When Scott Cousins rounded third base and plowed through Buster Posey at home plate in the now-infamous 2011 collision, he broke Posey's leg and stirred up a pile of controversy about home-plate collisions in baseball.
According to Bruce Bochy, that same controversy won't be an issue, as he told reporters on Sunday that Posey won't be blocking the plate in 2012.
"I'll take this out of Buster's hands," Bochy said Sunday after pitchers and catchers finished their first workout of Spring Training. "As a manager, that's my job. I certainly don't want people to think he's backing off on his own. It's something we'll work on with him this spring."
So, yeah, we've got a new controversy, albeit one that's exponentially less dangerous for Posey.
Look, we ranted on this a lot last year (and we weren't the only ones), but baseball needs to do something to prevent catchers getting needlessly destroyed at home plate simply for the sake of maintaining an archaic rule involving defensive position.
Plays at the plate are violent, high impact, and the closest baseball gets to football. And it's all fun and games until one of the most talented offensive players in the league breaks a league.
Bochy's statement about Posey's plate protection in 2012 offers a different set of problems: could anyone on the other team making a play at the plate simply scare Posey out of position? And will Posey really be able to overcome his instincts and not protect the plate?
Our initial response to both questions is "no." But it's worth noting that Bochy's a former catcher himself, so he might be able to install some new "programming" in Posey's brain. And he also understands the position better than most, so perhaps there's room here for some leeway.