When Max Effort Meets Lack of Effort….
It was only a few threads ago that I asked “Is Buster Posey Afraid to Play Catcher?” It was a harsh title. But watching him jump out of the way of an onrushing Starling Marte I felt it was a normal question to ask.
Somehow, last night’s play at the plate was worse.
Last night was about one thing: lack of effort. Put simply, Jason Heyward tried harder than Buster Posey. That half-assed tag was like a runner failing to hustle to first base. It was like a runner failing to MAKE IT to first base and just peeling off the base line and heading back to the dugout.
After the game, Posey said, “You don’t expect a big guy to be able to move like he did.”
I reject this excuse. Posey has been playing Heyward in baseball since Little League. If anyone knows how athletic Heyward is, it’s Posey.
Another comment: “I thought I was in the right position. You don’t have time to think it happens so fast.”
I summarily reject this claim as well. Maybe he didn’t have time to *think* during the Marte play. That was bang-bang. But when Posey received the ball last night he had time to whip out a pair of binoculars and gingerly focus them on the distant, yet oncoming, Heyward. He had all day to *think*. As Heyward approached, he could have thought about a lot of things. And what he *thought* was that Heyward was just going to give up and run into the tag. Whoops. Heyward kept trying. Buster is the one who quit.
If you want to be a catcher you are going to have to engage in contact from time to time. You might even have to invite it. It’s part of the job. Whether Posey quit on the play (as he did last night) or whether he is now instinctive jumping out of the way (as he did last week) it is simply unacceptable behavior for a major league catcher.
I don’t think Posey will ever play aggressively. But he certainly can be expected to play assertively. He gets paid the most. He is a leader. And he can’t keep playing catcher like this…..