It was a year ago today that Scott Cousins ran over Buster Posey. That was such an obnoxious thing, I'm sure we can all agree. Support collisions fine, don't support collisions fine, but we can all support Buster Posey and bipedal locomotion.
By coincidence, today I came across a sports column written about the 1979 All-Star game. The National League won, and Tom Loomis of the Toledo Blade knew where to put the blame.
TV commentators Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek, and Tom Seaver were just fine, I thought, but in commenting on the reception of that Parker throw and the blocking of the plate by Carter, they might have mentioned that runner (Brian Downing) made it a bit easy.
Downing is a catcher himself and a big, tough man sometimes kiddingly called "The Incredible Hulk." Plowing down the line on Carter he elected not to crash into the one leg of Carter that was blocking the plate as Gary grabbed the perfect throw. Brian got cute and slid inside the line, hoping to sneak around the block.
That wasn't the way to do it, of course. Downing has to hit the catcher and hope to knock him up in the air rather than take a fancy and circuitous route. Maybe Brian had been hit too many times himself in similar instances to want to risk an injury to young Carter in what, after all, was just an "exhibition game."
And just perhaps that's the difference, generally, in the way the players from the two leagues regard the All-Star game.
Love the scare quotes around exhibition game. "Well, some experts say it's an exhibition game. Some experts say it counts as 10 games in the standings. Who can say for sure? We'll have to agree to disagree!" Anyway, Gary Carter was 25 and making his first All-Star appearance. I'm glad Brian Downing didn't try to knock Gary Carter into the air. Gosh, our dads must think we're so lame.