First, let me begin by saying I don’t believe Scott Cousins is irrelevant as a person, as a human being. Of course he’s relevant. But the story these past two weeks that has taken baseball hostage is about something else. It’s about a love story that’s taken hold on every person who ever thought of being a Giants fan and it has everything to do with Buster Posey. Buster’s the ultimate “guy”. He’s become our knight in shining armor, our Casey at the Bat, our savior of all things baseball. I don’t know exactly how this happened, but it happened. I started collecting Buster Posey memorabilia when he first came into our farm system after the 2008 draft. And he lived up to everything we expected of him. He was our hope for the future and our promise of all good things to come. He was what it meant to be a San Francisco Giant.
So on May 29, 2011, during a Florida Marlins - San Francisco Giants ballgame, at the top of the 12th inning, with the score tied, and the game on the line, when Buster Posey endured a career-threatening injury, the collective gasp of everything “Giant” was heard throughout the baseball world and beyond. We’re still reeling from the ramifications of that injury. Some of us deal with it better than others, but of course the one who continues to suffer the most is Buster Posey, both physically and emotionally. I was surprised when Buster came out with his statement the day after the injury with a not-so-charitable attitude toward Cousins, the agressor in the play. But when Brian Sabean, General Manager of the SF Giants, hurled his scathing comments directly to and about Scott Cousins, a line was crossed. Now, all of a sudden, Scott Cousins has become irrelevant and the play at the plate has become irrelevant.
Have we learned nothing from these past couple months? I’m thinking about that awful incident involving one of our own, Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten after a Dodger-Giants game March 31, 2011, in the stadium parking lot. The outpouring of love and support for Bryan was incredible and this included a huge contingent of support from the Los Angeles Dodger fans. Everyone banded together in support of this SF Giants fan who was involved in this terrible crime. Baseball was at its finest.
And now, the SF Giants are involved in a truly unfortunate “accident” and not only the fans, but the Giants management, are showing nothing but indignation and outrage that it could possibly happen to them, to one of their own. Well, I’m sorry, but it did. It happened. And we’re all hurting. We miss Buster. We miss seeing him every day, in the dugout, behind the plate, at the plate. But why do we insist on having a villain in this scenario? Why can’t we get past this and accept it as an unfortunate accident and move forward? Scott Cousins did not intentionally get up in the morning , arrive at the ball park, and decide this was the day he was going to nail Buster Posey with a career-threatening hit. Cousins did what he was trained to do. He’s a competitor and he’s supposed to try his very best to do everything he can to help his team win games. And that’s what he was doing when this incident occurred. That’s all he was doing. There was no malicious intent to destroy anyone. He made a split-second decision just like all the other split-second decisions that are made on the ball field on a daily basis. The end result was disastrous, but it was not intentional.
Not that it matters, but this morning I read an article by ESPN.Com quoting Johnny Bench (link to one of my favorite Posey Cards here) that puts Buster Posey at fault. Johnny Bench is considered an expert in this area, being one of the all-time greatest catchers who’s ever played the game. He’s also an avid supporter and fan of Posey and has been quoted many times these past few years acknowledging what a fine young person and athlete and catcher he is. Everyone has an opinion; 100 bloggers, 100 different opinions. The reason I bring this up is because everyone makes mistakes; I make mistakes and you make mistakes, Scott Cousins makes mistakes and Johnny Bench makes mistakes.
Will MLB change the rules? Maybe. But how this injury to Buster Posey happened is not as important as how we’re going to get past it. And we will. But the sooner the better.