Tag Archives: posey

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…

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Oh It’s Good To Be Back Home Again ……

Okay, I’ll say it.  I’m not ashamed to admit that one of my very favorite baseball moments of all time was the Opening Day Ceremonies on April 5, 2011, following that glorious 2010 World Series Championship win .  The game was between the San Francisco Giants and the St Louis Cardinals. So today was just the icing on the cake for me.  The same teams were playing, and the championship flag was again being hoisted above the park to remain for the entire 2013 season so that all who crossed  our threshold could see what a magical place they had entered. 

But today, instead of being at the game, I was watching from my comfortable chair, all decked out in orange and black, with a box of Kleenex and a paper bag (to dispose of the used tissues) nearby.  And I did pretty good until they introduced the Cards Manager, Mike Matheny, and the crowd broke into near hysteria in support of this fellow, another of my very favorites.  And I lost it, never to fully recover for the rest of the ceremony. 

music notesI’m not sure why I was so emotional today, but it probably had something to do with the affection the Giants fans feel for their team, and the entire organization for that matter, but also for anyone who has anything to do with the Giants!  The crowd cheered just as loud for each of the St Louis Cardinal players who were former Giants as they did for the current Giants themselves.   It’s been a long dry spell, this post, post-season, and finally today, after five months we have our kids back home ready to dance around the mound, and the plate and the field.  “It’s the sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you” ……..as if I was singing the song to each of them individually as they walked out onto the field.   Continue reading

Those Classy Cardinals!

 

Giants 2011 Home Opener vs Cardinals

A few weeks ago I saw an article in the Bleacher Report that listed all of the Major League Baseball Teams in order of Fan Loyalty and Support.   The fans were judged on the basis of commitment, knowledge, participation and attendance.  It didn’t surprise me to learn the winner was the St. Louis Cardinal fans.    For one thing, Tony La Russa’s been the Manager of the Cardinals for the past 16 years.  During an interview back in 2004 by MLB.com’s Mark Newman, La Russa made this statement;

….I think they say St. Louis is the best because fans are as enthusiastic as in other places but are probably more fair-minded.  You can get booed here some, but you’re not going to get embarrassed.  Here, you never see nastiness from our fans.  If you like knowledgeable people who are fair-minded to the other side, this has got a chance to be the best.

Cardinal fans have even been known to give a standing ovation for a strikeout, which occurred when Larry Walker, a newcomer, came to bat for the first time as a Cardinal, promptly struck out and received the standing ovation.  One fan explained they stood because they were saying, in effect, thanks for coming here kid.  We’re glad you’re a Cardinal.   They have the reputation of not only being some of baseball’s most knowledgeable fans, but also the most polite. 

So I’m reflecting on this as I’m watching the pre-game ceremonies yesterday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.   This was the first league home game for the Giants since they won the World Series back in November and, believe me, it was a big, big thing!  Huge!   I don’t know who plans these events, but for some reason, the first thing they did was introduce the visiting team, the St. Louis Cardinals, one at a time as they usually do.  They individually trotted to their place in line on the field to a smathering of applause, some boo’s, the usual stuff. 

Then they began the round of festivities.   And this is when I really first noticed those nice, polite St. Louis Cardinals.  Here they are, standing almost at attention, almost in a perfect line, hardly moving while the Giants organization did the following:

  1. Introduced “Train”, the band, live, who performed their local hit, “Save me San Francisco” in honor of the World Series Champions.
  2. At the end of the song, the Giants started streaming into the park  from Centerfield, walking at first, then breaking into a trot as they made their way to the 3rd base line, where they, too, would stand at attention, well, sort of.  This was to the roar of 42,000 crazy fans who were delighted at just the sight of them!
  3. The members of the Giants organization were then introduced, one at a time, beginning with the bat boys, and including the clubhouse assistants, the clubhouse managers, trainers, assistant trainers, massage therapists, the coaches, the bench and finally the starting players for this game.
  4. Then a memorial tribute was given to those from the organization who had passed away during the offseason.
  5. The Color Guard was then introduced.
  6. The singing of the National Anthem was then played which ended in the fly-over of the Navy jets.
  7. During the National Anthem the flag was beautifully rolled out onto the full scope of the field displaying its colors.

Now all of this really nice ceremony took place while the St. Louis Cardinals were standing on the 1st Base line, still as steel, and as patient and polite as you can possibly imagine.   After the National Anthem was played, the festivities continued, though the players did get to retreat to their dugouts.  We were then introduced to a gentleman who had been a season ticketholder since 1958, and Brian Wilson presented him with the World Series game ball.  During this time the big screen was showing the most memorable scenes from the playoffs to the wild applause of the fans, and this was followed by presentation of the MVP and Babe Ruth awards from the World Series.   Approximately 45 minutes later, Willie Mays presented Bruce Bochy with the World Series flag which was passed on down the SF Giants line to end up with Brian Wilson, who then trotted out across the field and up the stands and hoisted the World Series flag above the stadium.  It was emotional and very impressive;  at least to me and the other fans. 

The Polite Pujols & Posey

But I kept watching the St. Louis Cardinals and wondering what they must be thinking during all this.  Maybe they were really enjoying it and thinking about when it would be their turn again, and maybe they were happy for the Giants and their fans.  Maybe they admired the Giants ability to overcome huge obstacles that allowed them to come to this point.  But more than likely it’s possible they were just thinking, “For pete’s sake, would you hurry up and get this over with ?”  Which it finally did, 45 minutes later. 

I had noticed during the introduction of the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the fellows in front of me, probably in his mid 30’s, politely clapped and applauded as each Cardinal was introduced.  Remembering the best fans in baseball, I thought this is probably something the Cardinals did for us when we played on their home turf.   Later I approached this man and mentioned to him how impressive it was that he applauded the visiting team members.  He just smiled and said “It’s just a game.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do”?  I asked him where he was from and he said he lived in San Francisco, but his grandma lived in St. Louis.  Uh Huh!  And it passes down from generation to generation.  His dad’s probably the same way.  Anyhow, I had a good feeling throughout this game.  Not that we’d win or lose, but that we’d experienced probably the worst of baseball fandom the previous week, and we were experiencing  some of the best of baseball fandom today.  The spirit of St. Louis is alive and well and the spirit of baseball is too.