|Buster Posey suffered a broken leg and ligament damage in his ankle after being hit by Scott Cousins of the Marlins. -- AP photo|
By Aaron M. Smith
The car wreck of a play-at-the-plate has been replayed 100 times in the last week. At least.
Florida's Scott Cousins is barreling down the line from third base toward home. San Francisco catcher and young phenom Buster Posey shields the plate and prepares for the throw that is screaming in from the outfield. It's going to be close -- the ball and Cousins will meet Posey at the same time. There is a collision; a brutal tangle of limbs and cleats and dust. One player gets up and celebrates, the other writhes in pain in the dirt. The play is reminiscent of Pete Rose blasting into Ray Fosse, a collision that ended the 1970 All-Star Game as well as Fosse's career for all intents and purposes.
Back to Cousins and Posey. Cousins scored the run and Posey broke a bone in his leg and damaged three tendons in his ankle. Posey's season is over while Cousins will continue to play in the Majors as long as his average keeps him there. Springing from this play is a debate about whether runners should be allowed to barrel over catchers in this way. I'll leave that debate to the hundreds of writers and rule makers already delving deep into that argument.
My issue is the other part of the aftermath. In the days following this play, San Francisco General Manager Brian Sabean had this to say about the collision:
"He chose to be a hero in my mind, and if that's his flash of fame, then that's as good as it's going to get, pal. We'll have a long memory. ... If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another day in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy."As a result, Cousins has been receiving death threats from San Francisco fans via social media, e-mail, and even phone calls. Death threats, in general, are disgusting in the sports world. But considering what the San Francisco franchise has already dealt with this season, the threats are especially despicable.
Following a Giants baseball game in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers, a San Francisco fan was attacked from behind and savagely beaten and kicked. His head was treated like a soccer ball and it resulted in severe skull fractures and brain damage. He was attacked simply because he had a Giants jersey on in "Dodger territory." A father of two is clinging to life in a cold hospital room because he was a Giant fan in Los Angeles.
San Franciso fans wondered with anger -- with damn good reason -- how someone could be so savagely beaten over baseball. How can so many lives be ruined simply because a man wore black and orange instead of Dodger blue? It's just baseball. It's a game.
Apparently it's only a game when it's convenient to you. Because now, with a chance to show that you fans get it, that you treat professional baseball as just a game, San Francisco fans -- and its general manager -- have failed miserably and pathetically. A play that happens all the time in baseball and that has resulted in many injuries to catchers and runners has now happened to the Giants. And it has resulted in ugly fan behavior once again.
These fans with the audacity to fire off a death threat to a player just trying to do his job need to get a clue. They need a little perspective. Maybe they ought to visit Bryan Stow -- the fan who was beaten within an inch of his life over a baseball game -- in the hospital and see what a death threat really looks like.