his head up. He was an inch or two from a double down the line Wednesday and the Giants feel he’s having good at-bats. More than anything, he's not taking those results into the field and he talked about that at length when we sat down for a podcast the other day. If you subscribe on iTunes here, you’ll have it in the morning. 

Rockets GM: Chris Paul trade 'gives us a real shot' vs NBA juggernauts

Rockets GM: Chris Paul trade 'gives us a real shot' vs NBA juggernauts

The NBA took a massive power shift Wednesday with the Clippers trading point guard Chris Paul to the Rockets for seven players, a 2018 first-round pick (protected Nos. 1-3) and $661,000. 

Houston GM Daryl Morey is going all in on a mission to compete with the Warriors and he believes the Rockets are now there with the pairing of Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden. 

"You know, it's a guards-based league. It's a weapons race in the NBA and you're either in the weapons race or on the sidelines," Morey said at the team's press conference, as captured by Mark Berman of Houston's FOX 26. "With James Harden in his prime and Chris Paul in his prime, this gives us a real shot to chase the juggernaut teams in this league." 

Paul, who turned 32 in May, is a nine-time All-Star. He spent his last six seasons with the Clippers and averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game during the 2016-17 season in 61 games played. 

This past season, Harden became a primary point guard for the first time under Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offense and the bearded lefty excelled in his new position. Harden led the NBA with 11.2 assists per game while putting up 29.1 points per game. 

Houston received guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, forwards Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell, plus the non-guaranteed deals of DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard and Kyle Wiltjer from Los Angeles. 

The Rockets went 55-27 last season, four games ahead of the Clippers, but were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs to the Spurs.