Unsafe at home? Giants weigh in on Posey collision

Florida Marlins' Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins was safe for the go ahead run and Florida won 7-6. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
May 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Wednesday night's San Francisco Giants game against the Florida Marlins at AT&T Park culminated in a horrendous collision at home plate that left star catcher Buster Posey writhing in pain with a broken leg and torn ligaments. Now everyone's asking, "Was it clean?"

Through the highs and lows of 162 games, the numbers have their say. And then we get the occasional anomaly. This would be one of those.

If it were any other player on any other team, baseball might not be buzzing. But this was Posey, last season's National League Rookie of the Year, a World Series champion and a hero in San Francisco.

Some replays have higher profiles than others, and Posey versus Scott Cousins is destined to become one of them? and the stuff of controversy, just the same.

"The idea of this game of baseball is to score runs," said baseball analyst Marty Lurie. "Home plate is sacred."

Posey is finished for the season with a broken left leg and ligament damage. When the play in viewed in ultra slow motion, you can see what contributed. Posey in position, a good throw that appeared to take a bad, low hop, bouncing off a shin guard. Posey blocking the plate, with no ball in his hand, defensive, and also defenseless.

Dr. Victor Prieto, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine at St. Francisc Hospital, thinks Posey's injury had a lot to do with the position he was in when he was hit.

"What will happen is two forces hitting, and when he, the runner, collided into Buster, by looking at the video, his foot was obviously planted and he began to spin around his foot and ankle that was firmly planted in the ground," said Prieto.

Prieto says the leg apparently twisted the wrong way, tearing the ligaments and forcing the bone to pull apart and break.

Thursday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters he would like to see a rule change protecting catchers.

"Well, I think there are so many catchers that got hurt at home plate, missed a lot of time, shortened their career, or even ended their career," said Bochy. "And the way guys are coming in now, maybe we need to consider it."

Purists say that collisions are a part of baseball. When Pete Rose laid out Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star game, that was controversial, too. But baseball players police themselves. What was seen Wednesday night was country hardball -- a good man down and couple of teams playing on.

"I don't think it was a malicious act," said Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt. "Cousins, I heard he didn't sleep very well. That's great. In some ways that means he's a good guy. He's got emotion."

Some leagues have different rules, notably high school and college leagues. There if an umpire deems that a player charging the plate is too rough or malicious, he disallow the runner or even eject the player.

There has also been talk now about changing the Major League Baseball rules completely and not allowing a head first slide. Purists say that would be sacrilege.


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