GM Beane Tells Suzuki: Avoid Collisions at Plate
By Fred Guzman
It’s part of the traditional job description for catchers in baseball: Block the plate on all close plays at home. But in an obvious reaction to a season-ending injury suffered by the starting catcher from the team across the bay, Oakland general manager Billy Beane has instructed his catcher, Maui’s Kurt Suzki, to avoid collisions at home plate.
It was precisely that sort of play that knocked San Francisco’s Buster Posey out of commission for the the rest of the campaign with a broken leg and damaged tendons in his ankle.
Beane said he told Suzuki, “I don’t want you planting yourself in front of the plate waiting to get creamed. You’re an athletic catcher — be athletic. I don’t subscribe to the theory you should be a crash-test dummy. I don’t want to lose you for six months.
The directive takes the pressure off Suzuki, who will now not have to worry about criticism if he steps to the side and opts for a sweep tag.
Althugh there have been similar discussions in other organizations, don’t expect major changes on long-standing interpretations on rules regarding blocking the plate on close plays at home. For better, or worse, it’s a play firmly ingrained into the fabric of the game.