posey catching

The Giants told Buster Posey to stop blocking the plate

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Buster Posey says he wasn’t exactly blocking the plate last year when Scott Cousins ran into him, breaking Posey’s ankle and ending his season.  It kinda looked like he was poised to — and he was close enough to doing it to where it didn’t matter — but he says he wasn’t blocking the plate. OK.

But no matter what he was doing, the Giants have reiterated their desire to have Posey avoid coming even close. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com:

Bruce Bochy has forbidden Buster Posey from blocking the plate. The Giants’ manager confirmed it on Sunday, and much will be made of that decision. But here is one more vital scrap of information: Posey was under the same order the night that Florida’s Scott Cousins speared him like a tackling dummy.

Bochy and other Giants officials had sat down Posey for that “let’s be smart about this” conversation 10 months before the May 25 game in which he sustained three ripped ankle ligaments and a fractured bone in his leg.

So this year I guess it’s a “let’s be smarter about this” conversation. A “seriously, dude, swipe tags from four feet or else we’re taking away your mask” kind of talk. A “don’t get any closer to the runner than you did to actually being safe on that steal attempt in the 2010 NLDS but were called safe anyway” talk.

This will bug the old school purist types who love to see collisions at the plate, but if I were a manager I’d make it a standing order to all of my catchers, whether they were offensive assets like Posey or simply regular old catchers.  One run is never worth a big injury to a catcher. Look around the league and see how few decent ones there are and you’ll know why. They’re valuable.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.