To many, Buster Posey might be the face of baseball's new rule for home plate collisions — his fractured leg and the famous image of him being helped off the field after a collision with Scott Cousins of the Miami Marlins still engrained in our mind from 2011.
It's not entirely accurate to call this the "Buster Posey rule." It has as much to do with Posey's gruesome injury as it does a few other things. Namely the fear of concussions and CTE rising out of the NFL and the changing views on collisions in MLB, even among old-school baseball types.
Still, when the rule was made official Monday, you couldn't help but think of Posey and wonder what his reaction was. The San Francisco Giants catcher actually told reporters he wanted to wait a while before commenting. He wanted to read the rule and fully understand it before he said anything. Admirable.
So Tuesday, Posey offered his comments on Rule 7.13. Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle:
"What I take away from it is, it eliminates the malicious collision, which is a good thing. When I look at it, I don’t see it as being that drastic of a change. I think the hardest part is going to be for the umpires being able to make a judgment call sometimes on when there is a collision on what the intent of the runner was ...
“It’s a good rule. We shouldn’t be going out to injure the catcher. We should be going out to score the run.”
Posey was one of the players who gave the league input for the new rule, so it's obvious his response is going to be different than A.J. Pierzynski's "this is what I signed up for" objection. To hear Posey tell it, the rule won't change his game too much. The Giants already ask him not to block the plate. Rather, he sets up in front of the plate and uses a swipe tag. It leaves a path for base runners.
The new rule doesn't get rid of collisions altogether. It outlaws two things — catchers blocking the plate when they don't have the ball, and runners going out of their way to hit a catcher, "deviating from their pathway," the rule says. This means we can still see a bang-bang play in which a runner and catcher collide that's within the rules.
“My main thing was for everybody to be comfortable with it,” Posey said. “Not everybody is going to be comfortable with something when it’s changing, but the main thing, I guess, is that catchers and runners both were protected.”
We'll find out how comfortable teams are with the new rule when it's actually used in a game, when it takes away a run or adds one.
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