Basically what happened in baseball – Buster Posey, a remarkable talent for San Francisco, he leads them in batting average, RBI’s …you know, he’s just a tremendously gifted kid, rookie catcher who came up late last year and guided them to a World Series behind the dish, remarkably smart and talented. They gave him a $6 million dollar bonus outta college, I think that was the largest bonus ever…at the time.
So he gets hurt – run over by a player, it’s a legal play. So now the question is: Should baseball change rules to protect catchers? The NFL did change rules to protect QB’s. Now, I wouldn’t change the rule – and I’ll just tell you why I wouldn’t, because in football it’s different. Every pass and every pass attempt, a QB is vulnerable to a blindside hit from a 265 lb defensive end who bench’s 440 and runs a 4.6…and on every play, that’s a real danger! In baseball, twice a year your catcher gets run over, your catcher is wearing gear, the guy who hits him isn’t, he’s getting run over by a smaller athlete and it’s not blindside.
So, let’s just think about this – big picture. In baseball, it’s a super rare event and the physical repercussions are limited. Asteroids occasionally hit the Earth, I’m not buying asteroid insurance…it just doesn’t happen enough. But yet for something in society that is a common danger, a regular occurrence like driving on the road and getting hit, death on the highway….yes! I’ll enact laws and legislation; I would change society and rules to protect a large number of people, who are in danger at any second!
In football, the dangers are greater – guys have been paralyzed! In football, the dangers are more prevalent, it happens on every play! But in baseball, the danger is what? Torn ligaments? And the regularity almost never happens – it’s like when you use to go buy a car and they try to sell you rust proofing. I’m sorry; it doesn’t happen enough in order to buy protection for it…so that’s my feeling on it.
Joe Torre was on The Herd with Colin Cowherd last Friday and Colin asked Joe Torre straight out, should MLB change rules? “No! I’d have to say that even at 2nd base, when your turning a double play…you’re in harm’s way. But we teach you to get in there and knock the ball out of his glove if you’re talking about a catcher or 2nd base or try to knock the 2nd baseman over. That doesn’t mean you want him to be hurt, you just want to keep him from throwing to 1st base” Torre didn’t even hesitate!
Now, let me take the other side – and I get the other side, there is more money at stake! You’re paying catchers big money. Now Posey had not signed a big deal yet, but he got a $6 million dollar signing bonus. Joe Mauer you pay $180 million bucks to – and like a QB, you want some assurances. Money alone changes all sorts of industries. I mean Progressive Insurance, year ago, when they came out with classic cars that are now worth millions of dollars, insurance didn’t cover that, they had to come out with specialty insurances….money changes everything folks!
Don’t forget, the NFL owners went to Roger Goodell and said “hey, we gotta change these QB rules. I’m paying $55 million for a QB. In the 70’s they paid them $300,000 dollars, now it’s like half the worth of their rosters and if they blow out a knee, they’re team now stinks!” So the NFL owners went to the commissioner and said “We have got to protect the QB!”
So, there is another side to this…that the NFL changed rules to protect their #1 asset. Now, baseball as a sport is not great at adapting. So that’s why I don’t believe there will be a change – I mean, asking MLB to be progressive is like asking my grandmother (82 years old) to open up a twitter account…it’s just not going to happen!
But I get both sides…its one of the most exciting plays in baseball – we’re massively overeating, it almost never happens and the repercussions are what? A twisted ankle and torn ligaments? What happen to Posey is incredibly rare.