Chicago Cubs: Buster Posey
May, 26, 2011
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs catcher Koyie Hill can relate to the plight of the San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey.
Posey was injured during a hard collision at home plate with the Marlins' Scott Cousins on Wednesday night. Cousins lowered a shoulder and hit Posey full force, causing the catcher to go backwards. He is likely out for the season with a fractured bone in his lower left leg.
Cousins chose to dive into Posey rather than slide as he tried to score the winning run in the 12th inning. He was safe, and the Marlins beat the Giants 7-6.
Hill had a nasty collision of his own in 2004 when he broke an ankle that required three screws to be inserted into his foot.
"It's kind of all protected under the same rule," Hill said of Posey's collision. "Unless you see somebody leave their line to the plate to hunt down somebody then I don't think it will fall under that gray area. Only the runner knows in his heart if he could have avoided it or not."
Some, including Posey's agent Jeff Berry, believe a rule change should occur after this latest incident. Berry said he would ask Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre to look into changing the rule regarding blocking home plate.
"Could [Cousins] have slid? Yeah, you can slide on just about every play," Hill said. "But he made up his mind that it's going to be a tough play at home. These are two teams at the top of their division, and they are scratching for every run they can get. The decision he made was to try and knock the ball loose. That's what he went with, that's the way of the road sometimes."
Catchers blocking home plate have always been a part of the game. The Rangers' Josh Hamilton was out for a month after sliding head-first into home earlier this season. The hypocritical part of those calling for rules changes are simply explained. The Giants lost a superstar catcher for an extended period of time after the collision. Do you think anyone would be making this a big story if it was Hill getting wiped out and breaking an ankle again?
Nobody likes to see great young players like Posey get hurt. But plays at home plate are a big part of the game. That's how the game has been played for 135 years.
Cousins could have slid and broken a leg as well. Do you think this would be as big of a story if that happened?