Brian Sabean, stop it. Stop it right now.
On Thursday afternoon, the San Francisco Giants GM lashed out at the Florida Marlins player who ran over Buster Posey(notes), saying that if Scott Cousins(notes) "doesn't play another day in the big leagues, I think we'll all be happy."
Sabean's comments — which didn't stop there — prompted Cousins' agent to defend his client in the San Francisco Chronicle before adding that Cousins has received death threats.
Death threats. For playing baseball. That's a good-enough reason right there for Sabean to zip it. He had much more to say, however, during an interview on KNBR radio in San Francisco:
Sabean added that Cousins "chose to be a hero" in making a play that was "malicious," along with being "unnecessary" and "premeditated." Sabean, therefore, said Posey has good reason to not respond to Cousins' attempt (or attempts) to apologize.
Sabean also implied retaliation was in order, saying the Giants will have a "long memory" about the play that ended Posey's season May 26.
If Cousins really has received death threats, and agent Matt Sosnick says he has contacted MLB security about the matter, then Sabean really ought to stop with his own veiled threats, along with the self-pity party, and get to the discussion about how to make the game safer.
By lashing out, Sabean won't make Posey's broken leg heal faster, and he won't hasten the changing of rules to make it illegal to run over the catcher in order to dislodge the ball.
All Sabean's comments do is make him look bitter. And a little forgetful. While the act of a baserunner turning himself into a human projectile shouldn't have a place in baseball — on that, I agree with Sabean — it's not like Posey was the first catcher to get run over.
He thinks he does, but Sabean has no evidence that Cousins acted with malice. After the fact, Cousins has given us no reason to think he acted with malice. It's easy to look at slow-motion replays and still photos from a bird's eye view and pronounce judgment, but when you're running full-speed and have to make snap decisions about whether to slide or jar the ball loose, that's part of being an athlete. Sabean should know this.
By turning Cousins into the bad guy instead of simply taking issue with the kind of play he attempted, Sabean whiffs on the best point he has to make: Baseball is not supposed to be football. Or pro wrestling.
Sabean has a right to his feelings — I'd be bitter about losing Posey, too — but then what? Should we throw Cousins out of the league for a legal (albeit vicious) hit? That doesn't make anyone else safer by itself.
What makes Cousins' play dangerous isn't that he's an outlaw crackpot running the bases; it's that what he did is accepted. Get that to change and players will become safer.
Demonizing Scott Cousins is just wrongheaded and stupid — not to mention potentially dangerous.