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Stop blaming Buster Posey for the changes to home-plate collisions

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Buster Posey helped shape the conversation about home-plate collisions, but stop pretending that he's the only reason for the change.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, mustachioed grumplepuss Goose Gossage emerged from his dusty, sad goose hole to yell at things. Most of his bad opinions have nothing to do with the Giants, but they're worth reading, if only because you can't pass up an opportunity to shake your head ruefully. If I'm like this in 30 years, please, tell President Grohl to deport me.

There was one Giants-related tidbit in there, though.

"A bunch of f---ing nerds running the game. You can't slide into second base. You can't take out the f---ing catcher because [Buster] Posey was in the wrong position and they are going to change all the rules. You can't pitch inside anymore. I'd like to knock some of these f---ers on their ass and see how they would do against pitchers in the old days.

First, I don't even know what game he's watching, but I haven't even noted a farting catcher. And why would it be farting nerds who are interested in changing the rules about catchers? Why not regular nerds? And another thing ...

/production assistant whispers in my ear

Oh! That's much worse. He shouldn't say that! However, this is the perfect time to write something that's been bugging me for years. Here's a timeline:

  • May 25, 2011 - Buster Posey injured
  • July 8, 2011 - Baseball doesn't do anything about home plate collisions
  • March 19, 2012 - Baseball doesn't do anything about home plate collisions
  • August 12, 2012 - Baseball doesn't do anything about home plate collisions
  • May 25, 2013 - Baseball doesn't do anything about home plate collisions
  • October 17, 2013 - Alex Avila injured in the ALCS
  • October 18, 2013 - Baseball says waaaaaait a sec, these things are dangerous!
  • February 24, 2014 - Baseball introduces a new rule on home-plate collisions

It would be disingenuous to suggest that Posey's collision had nothing to do with the rule change. It was the most visible example. It started a national conversation. It was the most famous home-plate collision since Pete Rose and Ray Fosse. It might have started the momentum for a rule change that eventually bubbled over into action.

But it's not the Buster Posey Rule. Baseball didn't scramble after the injury to change the rules because a photogenic young star was dismantled. Immediate action wasn't taken. In fact, it was just the opposite. Here's a headline from 2013:

Buster Posey's injury can't persuade Joe Torre to consider rule changes to safeguard catchers

That, again, is two seasons after Posey's injury.

Torre heard out Giants manager Bruce Bochy in several phone calls over the summer but declined to recommend that the rules committee take up the matter.

It's not like the rules committee talked about changing the rules that offseason. Joe Torre declined to recommend that the rules committee even look into it.

When Alex Avila got hurt, it was the perfect opportunity for change. It was on national television. It had the ability to affect the outcome of the World Series. And it happened to the son of an assistant GM who had been in baseball for decades. Al Avila had contacts and opinions about home-plate collisions. It's possible, if not probable, that the rule would have changed without the family connection, but you're kidding yourself if you don't think it had at least a minor part.

Or, a better way to put it: Stop calling it the Buster Posey Rule. If you call it the Buster Posey Rule, you might end up rambling like a certain old ex-Giant. It's the Alex Avila Rule if you really, really want to name it after someone, unless you want to get hyphen happy and go with the Posey-Avila Rule, which is on the fringes of history, but still accurate.

The Buster Posey Rule would have been passed in the offseason following the 2011 season. There was no discussion of the Buster Posey Rule. It wasn't even recommended for discussion. Please stop calling it the Buster Posey Rule.

And please stop asking Goose Gossage for opinions.

And another thing. Why is the f---ing flag waving if there's no atmosphere on the f---ing moon? Riddle me that, you mollycoddling idiots.

You don't know what he'll come up with next.