Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Updated: June 1, 11:23 AM ET
Billy Beane issues home plate directive
By Buster Olney
ESPN The Magazine
Oakland general manager Billy Beane became the first MLB executive to issue a directive to a catcher on his team in the aftermath of the home-plate collision that ended the season of Giants catcher Buster Posey.
Beane told A's catcher Kurt Suzuki he wanted him to avoid putting himself in harm's way.
"I said to him, 'I don't want you planting yourself in front of the plate waiting to get creamed. You're an athletic catcher -- be athletic,' " Beane told ESPN.
"I don't subscribe to the theory you should be a crash-test dummy," Beane said he told Suzuki. "I don't want to lose you for six months."
Beane said he joked with Suzuki that he can only think of a couple runs in major league history that would make it worth taking such a risk.
The directive, which Beane shared with A's manager Bob Geren, takes the onus off Suzuki, who will now not have to worry about criticism if he steps to the side and opts for a sweep tag.
There have been similar discussions in other organizations that have not yet been made public, according to major league sources.
As for any potential rules changes to protect catchers, which have been suggested by some after the Posey injury, an MLB source said there haven't been a lot of conversations in the league office, but that the Giants today reached out to discuss their ideas.
Senior writer Buster Olney covers Major League Baseball for ESPN The Magazine.