Disclaimer: I am a Dodger fan. I am one of those miserable creatures who has to root for a team that has the worst owner in the history of baseball. I have to try and make lemons out of lemonade and there’s no sugar. Hell, there’s no booze to numb the pain either. We worshipped Manny Ramirez who tarnished our only two legitimate playoff runs and Frank McCourt was too busy charging the team 14 million a year in rent to play in a stadium we owned to sign a Cliff Lee so we could capitalize on Manny’s steroid-laced leadership.
Basically, I am a Dodger which means by default, I hate the Giants. I hate them for their loser mentality, their silly Halloween colors, their hypocrisy as fans and the fact that until recently, they’d never won a title on the west coast.
That being said, I’ll openly admit I rooted for them to beat the Rangers in the World Series. This was for several factors. First, it was my wedding week, I was drunk a lot and when you are drunk you tend to be nice to people you don’t like. That’s why they serve booze at company holiday parties. Two, it’s hard not to like the way that team played, scrappy, determined like they knew they didn’t deserve to be there. I loved it. Finally, it was easy to root for them because of Buster Posey.
What’s not to like? A clean-cut rookie catcher puts the team on his back offensively and leads them to an improbable title. I thought Posey would even help the Dodgers. A Giants World Series would surely enrage the Dodger fan base (not the only thing, but it’s looking good as far as sending Frank to the sewer he crawled out of). Not only that, it is un-American not to like a guy like Buster Posey. His name is half fat-kid, half labrador retriever. He looks like he hasn’t hit puberty. He was genuinely excited to win the World Series and promised more. Hell, I wished he was a Dodger.
So I hope any of my NorCal readers who just took that in understand that I am a fair Dodger fan and while I wish we won the World Series, I’d rather see my rival win than some team from Texas. All for the glory of the game. I hope you see I have nothing against Buster. In fact, the opposite. He’s a stud.
All of that said, everything that has come from the Giants and Posey’s camps since his unfortunate season-ending injury recently has been total, utter, cry-baby bullshit. I have to call them out. It is calling into light the reason the Giants had not won a title in the half-century they’d been in the Bay Area. It harkens to everything that is wrong with their fanbase, management and world view. It’s an easy time to call them out for me because anything negative a Giants fan would say about the Dodgers right now would be true. So fire away, I am not offended. Frankly, I probably agree.
Before I clarify, this is not intended for Giants fans who accept injuries are a part of baseball and are simply disappointed at the loss of a great player. I am with you guys. I am disappointed too. As a season ticket holder, I’d rather watch Posey play when the Pumpkins are in town. To say every fan is a dumb as those getting coverage is as ridiculous as saying every Dodger fan senselessly beats up opposing fans. It isn’t the case. So for you guys and gals, I’m preaching to the choir. For the rest of you, hear me out.
The collision at home plate is a part of baseball. For the most part, it would seem on paper to be a raw deal for the guy NOT WEARING GEAR to collide head first with a man in football pads and a goalie’s helmet, who is most likely bigger than you. For years, the catcher was taught to get behind home plate, receive the throw and body up to the incoming runner. Catcher’s are tough as nails. People don’t understand the wear and tear of being in the crouch for a career, taking countless 90 mph fastballs and deflections off the face and getting run into all day. It’s insane.
That said, there was a new school of thinking which was to have the catcher in front of the plate out of harm’s way and in position to do a contact-light swipe tag. That’s where Posey was. It makes sense on paper. Protect the catcher that can hit the ball. Only this was a case of it backfiring miserably. Posey was too far in front of the plate to accurately gauge Cousins’ position and got into that brainfreeze, deer-in-the-headlights-zone where he didn’t caught the ball or square up for impact. The injury came because Posey’s legs got caught under him. Had he taken the hit blindsided like a quarterback, maybe he gets something else hurt, but his legs don’t snap. If he is in position and squares up, he’s probably fine.
It’s easy to nitpick after the fact. Cousins apologized, the league deemed it a clean play, the world moved on. Except the Giants.
Posey’s agent calls for a rule change immediately to protect catchers. Fine, but this is sort of a bad time to make the case. Here’s guessing that if the non-client catcher for say, the Royals gets the same injury, you aren’t whining and saying the sport needs to be changed. I respect anyone’s belief that we need to revisit a rule, but do it because it’s a rule change, not because your client is hurt as a sophomore in the league and you haven’t gotten to cash in on his eight-figure extension yet that you are now worried he’ll ever get. I feel awful for Posey, hell, I feel awful for the agent, but in the end of the day, the majority of baseball fans know this was a clean hit and there’s no public outcry outside of SF for the rule to change.
This is as ridiculous as Kendry Morales’ agent calling for a rule change banning home run celebrations after his client got hurt. Football may be a quarterbacks’ league and the rules keep changing to accommodate them. Baseball ain’t a catchers league. That’s part of why we revere catchers so much, the under-appreciated field general smart enough to manage a pitching staff and dumb enough to want to catch in the first place. We don’t need a rule change. Buster needed to be in better position and a little luckier. It’s just a tough outcome.
Manager Bruce Bochy bitched about it too and it was clear from seeing the clip he had a hard time saying it out loud. He knows better. He knows it was a clean hit, but he knows fans up there are super sad about this, so he jumped in on it.
“I just think that something should be done here, because now you’ve probably lost the player here for awhile. We lost our best player, but also, a lot of kids go out to watch Buster play — not just here, but everywhere. So it’s a tough one. I just think if something isn’t done, it won’t be long before we’re hearing.”
I love watching Buster play, but basically you are saying “we lost our best player and the fans root for the player, not the team, so change the rules”. I get how an incident can bring a scenario to light. I get discussing the rule change. The fact is, sometimes catchers get clocked and sometimes middle infielders get flipped when a double play is being broken up. I’ve watched it a thousand times. I’m calling BS, Bochy. His big claim was that Cousins had a lane to go for and the hit was unnecessary. Take a peak.
Posey is in front of the plate, turning into the lane for a swipe tag. Given that Posey still is going into the line, that “lane” Bochy is referring to was closing up. Cousins had two choices assuming he didn’t know Posey missed the ball. The first was try to “ole” around him and probably get tagged out or at best, force the umpire to make a favorable call in a heap of bodies. The other was to put a clean hit on the catcher and disrupt the play. It’s hard nosed and he scored the run. These were two top ballclubs and both are competing for the postseason. If this was like, September and the Marlins were 20 games out, I get not hitting someone. That wasn’t the case.
It got worse when GM Brian Sabean chirped yesterday about the situation. I was leaving this alone until this point. I was letting Posey recover and hoping he’s 100 percent on opening day next year. The problem is all the chirping is getting so hypocritical I can’t handle it. If Posey doesn’t get hurt, no one is saying anything. Need proof? Here’s a collision he had in 2008 in the farm leagues (he was in better position, but the throw was from center I think, but regardless, notice how jacked the guy NOT wearing pads gets).
Posey gets up, he’s fine. No one was calling for collision rule changes. The point is, you can’t take things seriously when its coming from a first time winner who loses their star player.
Sabean comes out and blasts Cousins. Here’s some of his rant in which he condemns Cousins over a week after the fact:
“Why not be hard-nosed?” Sabean told the radio station. “If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another game in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy. He chose to be a hero, in my mind, and if that’s his flash of fame, that’s as good as it’s going to get, pal. We’ll have a long memory. Believe me, we’ve talked to Mike Matheny bout how this game works. You can’t be that out-and-out overly aggressive. I’ll put it as politically as I can state it: There’s no love lost and there shouldn’t be.”
Let me be clear. Sabean is saying that they are going to remember this hit on Posey and injure Cousins. This is why Joe Torre has to sit down with Sabean on behalf of MLB and tell him to stop sounding like an amateur. People get hurt in baseball. The guy apologized. Cousins has been getting death threats over this. All of that, apology included, and Sabean still wants blood.
For me as a Dodger fan, this makes me sick. After everything with Bryan Stow, about non-violence and promoting a safer culture, the GM of the SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS is talking about retaliating. Where’s the line get drawn? Does he think a Giant fan should kill a Dodger fan now? Why breed this kind of hatred? I know the Giants offense is weak even with Posey (and as a Dodger fan I know a thing or two about weak offenses), but leave Cousins alone. I think Cousins’ agent nailed it in response to Sabean’s bonehead comments:
“It’s an emotional time for the Giants and I understand Brian’s disappointment, but his opinion is in the vast minority. It’s a play within the rules and I imagine his opinion would be vastly different if Posey ran over (Marlins catcher John) Buckon a legal play and Buck was injured.”
And that is exactly the point. Sabean didn’t bitch when his triple A catcher Buster Posey got railroaded at home plate and got right up. He doesn’t advocate for any other catcher until the same Buster Posey gets hurt in a legal play. Frankly, it wasn’t even that malicious looking. It looked like most collisions at home plate look. It’s just a shame Posey got hurt, and I truly mean that. He seems like a great kid and he’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s just Sabean is a windbag fanning the flames of a disappointed fan base that’s never been there before.
I don’t recall Sabean calling for steroid reform when Barry Bonds was the biggest and most obvious offender of the steroid era. In fact, Sabean got nailed in the Mitchell Report and in a congressional hearing. He’s a homer. He’s a homer and I am calling him out.
The Dodgers had Paul Lo Duca and Eric Gagne caught taking PEDs. We had Manny last year. I mean, let’s be real, everyone turned a blind eye. But Sabean cut his eyes out and denied ever having them. Bonds was obvious to everyone. Period.
In the end, Buster Posey doesn’t deserve this injury. Cousins doesn’t deserve the death threats. Sabean deserves whatever criticism he gets.