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.

Del Rio: Raiders 'have some real diehards,' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland


Del Rio: Raiders 'have some real diehards,' should keep homefield advantage in Oakland

PHOENIX – Jack Del Rio is an East Bay guy. The Castro Valley native and Hayward High product went to Raiders games as a child, and knows too well how loud Oakland Coliseum crowds can be. He helped create that home-field advantage decades ago, and appreciates it now as Raiders head coach.

The Black Hole and surrounding supporters were felt in losing seasons but last year especially, when the Raiders went 12-4 and won several games in dramatic fashion.

While the Raiders are currently sold out of season tickets for 2017, there’s some question about how the fans will react after owners approved relocation to Las Vegas on Monday morning. The Raiders plan to play in Oakland the next two seasons – they have team options on the Oakland Coliseum for 2017 and 2018 -- and would like to play there again in 2019 until a Vegas stadium is completed in 2020.

Will there be a bunch of empty seats? Will there be protests outside the stadium? Or will the opportunity to see a team with championship aspirations keep fans coming?

That remains uncertain, though Del Rio believes Raiders fans will continue supporting their club.

“I can’t answer that definitively, but I would say I doubt it,” Del Rio said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think we have to play well and earn it. That’s where it starts. I’m banking on us doing well. If we do well enough, people will be excited to watch us."

Raiders owner Mark Davis has offered refunds to fans jilted by the move out of town, though those requests weren’t immediately high. There’s also a waiting list to buy season tickets if they become available.

There will be fans turned off after all this, and Raiders brass don’t fault them for it.

“There is that element where a certain number where they’re disappointed to the point they won’t support us anymore. That’s understandable,” Del Rio said. “We’ll have to see what that number is. If it’s a lot, we’ll adjust that line of thinking. But I would be surprised if that’s the case.”

Raiders fans are unique, and have shown a willingness to travel for games regardless of record.

“We have some real diehards,” Del Rio said. “We draw globally. I’m sure there will be some who are angry and can’t get over it; that’s understandable. I think there will be a large contingent who are true Raiders fans, and it really doesn’t matter where they’re playing. They’re there and they’re fired up.”

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

Del Rio: No handbook for transition to Vegas, 'focus on the here and now'

PHOENIX -- Jack Del Rio’s sat down for his annual media breakfast Tuesday morning surrounded by cameras. The Raiders head coach was the main attraction at this AFC function at the NFL owners meetings, and it wasn’t because his team finished 12-4 last year.

Most of this media throng wasn’t there to ask about Derek Carr’s rehab from fibula surgery or position battles waged during the offseason program.

They wanted to know about Vegas, baby, Vegas.

The Raiders were approved to relocate there Monday and he was asked about how he’ll deal with relocation issues despite the fact Del Rio will coach the Oakland Raiders for as many as three seasons.

That limbo length is unprecedented, leaving Del Rio without a road map for how to ease concerns about the future.

“It’s a little unique,” Del Rio said. “There isn’t a handbook out there. If there is, send it to me. There isn’t one out there. We’ll draw on the experiences we have in the group, and do the best we can to put a plan together and execute it.”

Del Rio said he’ll address relocation with his players once they convene for the offseason program, and try to keep them focused on the present. He recommends discussion with anxious family members as well, and to reiterate that there’s an extended stretch where relocation is only a concept.

“If you go back to this basic principle: It’s a year-to-year league,” Del Rio said. “Heck, it’s a week-to-week league. Don’t get too far ahead of yourselves. There is a story that’s going to be written that’s going to take off.

“We have to focus on the here and now. So much of the team turns over anyway, from the coaching staffs to the roster. Let’s just focus on taking care of business.”

Del Rio brought up a good point, that NFL rosters turnover at roughly 30 percent each year and coaching staffs fluctuate, so it’s possible many may never be a Raider playing in Vegas.

Del Rio anticipates being involved in the construction and amenities of a practice facility in the Las Vegas area at some point, though a location hasn’t been chosen yet. He said the Raiders have had discussions on how to help players and staff with the eventual transition and with player outreach to mitigate issues regarding readily available vices in Sin City.

Del Rio said he would ask Raiders alumni about the move to Los Angeles in the 1980s, and use their experience to help in this upcoming move.

He answered every question on this topic Tuesday morning, but hopes to move on from it when the offseason program begins next month.

“For us, it’s really about getting back to the task of the upcoming season,” Del Rio said. “We know we’re going to have nine games not on our home turf. We have a demanding schedule, and it’s going to be imperative that, as a football team, we focus on the here and now. … We had a good, strong year last year and we’re looking forward to building on that.”

Las Vegas will remain a topic moving forward, and Del Rio will be prepared to deal with the unexpected as he sails uncharted waters.

“(After this), maybe I can write a handbook I can pass out to the next team in this spot,” Del Rio said. “For me, it’s something you have to navigate. You have to appreciate some of the things that are coming, know what they are and address them.”