Friday, June 3, 2011

BUSTER-GATE: WHY IS ONE COLLISION GETTING SO MUCH ATTENTION?

On May 25th,  Buster Posey of the San Franciso Giants got
steamrolled by Florida's Scott Cousins at home plate. The
collision left Posey, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, with
a broken ankle, and opened up a big can of controversy.

While watching SportsCenter the next day, I thought Posey
had died or something. They ran breaking news banners
declaring Posey out for the season. His agent called out
MLB to make sweeping changes concerning unecessary and
violent hits on catchers.

Man, I hadn't seen this much attention given to a collison at home
since former Angels pitcher Chuck Finley was attacked with a 5-inch
stilletto by his wife, Tawny Kitaen, the piping hot chick in that "White
Snake" video.

The Buster-Gate controversy hasn't simmered down, in fact, it's
percolating. On Wednesday, Giants GM Brian Sabean,  all but
guaranteed retribution for Cousins. He said that Cousins just
wanted to be a hero and get his "flash of fame".  Meanwhile,
Cousins has been getting death threats and his agent has contacted
MLB security.

In the history of baseball, there have been thousands of violent
collision at home plate. Catchers have been knocked out cold,
(Mike Scoscia was sent onto queer street by Jack Clark in
1985), suffered career-alterating broken bones (Ray Fosse was
never the same player after being plowed by Pete Rose in the
1970 All-Star game, and catchers have had their knees blown
out.

What makes the hit to Posey so controversial and different than
the others? Two nights later, Houston's Humberto Quintero was
barreled over at the plate by Arizona's Ryan Roberts. He had to
leave the game with an injury and had to get x-rays. Yet, nobody
said boo about it. SportsCenter didn't get all lathered up like they
did for Buster Posey and call-in Buster Olney to analyze it.

Did Buster's injury get more coverage because he's the white,
all-american boy who got a season-ending injury? Why didn't
all the so-called experts make a big deal about the hit on Quintero,
a latin player? How come nobody was calling for baseball to
make sweeping changes after Quintero got hurt? Just like a lot
of things in life, it all depends on who it is.

Every catcher who puts on the "tools of ignorance" realizes their
career could end in a collision at home plate, but they also know it's
part of the game. It's not pretty, but catcher's know the inherent
danger that comes with a 220lb man barreling toward home
with a running start, hell bent on separating you from the ball
and sending your butt into the third row of the stands. Nothing is
going to change that. No agent, analyst, or asshole with a law
degree is going to force MLB to institute a rule protecting the
catcher.

As for Cousins, it hardly seems fair that he has to take such
abuse. Succeeding at baseball is hard enough, trying to do it
with death threats is darn near impossible. Every manager
and coach preaches to their players to give it 100 percent and
play hard-nosed baseball. Cousins was doing that and trying
to win a game. Now he's getting crucified for it? Ryan Roberts
runs over Quintero, and he's applauded for going all out. That's
right, it all depends on who it is.

It's time for MLB to put a sock in Sabean's mouth so the Giants
GM won't throw more gasoline on the fire. No baseball executive
wants to lose a valuable player like Posey, but it happens ALL
the time. Dealing with adversity and challenges like trying to
find replacements for an all-star catcher is part of the game,
just like home plate collisions. The Giants need to deal with
it and move on. Buster's not coming back this year.

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