Injuries happen. This is why there are insurance policies and why nothing is guaranteed in sports. No win is guaranteed, and no career is.
Scott Cousin’s slide into home that busted up Buster Posey is a part of the game. It was a hard slide, but because the rules call for a tag to be placed on the runner, who is not forced to run, the runner has the right to avoid the tag. If he can slide around it, like Omar Infante did earlier in the season, he would. If he can knock the ball out of the catcher’s grasp, he would.
Yes, the catcher is not equipped to take a hit like a linebacker – but neither is the runner equipped to give a knock out hit like a linebacker either. Scott Cousins was just doing his job and, unfortunately, that isn’t good enough for San Francisco fans, soft-bellied members of the media, and Buster Posey’s nearest and dearest. Then again, this is the risk these guys take when the put on the tools of ignorance.
Peter Rose came out in support of Scott Cousins. That might not be the ringing endorsement most would look for, but it does say something – that maybe modern professional sports has gotten a bit too soft anyway. Sure, concussions are a real danger and have documented long term effects – very often with horrific consequences. The NFL is covering up most of these issues. Yet in this situation, there was no concussion – just a freak twist and pop of the leg. This could happen running down a fly ball in the outfield as it sometimes did on old astroturf fields back in the 80’s.
Whether or not you think athletes are too soft or not is moot. The rules stipulate that a runner must be tagged out when he is not forced to run, and a force play is only in effect when a runner must advance. There is no reason to change the rule not because “this is the way it’s always been done” but because it is the rule. It makes no sense to have a force out at home when the runner doesn’t have to advance. Probably one of the most ridiculous things you heard from the media was calling for a rule change – when clearly, they don’t understand the reason why the game is played this way in the first place.
But Posey had his subdued axe to grind against Cousins, who is being villified and singled out by the media. “I just think a play like that is something that’s got to be looked at by MLB and (the union). I feel fortunate that I’ve just got a torn-up leg. As a catcher you’re left in a very exposed position. You’re trying to catch the ball and the guy is bearing down on you as hard as he can. I feel fortunate not to come away with a neck injury or a spinal injury.” Read more of Posey’s thoughts.
James Harrison plays a violent game and dishes out violent hits routinely. He gets fined by the NFL for it. But he is loaded up with pads and hits guys who play encased in padding in a sport where they expect to get hit. Catchers should expect the same when there is a play at the plate – and do. If Scott Cousins tried to ballet in there, and got tagged out, he would face heat for that but certainly not as much national media attention. The good news for Cousins is, he doesn’t regret the play – and he shouldn’t. It’s a part of the game. Giants fans, you are not a group to talk about excessive force.