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The Athletics tell Kurt Suzuki to avoid collisions

Jun 1, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Suzuki_Kurt

Buster Olney reports that Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane has told catcher Kurt Suzuki that he should avoid collisions at home plate, telling Suzuki:  “I don’t subscribe to the theory you should be a crash-test dummy … I don’t want to lose you for six months.”

Seems smart, because if you just leave it up to catchers, the pressure to take that hit — a pressure that has built up over the course of the last, oh, 150 years of baseball history — would likely be too great.  With the GM going on the record about this — and telling ESPN about it — there is no chance anyone criticizes Suzuki if he does the wise thing and stands to the side as a baserunner barrels down on him.

  1. trevorb06 - Jun 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    This is a very honorble stance on Mr. Beane. I’d like to see him take it one step further and tell his baserunners to try to slide into home instead of ramming the opposing catcher if that option is available. This would be a lot more honorable. Regardless, I hope more GMs take this same stance. I’d rather keep my catcher for the season than lose him over one run… but then again I root for Minnesota and the scrap we’re trotting out behind the dish (or the rest of the field for that matter) has left me numb. Go Indians… Go Indians…

    • aceshigh11 - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      It is honorable, but so long as it is possible to score a run by dislodging the ball from a catcher’s glove through collision to avoid being tagged, won’t it continue to be an integral part of the game?

      • trevorb06 - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        That is why I said, “try to slide into home instead of ramming the opposing catcher if that option is available.” Therefore if its also possible to score a run by sliding into home I’d rather my batter do that instead of railroading the cather.

        Great moments in reading.

  2. cur68 - Jun 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Nice. Glad he did this. Takes the weight off the kid. Frankly, not being a tackling dummy for the likes of Prince Fielder should be SOP for all MLB catchers. They get paid millions, are a unique skill set, hard to replace, and take a big enough beating as it is without serving as wall for some lummox to hit.

  3. mjaugelli - Jun 1, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    “Seems smart, because if you just leave it up to catchers, the pressure to take that hit — a pressure that has built up over the course of the last, oh, 150 years of baseball history — would likely be too great. With the GM going on the record about this — and telling ESPN about it — there is no chance anyone criticizes Suzuki if he does the wise thing and stands to the side as a baserunner barrels down on him.”

    I disagree with what you’re saying Craig. I don’t think any public statement like this, be it from a manager, GM, or even an owner, will absolve a ballplayer’s desire to help the team at all costs. Its part of our culture that we don’t back down from a challenge. This is even more the case in professional athletes. I don’t anticipate Suzuki catching a ball as a runner comes barreling down the third baseline and “O’le”-ing him to try and save a run. And if he did, I’m sure he would be criticized, even with the statement Beane made.

    Its a nice attempt, but I don’t anticipate it changing anything for Suzuki.

    • atribecalledquestec - Jun 1, 2011 at 1:39 PM

      The instinct might be for the catcher to block the plate and help the team at all costs. But the long-term injury that may result is clearly NOT helping the team, and I think that’s the point Billy Beane was trying to make.

      I would say that preventing injury from a pointless collision would be worth fan/media criticism for the starting catcher, especially upon a directive from team management.

  4. superpriebe - Jun 1, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Boy, thanks a lot, Buster Posey. I remember the good old days, when a baserunner could go out of his way to maul a defensive player who wasn’t remotely blocking the basepath and the internet wouldn’t light up with a million essays on how things should change so as to avoid superfluous injuries (even though said essays were rooted in reason and humanity).

    You know, way back in April. Absolutely no uproar about the injury to Tsuyoshi Nishioka and the silliness that goes on around second base in the interest of breaking up a double play. I guess since Nishioka ‘only’ broke his leg, it isn’t as big of a deal. It’s a more common play, but the defensive player is just as vulnerable and isn’t semi-covered in armor.

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