Giants GM only making Posey situation worse with comments about Cousins

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey reaches for a ball in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during Game 3 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in San Francisco, October 19, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Who can blame Giants general manager Brian Sabean for being a little sensitive these days when it comes to the topic of Buster Posey? A little over a week ago he lost his star catcher for the season when Scott Cousins blew him up during a collision at the plate. From the GM down to the fans, many folks are a little touchy right now in ‘Frisco.

But Sabean seems hell bent on making the situation worse. His club is coming off a successful road trip – one that saw the Giants take three of four from the first-place Cardinals – and yet all anyone can talk about today are the comments Sabean made on KNBR radio.

On Thursday, Sabean said that he didn’t blame Posey for not wanting to hear from Cousins following the play. Then he got personal.

“I don’t blame the kid,” Sabean said of Posey on his weekly KNBR radio program. “Why not be hard-nosed? If I never hear from Cousins again, or he doesn’t play another day in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy.”

Ouch. At first, you almost can’t blame Sabean for protecting his young player. But suggesting that “we’ll all be happy” if Cousins doesn’t play another day in the big leagues is a bit much. When asked if he was being harsh with his comments, Sabean didn’t back down.

“No,” Sabean said. “He chose to be a hero, in my mind. If that’s his flash of fame, that’s as good as it’s going to get, pal. We’ll have a long memory. We talked to (former Giants catcher) Mike Matheny about how this game works. You can’t be that out-and-out overly aggressive. There’s no love lost and there shouldn’t be.”

Cousins’ agent Matt Sosnick was quick to respond to Sabean’s criticism of his client.

“What Cousins did was not malicious,” Sosnick said. “A statement that anyone makes implying that he did something on purpose to be hurtful or malicious to Posey is untrue. Those people are misinformed. You can’t determine on a replay if there was a sliding lane for him to get into. It’s impossible.”

Something that always happens in situations like these is that fans choose sides. There are many people who believe Posey was trying to block the plate and therefore was fair game. Furthermore, it wasn’t Cousins’ hit that caused the injury, but Posey’s improper footing. (There are also many people who feel as though this wouldn’t be a story if it didn’t involve Buster Posey and they’re probably right. But it did involve Buster Posey, so discussing whether or not it’s a story is a waste of time.)

On the other side, people note how Cousins had a lane to slide into and didn’t have to take Posey out like a linebacker hunting down a receiver going across the middle. They say Posey wasn’t blocking the plate and therefore the play could have easily been avoided.

But here’s the thing that some seem to be missing: The play was totally legal. If Sabean or anyone wants to be mad at the situation, know where to direct your anger. Be mad at the rule, not at Cousins for deciding to take the catcher out. You think Cousins is the only player in baseball who would have decided in a split second that he was going to use force to try and jar the ball loose? Like he’s some evil monster that emerges from the baseball underworld to take out young catchers once every couple of years? Come on.

Cousins didn’t break any rules. And after people have gone ‘round and ‘round on the topic, everything still boils down to that fact. Was the end result unfortunate? Unequivocally yes. Was the play avoidable? Probably. Did Cousins intentionally set out to hurt Posey? No. Did it still happen? Yes, and as tough as it may be, the best thing the Giants can do is move on. Sabean is only making the situation worse with his comments. Do you think the Marlins’ ears didn’t perk up after reading what the GM said? Sabean just made his own players fair game with this “us vs. them” mentality and it was completely unnecessary. The Giants don’t need any negative attention right now, nor do they need their focus to be off baseball. Some players may laud Sabean for his comments, but at the end of the day they’re still going to have to put Posey’s injury in the rear view mirror. Constantly bringing it up only throws more salt in the wounds and it’s sad that Sabean has turned the attention off his club and onto himself. That’s never a wise move for a general manager.

I hate that Buster Posey is out for the year. No offense to Eli Whiteside but as a lifelong Giants fan, I’m disappointed every day when I check the lineup and Posey’s name isn’t listed. Sorry for the cliche, but it is what it is. On that dreadful night, had the Giants not staged a great comeback in the ninth, Posey would still be playing. Had Guillermo Mota not allowed any runners in the 12th, Posey would still be playing. Had Cousins decided not to test Nate Schierholtz’s arm, Posey would still be playing. Had Schierholtz’s throw been on the fly, Posey would still be playing.

Or maybe the same exact thing would have happened the next night and Posey still would have missed the rest of the season. Who’s to say? It was a freak play and injuries happen in sports. Declaring war on Scott Cousins isn’t going to erase that.

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