Tag Archives: Catcher

The First Baseman’s Stretch…….

This has been happening a lot lately.  Almost every game in fact.  The announcer bellows what a fantastic throw the shortstop has made to 1st base to throw someone out.  And it’s usually true.  They have.  And it doesn’t have to be the shortstop.  Could be the 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman catcher.  You get the picture.

But the third time it happened tonight in the Giants vs Padres game I was compelled to grab my camera and take a snapshot of the TV screen.  It was important to me to validate what a fantastic job the 1st Baseman does in catching (more like salvaging) a ball that, without his outstanding athletic ability, would have ended up in the dugout or worse.

 

I call it the First Baseman’s Stretch.  And if you’ll watch for it, you’ll be surprised how often it happens. That’s probably why it’s a really good idea to get a 6’5″, left-handed guy to handle that base.   Even while doing the splits this guy needs the wingspan of a 747 for the reach to make the play.

I just wish the commentators would be more aware of giving credit to the player that’s miraculously avoiding a pulled groin every time he stretches to make that catch while at the same time keeping at least one of his toes on that first base bag.

Above, Michael Morse makes it look easy ….. kinda …..  sort of.

 

 

 

 

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Revisiting the Posey Play ~ OR ~ Getting the Umpire out of his Comfort Zone!

Here it is again for the 1,000th time. Photo courtesy of Google Images.

This is my response to the TAKEOUT SLIDES ruling that has been approved by Major League Baseball and is a repost of a blog I wrote on February 23, 2012.

The basic premise of this ruling has always been in effect ~ they just weren’t using it. I’m disappointed MLB didn’t take it further and impose more severe personal penalties on the player such as automatic ejection from the game. The NFL and NBA have this built into some of their penalties and it certainly hasn’t hurt the game.

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The only reason I’m bringing this up again is because Calcaterra over at Hardball Talk said Posey was told to “stop” blocking the plate.   This implies that Posey “was” blocking the plate, which he was not as the photo above clearly shows.  The runner intentionally left the baseline with a spectacular charge  aimed directly towards the catcher with no intention of getting to the home plate.  The runner, Scott Cousins,  said later his intention was to dislodge the ball~ which he could not, because Buster never had it.

But here’s what’s really amazing about this photo.   Notice the umpire.  No one  had a better birds-eye view than this umpire, standing steadfast and staring intently at the play as it was happening and boom!  Crash!  Bam! Slam!   The play’s over and the umpire calls the runner safe, run counts,  and the catcher is lying mortally wounded* (defined below) on the field.  What the heck was he thinking?  The umpire I mean.

Somehow it seems reasonable that MLB Rule 7.08 (b) could be construed to somehow apply in this situation.  A good attorney could probably make it work.  I don’t know.  I’m just saying the umpire has total charge of the game.   And in this case I  think he let this one get by.  Too bad.  Would have been a real feather in his cap if he’d stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) took a stand and said something like “No more! This ain’t gonna happen on my watch”.   Like the NFL did when they made it illegal to spear with their helmets, with no intentional blows to the head.

Who knows?  An umpire taking a stand.  Might have changed the game forever.  He has the authority to do that you know. Baseball needs a little cleaning up.   It’s not just bulldozing the catcher at the plate that can get really nasty, but what about all those pitches thrown at the batter’s head, back, arm, foot, leg in retaliation for some stupid reason (there are hundreds of them) that everyone knows about, including the umpires.  They all know what’s going on.  It’s extremely rare that a pitcher gets thrown out of a game for hitting or trying to hit a batter, even though it happens regularly.  And if a pitcher does happen to be ejected for intentionally hitting a batter the minimum fine is a whopping $200! (MLB Rule 8.02)  Can you believe it?  Who makes these rules.  I mean a batter could get killed, and has, from one of those bean balls.

“The Scales of Justice”

Here in the land of fruits and nuts according to Wikipedia, “on April 6, 2006, in a case arising from a game involving community college baseball teams, the Supreme Court of California ruled that baseball players in California assume the risk of being hit by baseballs even if the balls were intentionally thrown so as to cause injury.” So I guess the message is  if you’ve got the moxie to do it, do it in California.

You might notice I’ve not once tried to blame any of  this on Scott Cousins (see my June 4, 2011 post).  Scott was doing what he was trained to do which is to do everything he can to win. And he did.

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking”

No, this is something that falls on the  Major League Umpires Association.  They’re the only ones who can get this violent aspect of the game  under control and they don’t need any rule changes to do it.   If they’d start bouncing players out of the game when they resort to these retaliatory pitches and the unnecessary violence at the plate and elsewhere, the players would get the message and it would stop.  The question is, will they?  The answer is,  probably not.  They’d have to move  a tad out of their comfort zone and who the heck wants to do that?

* Mortally Wounded Defined:   A mortal wound is a very severe and serious injury (almost always a form of penetration or laceration) whether accidental or inflicted intentionally…