That's the basic idea here: to try to clear out the game threads (and other FanPosts) of the seemingly endless backs and forths on this topic.
I'll open the floor up with a few thoughts of my own.I think the first thing to consider is Cousins' frame of mind at the time. And I think we can distill that down to one question: did Cousins knowingly and willingly commit a wrong? That is, I would think, the basic jurisprudential issue in any accusation of wrongdoing in any contextual system. To answer "Yes" requires us to credit that Cousins was aware that he was placing Posey at significant risk for injury and decided to proceed anyway. Frankly, I find that literally incredible. Let's see what we know, or think we know.
1. Cousins was very well aware that his was an extremely important run in an important game, and correspondingly felt great pressure to score it.
2. There can be, I think, little or no doubt that he was under the definite impression that Posey had the ball, and was turning to apply a tag; I think even the bitterest Cousins-haters will acknowledge that much.
3. I further think, and suspect few will doubt this either, that he was nearly or wholly certain that the tag would be in time, and that he would be out when tagged, regardless of what sort of evasive slide he might attempt.
4. What he decided, in that literal split second, to do was to try to jar the ball loose from Posey's grip by running into Posey.
So far, I doubt any significant number of observers will have disagreed with any of this. Let's see what else.
5. Runners have been using that ploy for about as long as the game has been played. Some may say here that that ploy is only used when the catcher has the ball and is blocking the plate (indeed, blocking the plate without the ball violates the Rules, though catchers have been doing that since Cartwright's day--Mike Sciosa, among others, was famed, and praised, for his ability to do so). My belief, on which I am by no means adamant, is that runners have for long also hit catchers set for a swipe tag, not just plate-blockers, and moreover that within very, very broad limits no one has ever considered it an especially "dirty" ploy.
But, da capo, does anyone really believe that a factor in Cousins' split-second calculations was "I might really injure this guy"?
Now even granting all of the above, that does not clean the blackboard. Some of the remaining questions and issues are:
a. Should Cousins, either by training or by instinct, had the injury possibility high in his thoughts? If so, is the failing his or that of those who trained him?
b. Should not the MLB Rules be altered in a way that makes such collisions highly unlikely, by application of both individual and team penalties of a severe degree?
c. Is it right or fair to place major blame on Cousins?
d. Is it practicable to make effective Rules changes to prevent such collisions?
Well, there are some openers. I did not set forth positions as some sort of testament or brief, to be defended against all comers, but as starting points for attempts to deal with these questions rationally. It would be nice if we could all keep the tone of the discussions somewhere below bellows and shrieks. Now over to you . . . .