When Joe Mauer hit the disabled list with bilateral leg weakness, some took it as a warning sign for other star catchers to reconsider their fielding positions, since catchers tend to get hurt more often than others. Managers should do all they can to keep their heavy hitters in the lineup, the reasoning goes. As the San Francisco Giants approach their future star, Buster Posey, "it can't really hurt to be a little cautious when it comes to a catcher with tons of potential," said Will Brinson at NBC Bay Area earlier this month.
Yet, as the San Francisco Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins reported then, "The Giants have no plans to move Posey off the catcher's position, nor would he hear of such a thing." But maybe they should have -- Posey was knocked out by a home-plate collision this week that resulted in a broken leg that will likely sideline him for the remainder of the season. Posey's agent reportedly complained to Major League Baseball and the Players Association about the incident, and wishes to change the rules about home plate collisions. Here's a roundup of what baseball bloggers and columnists have to say:
Just part of the game: "Had the victim been Eli Whiteside, the rules would be fine. He is fungible. Buster Posey isn't," says Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports. That's why people are talking about it, not because it was a dirty play (it wasn't.) Eight years ago in the playoffs we saw a similar play, but in that case the catcher held onto the ball. "People celebrated the play. It was good, clean, hard-nosed -- the same as Wednesday night's. The same as baseball should be."
Catchers should stay catchers, regardless: "Catchers understand that there are plays they must make that could jeopardize their careers," says Nick Cafardo in The Boston Globe. "Mauer and Posey are players fans love watching," partially because they are catchers. "When incidents such as the Cousins-Posey collision happen, there will always be discussion. Is it worth the risk of having him catch? Yes it is."
And they're so valuable because of it: "The offense provided by Mauer and Posey isn't near as valuable at a different position," says Matt Snyder at CBS Sports. "They are elite sluggers when their peers are the other catchers in baseball." That's why teams are so resistant to moving the players' positions.
But why risk it? "The catcher position is one of the most grueling positions in all of sports because of the wear and tear that his put on the athlete's knees," says Austin Miller at KentSterling.com. It doesn't make sense then "to risk one of your top players to be put in the position of being a tackling dummy at least once or twice a season." Be smart and field him elsewhere instead.
This one was particularly dangerous: Posey was a dead duck, says La Velle E. Neal III in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, because "Cousins leaned to his left, raised his forearm and clobbered Posey...In this case, Cousins should be subject to a fine or suspension." It's time to think about players' health. "Catchers should not be subject to such collisions. Especially when concussion awareness is at an all-time high in sports." Let Cousins be an example.
It's time to change the rules: Why should catchers "have to stand in and take hits that no other player on the field has to take?" asks Dave Cameron at FanGraphs. "It's not good for anyone that these guys end up on the disabled list because they were trying to hold their ground. Just change the rules and make intentional contact with a catcher illegal, and make it illegal for catcher's to impede the baserunner's ability to run directly towards home plate. It's a simple fix to a real problem, and there's no reason why we should continue to delay making this change."