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Scott Cousins feels bad about Buster Posey’s injury

May 26, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT


Scott Cousins — the man who flattened Buster — spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle earlier today. The upshot: he does not regret the play, which he thought was a clean, albeit hard-nosed play.  He does, however, regret that Posey was hurt and, of course, never intended to hurt him:

I committed to it. I went in there hard. My instinct was just to check and make sure everyone was OK. I wanted to be a good sportsman about it. It is part of the game, but it’s a hard-nosed part of the game. You can’t change it, but you certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt. I wanted to knock the ball clean out of his glove, but I certainly didn’t want him to get hurt.”

This of course has led to a lot of “sure, you feel bad, but not as bad as Posey does” talk from both Giants fans and even from Bruce Bochy in an article I saw earlier this afternoon.  Which I suppose is understandable. As the comments in the earlier Posey posts at HBT illustrate, there is a lot of varying sentiment about it. As far as I can tell the consensus is yeah, it was a legal play, and one we see a lot of in baseball, but Cousins attack vector may not have been advisable or necessary.

I still can’t shake one notion, however. The notion that if Cousins had held up short or taken a less-than-aggressive path to the plate and been called out, that a lot of people would be on him today for not going hard and giving that proverbial 110%.

  1. Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Any other “attack vector” misses the plate, and it’s Cousins’ job to get to the plate, not slightly to the right of it. But you’re dead right about one thing, Craig – he pulls up or moves right to avoid the collision and gets tagged out, there’d’ve been a cacaphony of “wussy” calls going up this morning.

    • cur68 - May 26, 2011 at 4:13 PM

      >deep sigh< I fear you are right Gator. Huge outcry about Cousins being a wimp if heed slid wide, esp if called out. Impossible to know now.

      Still in my mind better to not risk the injury, try and avoid the tag, and still have the same chance of being safe/out. Man's got a career to think of, don't he?

      • drmonkeyarmy - May 26, 2011 at 4:24 PM

        Cur68 is right on the mark with his comments about this. No reason to hammer Posey in that situation. The plate was wide open. It was only marginally more called for then Morgan from last year.

      • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 5:29 PM

        If you think the plate was wide open, I can refer you to the optical surgeon who lasered my cataracts into the forbidden zone.

        On the other hand, my boreal buddy, if I had read that Dick Cheney approved Cousins’ maneuver, I’d probably be calling for his suspension now.

      • drmonkeyarmy - May 26, 2011 at 6:02 PM

        Yeah, wide open was a bit much on my part. There was room for him to hook slide though.

      • cur68 - May 26, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        I like monkeyarmy on this one Gator. Hook slide and he’s as likely safe or out as if he steam rolls the kid minus anybody getting hurt

      • curr68 - May 26, 2011 at 9:07 PM

        I am a perfect hybrid of halladaysbicepts and Niles Crane

    • heynerdlinger - May 26, 2011 at 5:23 PM

      I disagree that any other attack vector misses the plate. From the stills and the video, it seems clear to me that Posey was not in the baseline as he attempted to field the ball. Cousins had a path to the plate and he ignored it.

      Were Posey actually standing in the baseline, I think contact is warranted. Regardless whether that was the case here, it shouldn’t give the runner carte blanche to use any level of force. I don’t care how the umps call it, or what the coaches think about it, or what some jackass in the bleachers will scream at the guy, a concussion is an almost certainty with a hit like that and there shouldn’t be a place for that in baseball.

      • graveyard24 - May 26, 2011 at 10:48 PM

        you guys need to see the reply from the camera on top, cousins hits posey 2-3 feet in fair territory in front of the plate and on poseys right shoulder the farthest from the plate….he wasnt not blocking the plate. If you look at the still at the time of collision, there’s a foot or 2 of space between the two guys and the plate. im all for bowling over the catcher if hes blocking, but cousins goes out of his way 4 feet to the left of the plate to hit posey. of course its a clean play because there are no rules against it..but hitting a sitting duck in front of the plate (not blocking) aint cool

  2. Jonny 5 - May 26, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    I didn’t like the hit. Cousins went out of his way to hit him like a linebacker. Sure it may be allowed, but I still don’t have to like it. There was plenty of room to slide in safe.

  3. woodenulykteneau - May 26, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    We’ll see how feels after he gets hit tonight in his first at-bat

    • woodenulykteneau - May 26, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      My bad. He’s hiding on the bench.

      • addictedzone - May 26, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        Your bias is showing. If you did a little research you’d know Cousins hasn’t started a game all month. He’s used as a defensive replacement, a pinch hitter, or a pinch runner.

      • mcs7584 - May 26, 2011 at 5:23 PM

        I’m sure there are a couple of other prime targets in the lineup. Hey, it’s just part of the game, right?

    • ignorantwretch - May 26, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      “He’s used as a defensive replacement, a pinch hitter, or a pinch runner.”

      Well, those of us not well acquainted with the the guys on the end of the Marlin’s bench know who he is now………

  4. spindervish - May 26, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    This may be the stupidest part of baseball anyway. This is not a contact sport. Why the hell is bowling a catcher over to knock the ball out legal? Why, then, can one not do the same at second or third? You’re trying to steal, the throw beats you…just lay the defender out and the ball goes flying. Problem solved.

    It’s horseshit I tell you. If the throw home beats the runner, he’s out, end of story (once he’s tagged, of course). How did anything else even come to be the case?

    • jeffbbf - May 26, 2011 at 6:34 PM

      Runners bowl over catchers because the catcher is allowed to block the plate – in front of the plate. Plays at 2nd and 3rd are completely different – infielders do not block the base. And, of course, you can’t run through 2nd or 3rd.

      • spindervish - May 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM

        Of course you can run through 2nd or 3rd. You’ll be tagged out, but if you level the defender and the ball goes flying as in my little hypothetical there, I’m sure you’d have plenty of time to get back to the bag.

      • apexofkryptos - May 27, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        jeffbbf is right.

        The fact catchers can, and in fact do, block the plate is the difference. Infielders can’t block a base.

        Get your head on straight spindervish.

    • misterkase - May 27, 2011 at 3:12 PM

      Pete Rose ending Fosse’s career in an utterly meaningless All Star game. Rose should have been hanged by his testicles. The fact that he wasn’t, because it made for good TV; it opened the flood gates.

      Watch the video…

  5. ironschef - May 26, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    So here are my two brief points on this:
    1. Cousing did absolutely nothing wrong – it was a clean, hard, legal, play and it was obvious that he was not malicious in any way.
    2. Posey actually needs to take some of the blame here himself because – a. he blocked the plate without the ball, and b. he set up in the basepath on his knees with the tops of his feet along the ground. If he was in a similar position, but up on the balls of his feet, his backward motion after the inevitable hit would have not busted his ankle.

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 5:31 PM

      Thanks for actually looking at the play.

      • paperlions - May 26, 2011 at 5:45 PM

        If you would watch it without the homer glasses, you would notice him change direction and run over Posey who was not between him and the plate plate. Cousins hit him in the right shoulder (the one farthest from the plate) with his own right shoulder in a kind of cross body block. If you would freeze the video at the time of impact, you can see the ball bouncing on the ground between Posey and Cousins, you will see Posey’s left foot (the one closest to the plate) completely in fair territory, Posey isn’t even in the batters box. He is about 2 feet in front of the plate. There wasn’t just a little room for Cousins to score cleanly, there was a lot. There was also a lot of room for him to take a different approach to the plate in terms of vector and altitude.

      • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 5:55 PM

        I don’t wear homer glasses – the Slinkys between the frames and the plastic eyeballs make it difficult to drive, especially when the eyeballs are bouncing up and down out of synch, and the Palmetto Expressway is dangerous enough with all those crazy drivers from the large unnamed island ninety a hundred miles or so south of Macondo. Posey is clearly moving towards his left and is in fact across the front of the plate – without the ball, mind you – at the time of contact. You could wear convex lenses that inverted the play, but then the plate would be on his right and you’d have exactly the same situation in reverse.

      • ironschef - May 26, 2011 at 5:57 PM

        paperlions – with respect to your “homer glasses” comment… I am a long time Mets fan (and not embarassed to admit it), I would have liked nothing more than to see BOTH teams lose!!

      • jeffbbf - May 26, 2011 at 6:42 PM

        paperlions – what you, and everyone who thinks Cousins’ actions were dirty, just don’t see is that the 3rd base line runs on the very outside edge of home plate. Runners coming down the line aren’t following the line, they are eying the middle of the plate. Follow Cousins and his line of sight. Posey’s leg/foot are squarely between Cousins and the middle of the plate. Posey’s positioning forced Cousins into 1 of 2 decisions: 1) go through him to get to the plate; or 2) change direction to the outside, and try a hook slide or slide head first and try to reach the plate with his hand – with either one of those slides a runner just has to hope that the catcher doesn’t stick his leg out further, which is either going to probably do damage to the runner’s leg or arm. Remember Josh Hamilton?

  6. granted42 - May 26, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    As a long time giants fan, I have to say there was nothing wrong with the play, other than Posey’s injury. Cousins did what most players who want to stay in the Majors would have done. It’s easy to sit here after more than 12 hours and many viewings of the play and say he could have done this or that. In the heat of the moment he made a decision based on the immediate situation. Had Posey caught the ball, he most likely would have tagged Cousins out. Most players, including those on the Giants (especially the one who threw the ball from the outfield,) would have run into the catcher in an attempt to knock the ball to the ground.

    Yeah, it sucks my team just lost its starting catcher for the year, but that’s a part of the game. They had relatively few injuries last year, which was one reason they went the distance, but it stinks that this year (with the obvious exception of Zito,) it’s only the ones who are producing that seem to be on the DL.

  7. rendezvuu - May 26, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Unprofessional like conduct, worst i’ve ever seen. I hope scott cousin’s gets fined and banned from MLB.

    I’m really angry and want to say a whole lot more, but I don’t want to be brought down to a lower level which obviously cousin’s is on.

    Posey, I hope you recover and get well soon.

    Go Giants!

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 5:32 PM

      Ah, a Giants fan. Nothing like a dispassionate analysis with lots of stats and visual referents to back him up.

      • paperlions - May 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

        Says the man wearing thick homer glasses (but I do agree with you here)

    • gdzombies - May 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

      Whoa, whoa, whoa. You sound Stephen A. Smith, Posey’s agent, and Rush Limbaugh rolled into one. Jayzuz, get off your high horse. Now if one of the Giants had flattened the Marlins catcher you’d be dancing naked down Market St. with joy you filthy hypocrite.

  8. paolodapaesan - May 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    This is no different than a flagrant foul in Basketball, or spearing/leading with the helmet in Football. Cousins should be suspended and fined.

    • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 7:20 PM

      The only difference between this play and a flagrant foul in basketball is a minor one – this isn’t basketball and there’s no flagrant foul in baseball. Aside from that, there’s not much wrong with your analogy.

      • paolodapaesan - May 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM

        I agree, no rule in baseball to prevent unnecessary violence ending promising players careers. Great for MLB….. (heavy sarcasm intended)

  9. woohooey - May 26, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    The play at the plate is more in the line of baseball ‘tradition’ really…sort of like understood bean ball retaliations, etc. It is in the baseball obstruction rules that you cannot block a base without the ball. And it’s in the rules that a runner can’t intentionally hit a fielder in an attempt to dislodge the ball. But umps have always let catchers block the plate early, just like they then inevitably have to let the runner wax him…because the guy is blocking the base! So now catchers are expected to block the plate..and the runner is expected to bull through him. Posey’s leg was stretched over there where it shouldn’t have been..because catchers are supposed to block the plate. They are taught to do it, told to do it, expected to do it. Sort of like taking out an infielder turning a double play. Cousins is coming in fully expecting to have to plow Posey, as any baseball player has in his mind when he knows it’s going to be a close play at home.

    Maybe it became somehow easier to allow because catchers wear armor..who knows. You will occasionally see it on the bases, but it’s more rare…I’ve seen a second baseman sometimes drop his leg down before he gets the catcher’s throw when he knows a base stealer will go in head first, and the ump actually calls the runner out if he doesn’t get to the base, just like happens at home plate all the time. Shouldn’t be allowed. By rule the runner should automatically be called safe if the player blocks the path to the base without the ball. And runner should be called out if he bashes into a fielder in an attempt to dislodge the ball. So, technically, it wasn’t a ‘legal’ play at all, hard-nosed or otherwise…it’s actually illegal, technically speaking. It’s just that the umps are basically saying two wrongs make a right. One of those things allowed so long that it’s become ‘part of the game.’ It’s very weird really, and asking for trouble. This actually wasn’t even that violent compared to many I’ve seen. People can seriously get messed up in those collisions, and it’s easily and instantly avoidable if umps just enforced the rules. But maybe baseball doesn’t want to seem wussy or something and take away the contact element altogether?

    Posey’s metal cleats were probably the true villain in this one..those things cause more injuries. Cost me an ankle in my playing days also…they just don’t like to let go when your body’s going the wrong way! That and Posey dropping the see that split second of distraction as he sort of looks down for the ball as the runner arrives, with that leg all stretched out to get in blocking position. Heck, the guy was insane to be trying to tag on that shallow of a fly anyway! :) Even with the offline throw, he’s out by a mile if Posey hangs onto the ball.
    Good luck Buster P…heal quick!

  10. blondeaudiobaton - May 26, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    there are a lot of weird comments being made.

    at any rate, any rational human being can see that the collision was inappropriate and something only an idiot would do. buster posey assumed the typical position to prepare for the tag when scott cousins quite obviously strayed from his course in order to tackle him. scott cousins could have slid safely onto the plate because posey had dropped the ball before the hit. if posey had held onto the ball, scott cousins would have been out so he gained absolutely nothing from doing what he did. it wasn’t a smart or gutsy move but a counterintuitive one.

    • Old Gator - May 27, 2011 at 12:54 AM

      You people who keep calling for Cousins to slide clearly have no functional idea about either spinal anatomy or baserunning strategy. A baserunner heading for second or third is prepared to slide and adjusting his posture in advance of reaching the base because he has to stop at the base and the slide is the most appropriate way of doing that. A runner heading for home has to cross the base and so angles his body forward because that gives him the most momentum for beating the play and, if necessary, knocking over the catcher. The runner in Cousins’ position is simply not set up, physically, for readjusting his posture, especially his lower and middle back, in time to slide on a close play like that. And frankly, if you study the play, you’ll see that Cousins might have done at least as much damage to Posey’s leg, if not more, if he had slid while Posey’s left leg remained where it was. Sorry – this play worked out the only way it could have given the way Posey set himself up and how hard Cousins had to run through the area of the plate given how short the fly ball was in the first place.

      • graveyard24 - May 27, 2011 at 10:33 PM

        watch this then repost

        Posey gave him the plate. Cousins hits Posey 3-4 feet to the left of home plate in fair territory. I strongly disagree that if cousins tried for the plate posey would have been hurt as well…not even close

  11. danberman4 - May 26, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    It was a clean play. Some are calling for rules to protect catchers. I lean against the idea, but it’s an interesting debate.

    • graveyard24 - May 27, 2011 at 10:27 PM

      watch this and tell me this is a ‘clean’ play:

  12. cup0pizza - May 27, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    Lot of people here need to learn baseball. Not you, gator. Clean play and just a bunch of Giants homers whining.

    • woohooey - May 27, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      actually the more one ‘learns baseball,’ the more the play at plate seems a contrivance. Not legal. Not clean. Point out in the rules where it’s allowed? I can point out specifically where it is not allowed. This is lazy umpiring. I played competitive baseball all the way through college, and know baseball as well as most…some of these contrivances and selectiveness never made sense..and now it’s just considered by the average fan to be normal. I never once went into home without at least some thought I might have to take the catcher out. Yet I never thought that once going into second or third. Why? Think about it. Don’t just say ‘that’s how it is.’ That’s ignorant. An even better question, is why do so many people enjoy these potential collisions? Do they also like those ‘awesome hits’ of an exposed player by the NFL safety, who then prances over the blindsided heap? Is there just not an MMA fight on tv that night?
      We can see it other places, like the taking out of the infielder turning a DP..too much leniency in the rules there…barrel rolls or cleats at waist level and whatnot. Who the heck slides like that otherwise? Hard-nosed baseball my arse. So then the umps also have to allow for ghost touches of second by the infielder, because hey, he has to protect himself, doesn’t he? More two wrongs make a right. Just enforce the rules. If you love a sport, you never want selective enforcement of rules. If I’m going to be out at third, I don’t get to slobberknock the 3rd baseman into the stands just in hopes he might drop it. Pretty soon pinch runners wouldn’t be out there for speed as much as they’d be enforcers. Especially if that’s a really good player over there…well then we can just try to take an extra base sometimes so we can ring his bell a bit. Why not. And hey, then we can have potentially have several bench clearing brawls in a game also, right? Oh wait, that’s hockey. There are other sports if you want that kind of action. Baseball just doesn’t allow for it in its rules. Baseball is one of the few sports to have full-time refs/umps…so why are they allowed to be so lazy out there doing their job?
      These random interference enforcements are one of the dumbest things in baseball. Right up there with balks. But that’s a different topic…
      Hey, the Posey hit was no more or less violent than most plays at the plate…sure, the hit was involved in the injury, but so was a lot of bad luck. It’s not a Giants thing, or a young super star thing….it’s always been stupid. What’s it going to take though before it gets changed? A spinal injury? A coma? Too many things wait for some tragedy-level occurrence before they take notice. The catcher doesn’t deserve to be a human pinata just because he wears a funny looking glove. And just because a catcher wears shin guards, doesn’t mean he gets to set up a wall.

  13. leftywildcat - May 30, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    It’s not football! A full speed shoulder hit at the plate is interference or unnecessary roughness or whatever you want to call it. For Cousins to not regret the play is a travesty to the game. He should be suspended from the game until Posey is 100% recovered from his injuries. So should anyone else doing the same thing. Posey may or may not still have a great career ahead of him. Cousins won’t or shouldn’t; from being brushed back so very many times in the future that it affects his performance.

  14. thefuture743 - Jun 4, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    If one of the more pure contact sports out there (football) now penalizes players for allegedly dirty hits I am confused as to why this is permitted in baseball at all. I couldn’t care less about the marlins or the giants as I am a fan of neither (however I do feel bad for poseys season ending injury) but the fact of the matter is that this was 100% a dirty play. Obviously not everyone is going to agree with that fact but it is a fact. Plain and simple.

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