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May 27, 2011

Grumblings from a Surly Sabermetrician

Scott Cousins is a Dirty, Dirty Ballplayer...

by Clay Davenport

There is no doubt in my mind that on Wednesday night Scott Cousins was guilty of a dirty play. When the Marlins’ outfielder was trying to score from third on fly ball, he made no attempt to reach home plate. As he neared home, he launched himself into Buster Posey’s upper body, apparently having made the decision that his best chance of scoring was to ensure that Posey was forcibly separated from the baseball, and that he himself would be able to find the plate in the confusion that followed.

He was probably correct about that decision, even though, in this case, Posey had already dropped the ball before any contact occurred. Posey was acting the way catchers are currently taught—receive the ball, and then drop to your knees across the front of the plate to block the runner’s access to the plate, while making the tag for the out. In any number of games on similar plays, the catcher does make a clean catch, the runner slides, the catcher’s shin guards hit the ground ahead of the runner’s foot, cutting off his path to the plate, the tag comes does down, and the out is recorded. Cousins’ play, like many before him, is an accepted part of the game today—and an evolutionary adaptation to the behavior of the catcher.  It is what you have to do to beat the catcher’s strategy. As I said before, I have no doubt that it was a dirty play, but baseball has accepted this particular pattern of dirt, and I can’t fathom how any punishment or retribution would be justified in the face of this organizational pattern.

There are those who think the problem could be resolved by enforcing existing rules (7.06b in particular), but they are wrong: Posey was clearly in the act of fielding a ball and by that act was, per the rules, entitled to his position. There are also voices out there who seem to believe that the rules of baseball were carried from Mt. Sinai by a some 19th-century Moses, and that we shouldn’t change them just for this. If you will look at the history of 19th century baseball, though, you will find that rules were changed almost every year, on matters both more and less substantial than the issue we’re looking at here. No one should ever shy away from changing a rule (or, for that matter, a law), if it is the right thing to do, simply because it has always been done some other way. If the rules as written create a hazard for the players, then we are obligated to at least look for ways to mitigate that hazard. I think the search for such changes is complicated because both the fielders and runners share blame for the current state of affairs.

One way to do it, which I believe would cut down on these events, is  by returning to a very, very old rule. In the earliest rules, the 1840s and 50s, a baserunner was out if he was touched by the ball while off his base. It didn’t matter whether he was gently tagged, got hit in the back on a throw from the outfield as he approached third, or was drilled by a hard-as-you-can throw from three feet away. The latter did happen, and that resulted in injuries which many saw as unnecessary.  The rulebook sought to address this by taking some of the physical force out of the play, introducing the force out and requiring that the player be tagged out by someone holding the ball, and not “soaked”, as the practice of throwing at a runner dodgeball-style was called. One consequence of the earlier rule, though, was that it did not matter if you dropped the ball after the tag –the batter was out as soon as the tag was made, continuously held or not. Dislodge the ball all you want—you’re still out (although Cousins still wouldn’t be, because Posey never had the ball at all). Returning to that rule would remove the crashing incentive from the baserunner.

You could also try to take a page from the NFL rulebook (horrors!), in which a player taking a throw would be considered the same as a “defenseless receiver”, and greatly limit the kind of contact can be made on him. That would be reasonable on one hand—but still does nothing to account for the ability of the fielder to legally block the base.

If I ran the zoo, and had absolute authority, I would change the obstruction rule to make it quite clear that the baseline belongs to the runner in all instances except for a player fielding a batted ball (which, to my knowledge, isn’t causing any issues). I would definitely remove the fielder’s right to the baseline while fielding a thrown ball. In my vision, the defensive player would never, under any circumstances, have the right to barricade, block, hinder, deflect, or otherwise physically prevent a baserunner from reaching the base. You are entitled to try and tag the runner before he gets there; you have no right whatsoever to do anything to keep him from getting there. If you are a fielder in the baseline for any reason—other than standing there with the ball in a position to make an immediate tag—then your body will be considered part of the base. A runner who clearly slides into your legs before the tag is applied—where the glove comes down from chest high after contact, say—will be considered safe. And it isn’t just for catchers. I have seen first basemen holding a runner try to position their foot so that the runner will hit his foot, instead of the base, when he dives back on a pickoff attempt. Shortstops have been known to drop their leg in front of second when a would-be basestealer approaches—although you generally only try that if you know the runner is going to come in head first. I consider those practices illegal as well, and again would treat their blocking body parts as part of the base. But it is generally catchers, because of their protective gear, and their practice of a knee-drop, who have the most potential to cause injury to other players. Just ask Derek Jeter.

At the same time, I would interpret the rule to make it clear that the runner has a positive obligation to always go for the base, and never for the fielder—and that it applies as much at second base (breaking up a double play) as it does at home. I do believe that the runner trying to break up a double play should be required to touch second (not just be “able” to touch it, as the rule is now interpreted) if he also makes contact with the pivot man (unless the contact happens in front of the base, and prevents the runner form reaching it). Launching yourself with a shoulder tackle or forearm shiver is pretty clearly going after the fielder, not the base, and should earn the runner an out and a banishment. By considering a baseline-crowding fielder to be part of the base, there is no excuse left for the fielder to worry about being blocked from the base.

I do worry, though, that this would give runners an incentive to seek contact, if the fielder’s body is closer than the base. Players will—and should—seek any advantage they can, within the rules, and I can see cases where a runner would make a sliding contact he might well be able to avoid.

Unfortunately, I have to cop out and say that it will be the umpire’s responsibility to enforce the principle that baserunners go for the base—that a baserunner who has the opportunity to reach the base without contact must take it, even if it makes him more likely to be out. I wouldn’t expect that to be enforced any better than many current rules where a player’s decision-making process has to questioned by the umpire, and frankly I hate rules that make “intent” or “capability” part of their wording. Ideally, the rule will always be based on what they did or did not do, period—it shouldn’t matter why they did it, and it shouldn’t matter what else they might have done instead. There will always be ambiguity and grey areas.  I can only hope that those people who have the ability to change a rule think through the reasons for a rule change, the root causes that make it necessary, and a range of possible remedies. They also need to remember that the rules are there to make the game better, not just for the sake of having another rule .

Related Content:  Baseball Rules,  The Who,  Rules,  Rule Changes

49 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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SaberTJ

Good to hear from you Mr. Davenport. Very nice well thought-out opinion on the rule.

May 27, 2011 11:23 AM
rating: 0
 
Karl T

Poor subtitle, but your proposal should have been the rule from the beginning, verbatim. Cousins was just following the current Pete Rose rules of baseball, cannot blame him a bit.

May 27, 2011 11:37 AM
rating: 0
 
rweiler

I don't think it's that hard to enforce. Fielder's can't block the runner in the base path except with the ball (the actual ball in or out of the glove, not just their body because they have the ball), runners have to aim for the base, not the fielder. My guess is that 99% of the time, the umpires will make the right call just as they do on every other play that relies on their judgement.

May 27, 2011 11:57 AM
rating: 1
 
jj0501

Does that make Swisher a dirty ballplayer for the collision with Nishioka ? Same broken fibula result. There was a recent Tigers game covered on MLB network where the runner
completed upended Avila who was straddling the plate and
gave the runner room to score. The runner slid for his legs instead to topple the catcher without going for the plate. The MLB analyst (I think it was Harold Reynolds) applauded
the slide, saying in effect your job as a runner is to separate the catcher from the ball. I was amazed Avila wasn't damaged as both of his legs were uprooted by the slide but he luckily was in a position to take the hit and let his legs give way to the runner's momentum, his feet weren't planted like Posey's and unable to go anywhere.
That is the mindset that will have to be altered.

May 27, 2011 12:36 PM
rating: 2
 
Tythelip

The catcher needs to keep his helmet and mask on. When the runner launches himself the catcher can just make sure the collision is head-to-helmet instead of shoulder-to-chest. Then he can pick up the ball and tag the lifeless body at his leisure. Just one collision like that would cure all runners in the future.

May 27, 2011 12:36 PM
rating: 3
 
evo34

Well said. The current (lack of) rule is absurd, even without considering the injury increase factor. I've always wondered why putting your leg down right in front of the plate is any different than just sitting indian-style on top of the plate? To take it to a more ridiculous level, why not call in the firstbaseman and have both he and the catcher sit down on top of home plate, each vaguely trying to field the ball thrown from the outfield?

I'm glad someone finally called out the shortcomings of the current rule, and hope MLB is reading this.

May 27, 2011 12:49 PM
rating: 4
 
cjgeisler
(199)

Question: why don't runners try to take out the first baseman on close force plays? Unless there is a rule specific to force outs, this seems like a similar situation. (I'd rather ask the intelligent BP readership than do the homework myself. :-) ).

Don't get me wrong, I don't endorse more opportunities for takeouts. I'm just wondering about the distinction.

If there is a rule change, I hope it also addresses some of the ridiculous takeout slides at 2nd base.

May 27, 2011 12:50 PM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

You are only allowed to take out the fielder if he blocks your basepath. The first baseman is not in the way on a force play.

May 27, 2011 12:55 PM
rating: 0
 
N8

This is my question as well, but I'll phrase it differently, hopefully I've interpreted your meaning correctly. A force out may be a little less defensible, but from a rulebook perspective, how are the two plays different?

How about every stolen base attempt at third base? Similar situation: ball coming from a 90-degree angle compared to the runner, no force in play. What kind of uproar would there be if Matt Kemp or Jay Bruce barreled through David Wright instead of sliding during a steal attempt? Would the same people say the runner's job is to separate the 3B from the ball? I would probably steal third every time I had a runner on second. How fast would the rule be changed then?

I feel the umpire can absolutely determine intent in regards to these plays, and should be allowed to eject a player if he deems his intent was to hit the fielder and not go for the bag. They're allowed to make this judgement call when it comes to pitchers and hit batsman, this one will be easier to call. Rare is the time when a slide "gets away from you".

To evo34's point, should the catcher sit indian-style (can't still be PC) on the plate, he gets what he deserves. This scenario is something my friends and I growing up also thought was a good idea. :)

May 27, 2011 13:40 PM
rating: 4
 
redsox2011

If you 'barrel thru' the 3rd baseman you can still be tagged out for over 'sliding' the bag. When you slide past home plate you are already safe or out whatever the case.

May 28, 2011 15:29 PM
rating: 0
 
sensij

The point is that if you've successfully separated the 3rd baseman from the ball, you won't be tagged out or forced out at all.

May 28, 2011 19:08 PM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

Also, keep in the mind only if the fielder is making a play on the ball is he allowed to block the plate. The Catcher should not have his foot or leg in front of the plate unless he has the ball already in position.

At no other base do you see such a consistently blatant attempt to block the base. The ability for the fielder to block the base is what needs to be removed. If a base is blocked, the fielder should be awarded if the runner slides on the obstructed body part like Clay suggested.

May 27, 2011 12:58 PM
rating: 2
 
Schaffpa71

"I would definitely remove the fielder’s right to the baseline while fielding a thrown ball."

How can you enforce that? How do you define "fielding?" Fielding is not just the actual act of catching the ball. Part of catching the ball is getting into position to catch it.

The fielder can't control if that throw is coming in on target. The fielder has just as much right to the ball as the runner has to the base.

And Posey was on one knee, not both knees, and that's why he got hurt. His right foot was planted, and that created the resistance that caused the injury. Had he been on both knees, Posey would have tumbled backward. Poor fundamentals.

May 27, 2011 13:33 PM
rating: 0
 
69wildcat

You can make all of the rules changes you want, putting more burden of "intent" on the umpires if you wish, and you know what, there will still be collisions between runners and fielders, and players will still get hurt. It is easy to sit back after the fact, disect plays and then say it should be done this way or that way or whatever. Unfortunately, while the game is being played, neither the runner nor the fielder has the luxury of being able to stop the action in order to decide the best course of action. Instead they have to make these decisions on the fly, usually while running full speed or while moving to catch an inaccurately thrown ball. Collisions under these circumstances are inevitable; changing the rules (or better enforcement of the existing rules) might lessen the risk of injury, however, as long as aggressive people continue to play baseball injuries are going to remain a part of the game.

May 27, 2011 13:55 PM
rating: 0
 
N8

I'm not sure I agree with this, why don't you see collisions of this magnitude anywhere else on the field? Surely there are very similar scenarios at other bases.

May 27, 2011 14:52 PM
rating: 2
 
bravejason

It seems to me that the easiest solution would be to simply forbid players from standing on or in front of the base when attempting to tag a player out at that base. Permit the players to straddle the base or stand beside the base, but don't allow them to stand on it or in front of it. This way the runner has a clear path to the base. Obviously, on force plays the player would be allowed to stand on the base.

Adopting the idea that a tag immediately puts a runner out, even if the ball is subsequently dropped or jarred loose is a good idea.

May 27, 2011 14:32 PM
rating: 0
 
garthhewitt

I like the old rule where you just have to hit the runner with the ball. Imagine Furcal taking a cut-off near the mound and just pelting the runner. Raffy the Enforcer.

May 27, 2011 14:48 PM
rating: 0
 
LynchMob

I'll go the opposite way ... I think Posey's play was "dirty" ... he was the one breaking the rules (obstructing the plate without the ball), creating a dangerous situation.

OTOH, I do like this comment from Duane Kuiper ... "I stood out there defenseless at second base for 10 years (as a player) until they changed the rules about guys sliding with the sole intent of taking somebody out. So they can change it at home plate, too."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/27/MN6J1JLDD8.DTL

OTOH, you want to change the rules so that *this* will never happen again?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgr7aeFjNFk

... Wow, that's a *fun* video!

Here's a question ... on a play like in that video (where JT Snow crashing into Pudge Rodriquez at the end of their 2003 NLDS series ... should Pudge have been called for "obstruction" and JT Snow ruled safe? Perhaps if umps make that call more often, then catcher behavior changes, becomes less risky (for themselves *and* the baserunner).

May 27, 2011 16:11 PM
rating: 1
 
kmbart

I'm very disappointed in the entire article and commentary so far. I've watched the replay multiple times and it's OBVIOUS that Cousins went from outside the foul line to inside of it in order to run into Posey. Posey was completely inside the infield square prior to receiving the ball and Cousins had to swerve to make solid contact. As the rule is written, Posey had no right to the area to the third base side of home plate without the ball, but HE WASN'T THERE. Cousins would have been much smarter to hook slide around Posey, avoiding the contact and improving his odds of scoring.

May 27, 2011 18:15 PM
rating: 7
 
T. Kiefer

The Tigers' announcers spent some time analyzing the Posey/Cousins event (the Tigers were playing terribly) and Rod Allen said two interesting things: First, from the moment you step off the bag towards home, you have to have decided what you're going to do at home plate. So he said that Cousins had to have decided to take out Posey way before he made it to home. Second, and as evidence, he pointed out (as kmbart does) that Cousins would have scored had he done the hook slide.

(After seeing Posey writhing in pain, I thought Cousins should be banned from playing (with no pay) for the length of time Posey is out. I saw a similar slide last year that Mark Teixeira made in the midst of one of his April slumps--he took the catcher out violently (the catcher was taken out of the game if I recall right), and was proud of it. It's unsportsmanlike to say the least.)

May 29, 2011 07:20 AM
rating: 1
 
Noel Steere
(965)

Exactly right. I'm being charitable to Clay and assuming he means that Posey *would have* blocked the plate with his shin guard once he got the ball and turned to make the tag. Even so, it doesn't make sense to me when Cousins had a clear path to the plate but *chose* to go out of his way to run Posey over.

May 29, 2011 13:28 PM
rating: 1
 
evo34

I think you're right that this is a bad example to use (the catcher in this case was not interfering with the runner), but that doesn't take away from the general idea Davenport is expressing, which is that catchers should not be able to plant themselves in front of the runner.

May 29, 2011 20:23 PM
rating: 0
 
polishwonder

The high school rule is that a fielder cannot block a baseline unless they have the ball in possession or a fielding a batted ball. Blocking a base without the ball as most major league catchers do is illegal. Crashing into a player who has the ball is also illegal. Blocking is considered obstruction and the runner is awarded the base, while crashing into a fielder is considered unsportsmanlike contact and the runner is both called out & ejected. I don't see why these rules could not be used in professional ball - other than screaming that that's not how the game is played.

May 27, 2011 20:55 PM
rating: 2
 
Dodger300

@69wildcat "Instead they have to make these decisions on the fly, usually while running full speed or while moving to catch an inaccurately thrown ball. Collisions under these circumstances are inevitable'

Football players have to make these decisions "on the fly" all the time. Sure there are still collisions, but just imagine how many more there would be if pass interference and roughing the passer and kicker were legal?

Professionals can adapt to the rules.

May 27, 2011 23:16 PM
rating: 1
 
DavidK44

I'm sure some old-timers think that collisions are 100% a part of baseball because it's part of that whole hard-nosed, battle between fiery warriors fighting for every inch.

Enough with that stuff. Save it for football - a sport that really is about battles and trenches and violent contact (see george carlin for the comparision).

Collisions at home plate should go the way of the spitball. It's quite simple - adapt from recreational slow-pitch softball. If catcher already has ball, runner cannot barrel him over - he can try to slide around, jump over, some other evasive move, but he cannot simply try to railroad the catcher.

If catcher does not have ball / is in the process of fielding the throw, he CANNOT block the plate by intruding on the runner's established baseline path to the plate. As long as the runner maintains a straight line towards home while running, if he slides and is blocked, he is automatically safe. If he barrels into a blocking catcher, he is ejected but ruled safe because catcher broke rules. If he barrels into a non-blocking catcher, he is ejected and AUTOMATICALLY ruled out.

Yes, collisions will always take place at some point - fielders fielding the ball right in the baseline, ask Fernando Vina v. Albert Belle - but home plate collisions simply don't need to be part of the game.

May 28, 2011 01:17 AM
rating: 3
 
smoless

Cousins is a nice person and he did what 99% of runners would do as Posey started to turn toward him. He could not see if Posey had the ball, so trying to jar it loose was his best option to score. Calling him a dirty player is a low class thing to do, when you know that type of play happens a lot at home plate. As a former FSU student, I hate to see him injured, but smearing Cousins is not right !
Dick C.

May 28, 2011 14:28 PM
rating: 0
 
hyprvypr
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Toughen up world. Your long hair and politically-correct garbage is starting to leak into sports. These things have been happening for over one hundred years, please don't change them just because our society is becoming kindler-gentler. You that are becoming pussified need your asswhipped a few times by your dad or by some big fat guy in a bar somewhere.

Either that or get a sex change. This is a mans sport and shouldn't be played by wussies.

May 28, 2011 19:40 PM
rating: -18
 
Matt Kory

Nominated for stupidest comment of the year.

May 28, 2011 23:51 PM
rating: 8
 
delatopia

You know what else was happening 100 years ago in sports? Dozens of football players were dying every season from the brutality on the field. Teddy Roosevelt -- perhaps the manliest president ever -- threatened to ban football if the game was not made safer, and among the changes were the invention of the forward pass, a ban on gang tackling and increasing the yardage needed for a first down from 5 to 10. If testosterone-fueled Teddy Roosevelt can advocate for safer football, I'd think you could do the same. Baseball is better when better catchers are on the field.

Part of me likes those kinds of collisions, and part of me sees them as completely unnecessary. But in the end, it's difficult enough standing in against a 95-mph fastball. Catchers and baserunners don't need to prove their toughness to me. I feel sad for you, hyprvypr, that they need to prove themselves to you.

May 29, 2011 00:51 AM
rating: 3
 
R.A.Wagman

So when was the last time you got your ass whipped for no particular reason?
And maybe more pertinently, when will be the next time?

May 29, 2011 06:13 AM
rating: 2
 
Nickus

Last Friday for me. Sucker punched by some schmuck for no good reason at all. One bloody lip, a bloody nose and a fairly calm discussion later and all was well. Sometimes bad luck hits.

May 29, 2011 17:12 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

It's part of the game, but Cousins needs one in his ear hole next time he comes up against the Giants.

May 29, 2011 07:59 AM
rating: -2
 
dodgerken222
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Bad things happen in this world. People who become ballplayers know going in that injuries on the field are a part of it. It's part of this current politically correct, freedom-extinguishing mentality to make some new law every time anything that offends their sensitive souls happens. The umpire made a bad call? Let's have re-plays! (mainly because a wrong home-run call took place during a Yankees-Mets game). A catcher got injured in a collision? Let's outlaw collisions! (mainly because it happened to a star catcher). A batter got hit by a pitch? Let's give the umpire the power to throw a pitcher out of the game for throwing inside! An All-Star game ended in a tie game? Let's make the All-Star game MEAN something by giving home-field advantage! (Yes, see how the managers have really played to win that game since THAT rule change.)
I'll tell you what's coming next in this social-engineering environment. Some pitcher is going to have a game in which he throws over 140 pitches. At some point in the future, he will have some sort of injury. (which of course NEVER happens in this age of pitch counts). His agent will call for a rule change limiting the number of pitches allowable in a game.
Baseball in 2015: 105 pitch limit for pitchers, no pitcher allowed to work more than two days in a row, no player is allowed to slide into a base spikes first, forfeiture of game if there is contact between a runner and a fielder (subject to video replay, of course), a 25-game ban for cursing, a 50-game ban for spitting, and lifetime suspension for using politically incorrect language (the John Rocker Rule).
Enjoy the game.

May 29, 2011 10:49 AM
rating: -4
 
dodgerken222
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A final prediction for 2015: To satisfy Tom Verducci, Ken Rosenthal and all of the other touch-feely sports media, your next commissioner: Oprah Winfrey.

May 29, 2011 10:59 AM
rating: -8
 
hyprvypr
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Human beings are still animals and we've thirsted for violence and testosterone fueled sports since we became 'civilized'. That's why MMA is so popular and why people watch Nascar(to see the wrecks). Baseball is a contact sport and this should never change. Football begin getting ridiculously safe in the last 2-3 years and the fans view of the game has been increasingly bad. Fouls for sacks? Oh you touched the quarterbacks head, 15 yard penalty. TOUGHEN UP PEOPLE, jesus. Human beings aren't special, and they ARE replacable, including guys like Posey. Again, I'm not saying players should be able to run guys over UNLESS there is a reason, like a catcher blocking the plate.

And if Cousins is dirty, then so is Pete Rose, Nick Swisher this year, Bob Gibson, etc... These are men and men play with competetive fire, not politically correct estrogen-based gayness.

I want ALL of you wussies OUT of the country and OUT of the fan base. You're ruining it for the rest of us(and by the way, the majority of us).

May 29, 2011 11:12 AM
rating: -8
 
R.A.Wagman

How exactly do you figure that baseball is a contact sport? Baseball is as much a contact sport as double's tennis.

May 29, 2011 13:16 PM
rating: 4
 
dodgerken222
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Further proposals from the anti-collision crowd:
1) Ejections of fans who boo or say abusibe things to players.
2) All hot dogs shall be vegetarian, all beer non-alcoholic.
3) Smoking shall be banned in open-air stadiums. (oh wait...they've done that already)
4) May Day promotion....all fans shall bring in their tax returns and admission shall be charged on a sliding scale (union members exempted).
5) Casual Fridays ... Players can design their own uniforms to express their individual fashion sensibilities.
6) At end of game, regardless of final score, both teams shall be declared victorious because, really...everybody's a winner!

May 29, 2011 12:43 PM
rating: -9
 
Mowstangs

interesting that baseball was more progressive with rule changes when it was the top american sport, as would be the case now with football, as the most obvious, though basketball is pretty good about swift changes, too; hockey and golf are probably the more archaic of all. baseball will change rules, but only in the most flowery niched ways, like interleague, all-star as home field advantage-er, and replay on disputed homeruns, so as to, seemingly, create a personae of modernity. whatever. tl;dr

May 29, 2011 14:52 PM
rating: 0
 
dodgerken222
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So baseball is as "much a contact sport as doubles' tennis"? Gee, let's Google "collisions" for baseball and doubles tennis and see which one has more matches. You sensitive anti-physical contact types should stick to tiddlywinks (junior girls' division, of course).

May 29, 2011 17:53 PM
rating: -7
 
hyprvypr
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Plenty of support here for both tradition and school of hard knocks. Baseball has plenty of contact, collisions on the infield, collisions at first, collisions and wipeouts by baserunners, tag plays are routing which can cause damage. Slide hard into bases, even without another person there can be dangerous. Being hit by pitches, linedrives, broken/thrown bats.

Wagman, basically your argument is destroyed and any further comments by you will likely have no credence here at all. Like Ken said, go play tiddlywinks and stop messing with baseball.

To repeat, I don't advocate physical wipeouts by players, but then again, I also don't advocate catchers blocking the plate, particularly when they don't have the ball yet. I feel for Posey and the Giants but this is baseball and it happens. I don't hear many Yankees fans apologizing for Swisher's total baseless wipeout of Nishioka.

May 29, 2011 18:06 PM
rating: -8
 
R.A.Wagman

Congratulations on conducting a well-documented, well-reasoned straw man argument. I've never admonished the play from either angle. Just your approach.
Contact happens in baseball - always will - but that doesn't make it a contact sport. A contact sport is one in which contact is the point of the game. Contact in baseball is and has been since the days of John McGraw, a sport in which contact has either been incidental, or nationally castigated (Juan Marichal, Pete Rose, etc.)

May 29, 2011 20:14 PM
rating: 6
 
dodgerken222
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You are totally wrong if you are referring to Pete Rose's take-out of Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star game as "nationally castigated." I remember it as it happened quite well, and very few if anybody was castigating Pete in the immediate aftermath. He was viewed as the empitome of competitive spirit, to be playing so hard in what was basically an exhibition game. (It wasn't played for the moronic home-field advantage back then; the players' pride in their own leagues were enough motivation.) No whiners or agents (now there's a redundancy!) were saying in 1970 that the rules should be changed.
Maybe the revisionist history of the do-gooders can say Rose was reviled at the time, but he wasn't. You can say that there's nothing in baseball rules mandating contact but lemme tell ya..when an average game has hundreds of 90 mph fastballs thrown within fractions of an inch of a hitter's body, when every game has fielders and runners arriving at a base within a split second of each other, when it's hard to find a single game when some pair of fielders do not collide, or a fielder and a runner don't collide...it's a contact sport, baby. Tell the manufacturers of batting helmets, catcher's helmets, chest protectors...tell all of them that baseball is not a contact sport.
Pete Rose was certainly NOT nationally castigated in 1970. In honor of Memorial Day, I'll say that the brave pilots who dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan were not nationally castigated in 1945. Not at all. The castigation was begun by the touchy-feely brigade years later. And now they turn their ever-expanding reach to baseball. God help us.

May 29, 2011 22:13 PM
rating: -8
 
Behemoth

High quality arguments here. It's always been like that, and if you don't like it, you must be gay. Is that really the best you can come up with?

May 30, 2011 07:44 AM
rating: 7
 
Mike V.
(596)

I'm sure it has been said before, but Clay Davenport is truly one of the greatest names of all-time.

May 30, 2011 09:07 AM
rating: 2
 
dodgerken222
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Just for the record, the term touchy-feely is not a code word for gay. It refers to those politically correct "humanist" liberals who like to re-make society in their Oprah-like vision of society.

May 30, 2011 14:09 PM
rating: -7
 
hyprvypr
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Whole lot of censorship here. Perhaps you folks would be better off working at Wal-mart, where they ban unions, censor music and have fall protection for every shelf above three feet high. There's even a manual for little leaguers suggesting that their best way to make it to the higher levels of competition is to gladly accept being thrown out, especially when the catchers blocks the plate. Just accept failure, you're out.

Whatta bunch of losers. One thing's for sure, your ancestors didn't secure this country's borders, MINE did.

May 30, 2011 22:48 PM
rating: -7
 
delatopia

Your points of view aren't being censored by BP because they're edgy and controversial. Your points of view are being screened by fellow readers because your posts are stupid, indulgent and obnoxious. Perhaps one day you'll learn the difference.

Jun 02, 2011 10:14 AM
rating: 0
 
Pat Folz

I swear there are 3 or 4 commentors on this site that are just plants to make sure the discussion is at least a little like the rest of the internet.

May 30, 2011 23:59 PM
rating: 2
 
Behemoth

Pretty clear that "politically correct estrogen-based gayness" on the other hand, is suggesting that people who don't agree are gay.

May 31, 2011 05:34 AM
rating: 4
 
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