Whether he likes it or not, Giants catcher Buster Posey has become the poster child for the home plate collision controversy. In 2011, Posey was bowled over at home plate by Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins, suffering a myriad of season-ending injuries: a fractured leg and three torn ankle ligaments. Since then, other catchers have suffered — unnecessarily, some would argue — concussions and other, less severe injuries. Rule changes have been proposed, but if you’re looking for Posey’s opinion, you won’t be hearing it.
Via Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area:
“I try to keep myself out of the conversation as much as I can, because I know people will connect me to it regardless,” said Posey […]
“I’m kind of sitting back and letting the higher powers figure it out. I have my thoughts, but I’ll keep them to myself.”
Posey added that he doesn’t want it to be about him, which is respectable and admirable.
As Baggarly explains, the proposed rule changes would make hits like the one that ended Posey’s 2011 season illegal. However, any official rule changes are unlikely to be adopted in time for the beginning of the season.
On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”
There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.
It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:
On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.
“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”
One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.
None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”