In last night’s 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins, the San Francisco Giants’ star catcher, Buster Posey, severely injured his ankle as he was blocking home plate while Scott Cousins attempted to tag up from third on a short fly ball to right field. Posey dropped the throw from right fielder Nate Schierholtz, which left him searching for the ball for a split second before contact was made and Posey was left in seemingly agonizing pain on the floor. Posey will receive an MRI later today to determine the seriousness of the injury and how long he is expected to miss.
Posey and his agent are now attempting to contact the MLB to potentially change the rules on player collisions. He most likely will not, and should not, have any success with this proposal. This is simply something that happens in baseball. Collisions at home plate happen due to many different factors and have for quite some time. I am not one to say that just because something has been happening for years that it should stay the same, but there is just no way to rationally alter this rule to avoid injuries without compromising runs being scored or prevented. The only changes that could be made to the rule are stopping catchers from blocking the plate entirely, which I presume is not what Posey and his agent are looking for, or forcing umpires to make a judgment call on the runner’s intent to injure the catcher, which is not a good option. Umpires have enough to look at during these plays, including the plate itself, whether the catcher actually holds onto the ball throughout the entirety of the play, and if the catcher tags or misses the runner. Adding a judgment call such as intent to injure, when the runner’s objective is to break the ball from the catcher’s hands, is simply too difficult for an umpire to decide.
Injuries are unfortunate, especially when they are to star players in early season games, but there is no rational reason for this rule to be changed following Posey’s injury from last night. There have been countless injuries to catchers and runners in similar situations, including Carlos Santana’s grotesque injury last season, and the reigning National League Rookie of the Year receiving an injured ankle will not all of a sudden force the MLB to change their standards. And if it does, then shame on them.