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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Country hard ball

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You've no doubt seen the video of San Francisco catcher Buster Posey suffering a season-ending, career-threatening injury a few weeks ago.



To lose the 2010 rookie of the year is a huge blow for the defending World Series champions.   It's also prompted all sorts of hot air being bloviated about a) whether the play was clean and b) if the game needs to be changed to protect catchers.

I never played the game, but I've watched quite a few and to me the hit was nothing more than gold old fashioned country hardball, and no rules need to be tweaked.

If anything needs to change, it's the way catchers are being coached.   Hall of Famer Johnny Bench says he tells kids NOT to try blocking the plate--instead, he says, the ball should be caught on the side and before efforting a tag.    Plus, the rules say you can't block the plate without the ball, the way Posey was doing before he got drilled.

Which brings up the bigger point: Posey is a high-profile player, a rising star.   His injury is a blow to the Giants and their fans.   It's always tough to see good players sidelined.   That said, plenty of catchers get drilled at the dish on a monthly basis in the big leagues.   Some, like Posey, are lost for extended periods of time.   Their losses, though, don't get the attention Posey's situation did.   They certainly don't generate the navel-gazing about rules changes that the Posey injury did.   Posey's shouldn't have, either.   Yes, he's a major talent but his situation isn't atypical.  

The game is fine.   It's good-old-fashioned country hard ball.   It's a beautiful thing, and when it's played right injuries are the exception.    And, when one happens to a big-name star, it shouldn't force a change of the rules.   What it should spark is a review of technique.


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