Scott Cousins may have had an eminently forgettable career as a member of the Angels, but he has made his mark upon baseball.
Before Cousins had his five plate appearances over seven games with the Angels last year, he became known as the player that bowled over Buster Posey, causing Posey to suffer a knee injury that cost him the rest of the season. Now, in large part because of that play, most home plate collisions have been banned. For instance, Cousins leading with his shoulder, as he did on that fateful play, is no longer considered acceptable.
A former catcher, and one that was no stranger to home plate collisions, Angels manager Mike Scioscia agrees with the proposed rule. While he was noted for moving up the baseline to impede the runner’s progress on their way home, he felt that changes needed to be made.
“I think everyone is in agreement that the mindless collisions at home plate where a catcher is being targeted by a runner, that needs to be addressed. I think it’s easy to say a runner has to slide, but the other side of the coin, it’s going to be difficult to contain a runner — telling him what he has to do and let the catcher have carte blanche to be able to block the plate aggressively.”
This rule is certainly not without controversy. From a purist standpoint, eliminating collisions at home plate just further signifies how baseball is moving further away from the old days, where relievers were those pitchers not good enough to start and the designated hitter was never an option. From a more practical standpoint, it may be difficult to enforce, at least at first, since it may come down to a judgement call as to what the runner’s intent was at the time.
Although Scott Cousins’ tenure with the Angels was rather forgettable, as he struck out three times in his four at bats and drew a walk, he has at least made an impact upon the game. Now, because of his collision with Buster Posey, plays like that are a thing of the past.