Blog Entry

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 9:11 pm
OK, we get it. The Giants are upset that they lost their young catcher and cleanup hitter.

No one who likes baseball should be happy that Buster Posey got hurt.

And yet the discussion about what to do about plays at the plate is one that is absolutely worth having. Some people say that we wouldn't be talking about it if this were Eli Whiteside instead of Buster Posey, but that's irrelevant, because this is something we should be talking about.

But it's time to talk about it calmly. It's time to get over the emotion of the moment.

That's what Joe Torre needed to remind Giants general manager Brian Sabean, after Sabean's radio tirade Thursday. And that, according to sources, is exactly what Torre was expected to tell Sabean, when they spoke Friday.

After Sabean spoke with Torre, in Torre's new role as baseball's executive vice president, the Giants issued a statement saying that their general manager had spoken out of frustration, and also that Sabean was trying to reach Cousins to speak with him.

The frustration is understandable. And Sabean is an emotional guy. Baseball could use more colorful GMs like him.

But baseball doesn't need GMs issuing veiled threats to players on other teams.

"If I never hear from [Scott] Cousins again, or he doesn't play another day in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy," Sabean said Thursday on KNBR, the Giants' flagship radio station.

He also said that the Giants will have a "long memory."

Meanwhile, according to Jim Bowden on Twitter, Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison said Friday that Sabean's comments were "ignorant and inappropriate," and "immature and unprofessional," in an appearance on MLB Network Radio.

But it's not just Sabean. Earlier this week, while covering the Giants' series in St. Louis, New York Times writer Tyler Kepner suggested on Twitter that "spending two days around the Giants, I get the strong sense that I would not want to be Scott Cousins the next time those teams play."

Again, we get it. The Giants are upset. But focusing on how angry they are does them -- and us -- no good.

What we do need, over the next few months, is a reasoned discussion of the best way to protect catchers.

A few things to keep in mind:

-- Plays at the plate are totally different from plays at other bases. Tony La Russa compared it to plays at first base, but those are almost always force plays and plays at the plate (especially those involving collisions) almost never are. Others have compared it to plays at second base, but the second baseman or shortstop never stands in between the baserunner and the base.

-- If you want to totally eliminate collisions, you'd also need to totally bar catchers from blocking the plate (or even standing in the baseline in front of the plate). There seems little sentiment for that drastic a change.

-- Yes, Cousins could have avoided the collision. But even with many of the rules changes proposed, there's a real chance he wouldn't have been called out, because Posey was close enough for the plate for the runner to assume that the catcher would be in the way.

-- One reason Posey was hurt was that he put himself in the worst possible position -- on his knees.

-- Teaching catchers to make swipe tags and avoid collisions isn't really a solution, because that's exactly what the Giants taught Posey.

-- The real danger of blocking the plate may not be a horrific ankle injury like Posey's. As we learn more about concussions, you wonder if catchers blocking the plate in the traditional way (and falling backwards and potentially hitting their heads) are in even greater long-term danger.

-- The Giants have run into plenty of catchers themselves, most notably when J.T. Snow did it while making the last out of the 2003 Division Series against the Marlins. Of course, in that case, catcher Pudge Rodriguez had the ball, held onto it, and wasn't hurt.

It's a hugely complex issue. It's a discussion well worth having.

And, as much as possible, it's time to take all the heated emotions out of that discussion.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 19, 2012 10:07 pm

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
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Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

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Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:27 am

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 3:34 am

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 10:41 am

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:35 pm
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:12 am

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

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Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:29 pm

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

It's not whining. I always hated the play at the plate. I saw Pete Rose take out Fosse in a  meaningless All-Star game ruining the latter's career, while Rose was hailed as some kind of hero. Yeah, he's as tough guy taking out a guy who is stationary while he's coming at high speed.
here you go again.   i am a red's fan, but i will admit that that play was a bit over the top.  however WHY it was overboard we will disagree on somewhat.  the poinnt about it being an all star game we prob agree some, although i wouldnt go so far as to say meaningless.  why would you bother to lace up the cleats if it was "meaningless?"   you go on to mention how fosse was "stationary" as he if is some sort of victim.  he was at the front of the plate and blocking.  no one forced him to do that.  he knew what he was getting into.  he could have gone for a swipe tag.

Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:19 pm

Sabean is emotional, but this is time for reason

So? It's like a player blocking the base on a steal. There isn't much room to slide around a player if he's waiting with the ball. You have to slide and hope to jar it loose. It's more dangerous because of the catchers equipment, but the player knows the risk when he commits. He could try a hook slide and hope the catcher misses.
calling your bluff stargayzer.  now i know that you dont coach bball.  This happens b/c there is no rule against a SS placing a foot on the front side of 2B thus encouraging the runner to take a hook slide.   there IS a rule against a catcher without the ball blocking the plate.  the plate is not the same as the other 3 bases, so your analogy fails.  stop lying to us that you are a baseball coach.

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