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The Giants told Buster Posey to stop blocking the plate

Feb 20, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

posey catching Getty Images

Buster Posey says he wasn’t exactly blocking the plate last year when Scott Cousins ran into him, breaking Posey’s ankle and ending his season.  It kinda looked like he was poised to — and he was close enough to doing it to where it didn’t matter — but he says he wasn’t blocking the plate. OK.

But no matter what he was doing, the Giants have reiterated their desire to have Posey avoid coming even close. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com:

Bruce Bochy has forbidden Buster Posey from blocking the plate. The Giants’ manager confirmed it on Sunday, and much will be made of that decision. But here is one more vital scrap of information: Posey was under the same order the night that Florida’s Scott Cousins speared him like a tackling dummy.

Bochy and other Giants officials had sat down Posey for that “let’s be smart about this” conversation 10 months before the May 25 game in which he sustained three ripped ankle ligaments and a fractured bone in his leg.

So this year I guess it’s a “let’s be smarter about this” conversation. A “seriously, dude, swipe tags from four feet or else we’re taking away your mask” kind of talk. A “don’t get any closer to the runner than you did to actually being safe on that steal attempt in the 2010 NLDS but were called safe anyway” talk.

This will bug the old school purist types who love to see collisions at the plate, but if I were a manager I’d make it a standing order to all of my catchers, whether they were offensive assets like Posey or simply regular old catchers.  One run is never worth a big injury to a catcher. Look around the league and see how few decent ones there are and you’ll know why. They’re valuable.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    I’m sure a few aggressive baserunners in the NL appreciate this information.

  2. hpt150 - Feb 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Posey did the worst thing – he set himself without blocking the plate and really without the ball. Gotta stay mobile in case the runner gets there before the ball. Like Cousins did.

  3. Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    If Lil’ Buster is so frangible, why not move him to first and go out and find one o’ them ole fashioned brick shithouses with a howitzer arm to catch?

    • stex52 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM

      Raising again the age-old question: If your catcher is your best offensive asset, do you really want him catching? There are exceptions – most of those exceptions are HOF’ers – but generally you need that catcher for his other skills. Call a good game and keep your pitchers out of the ditch; be able to throw a bullet to second base; minimize the passed balls and cover the WP’s; field the bunts; have the skill and strength to make a runner pay the price for coming into home; hit .230 with just a little power. Any guy who can just do those things will win you a lot more games than he will lose. Over the past ten years Brad Ausmus and Mike Metheny come to mind immediately.

      • stex52 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        “Matheny” Typo. I think people may be surprised by his talents as a manager.

      • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        Glad you corrected that. I was about to ask you whether he was half as good a jazz guitarist as his older brother.

  4. Walk - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Catching is or was new to him recently having started at short for a year in college and shifting positions some time after that, i feel bad for him but knowing that an injury like that was bound to happen sooner rather than later. On the bright side if they do move him to another position one day it should not take long to get him game ready.

  5. rollinghighwayblues - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    With the topic of home plate collisions coming up and Mike Cameron retiming a couple days ago, this video says it all. Maybe my my favorite clip.

  6. cur68 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    There’s not much a catcher can do when the runner is intent on trucking him, not heading for the plate. Cousins had Posey lined up for that hit. Posey, without the ball, really gave Cousins a 50/50 option:”Me or the plate” as he was so close to it, but there was a clear lane to the plate. I guess, from now on that throw in needs to be on a dime to the 1st base side of the plate and the catcher needs to catch the ball on the grass, up the base line, just to make it in no doubt that the plate is the better option. Might as well eat the ball and concede the run in the outfield, then. Perhaps runners need to be told that trucking the catcher is not the best option? Better off taking the lane to the plate when there is one.

    • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      Watch the video again, old bean. Cousins is heading for the plate. At the last second Posey actually pivots a bit to his left – still without the ball – and directly into the path of Cousins, blocking the lane. Maybe he just figured that with a batting title out of reach, he’d settle for a purple heart.

      • cur68 - Feb 20, 2012 at 5:05 PM

        Oh no you don’t. I’m not being drawn into THIS argument again, not with you, at any rate. I see something different than you. I’m not changing my mind. I’m not trying to change your mind. I accept that in any exchange to these ends that I will lose under a barrage of language skillz and that I’m better off woo-ing internet babes rather than running for thesauri every 2 minutes.
        All I have to say is that long before any conversation needs to be had with Posey and his catching cousins (swidt?), there needs to be one with those charging home from 3rd: to wit, go for the plate, not the man, even if the plate is being blocked. Careers are short enough as it is and too many good young guys go down with injuries on these collisions: its not worth it in a regular season game. I’ll reconsider this stance for the playoffs, of course.

      • rhandome - Feb 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

        Yeah, sorry, but you’re just wrong, Gator. There was a clear path to the plate and Cousins chose to hit Posey. Google Image Search will lead you to some photos that show this pretty clearly. And yes I am sick of this debate too.

      • Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 8:40 PM

        I love this debate. The nausea it engenders works great when you get a walnut stuck in your throat.

        Anyway, Johnny Bench agrees with me. I’ll take it.

  7. randygnyc - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    That run was meaningless, in the scheme of things. Quite a few catchers got their bell rung last year. Cervelli come to mind, too. Know your limitations.

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