Yadier Molina Injured by Bush Leaguer

by on August 28, 2012 · 33 comments

Shoulder first tackle by Harrison

Take a close look at the above image.  It’s Josh Harrison of the Pirates propelling his body into catcher Yadier Molina.  Some will call it a clean baseball play.  Some may even call it a “scrappy”, “hard-nosed”, or “gritty” play.  Call it what you like.  I call it a gutless, bush league move made by a guy who had no idea what the right move was at the time.  Given a split second to determine the best method of reaching home plate safely, Harrison had the choice between a simple slide and a collision with the catcher.  No, that’s actually incorrect.  Harrison had his head up while rounding 3rd base and had the play in front of him as he ran towards home plate.  In the context of a baseball game, he had eons to decide what to do.

He still chose poorly.

Harrison had a really good shot at avoiding the tag and reaching home plate.  Of course, that was BEFORE he decided to launch his body through the air while leading with his left shoulder slightly lowered.  Did Harrison know what he was doing?  Of course he did.  It’s not like you lower your shoulder and brace for a collision in the belief you will somehow land on a feathery pillow of soft grass.  Closing your eyes, averting your focus, or turning your head away from a problem of your own making does not mitigate liability.  Harrison created the collision by deciding to create collision.  If he wanted to avoid it, he had a way out.  It’s called a “slide”.  Players practice the “slide” on a regular basis.  It’s a baseball thing.

Look again at the picture and focus on just Harrison.  He kind of looks like a safety trying to jack up a helpless receiver, doesn’t he?  Of course, the NFL has rules that prohibit leaving your feet to launch your body into a prone receiver.  So the the potential danger level associated with such collisions forced the NFL powers on high to determine that a defenseless player must be protected.  Strange.  It’s almost as though the NFL doesn’t want to see its product damaged by unnecessary plays of physical aggression.

Maybe it’s that, or maybe the NFL determined that allowing players to get hurt for no good reason at all was not the best business model to use.  Perhaps MLB can learn something from this and offer a simple solution.  The catcher can block the plate, but the runner then has the right…nay the privilege of trying to flatten said catcher.  Alternatively, the catcher can place 1 foot on the corner of the plate, and the runner must slide to avoid a collision.  Under such circumstances, the catcher cannot deny the plate to the runner, and the runner cannot be allowed to slam into the catcher.  Fair?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Regardless, it would help prevent injuries, and concussions can be extremely serious in terms of injuries.  Any kind of head trauma can produce symptoms years down the road, and nobody really wants to see that happen to any player.

That’s really what this comes down to for me.  Would Harrison actually approve of an opposing player hitting him or one of the Pittsburgh catchers the way he chose to hit Molina?  I would hope not.  Actually, I would hope that no player wants to see a collision like that.  Ever.  As for penalizing Harrison, I will say the same thing I’ve said time and time again.  The player who injures another player purposely should be required to sit out as many games as the injured player is deemed medically unfit to play.  That would deter players from going head hunting.  If not, then they don’t need to be in the league anyway.

Make no mistake, either.  I would not condone a Cardinals player launching himself into any other player in MLB.  As much as I dislike certain players and ex-players (Nyjer, Cueto, Joe Morgan, et al), I still wouldn’t wish this on them.

Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more about MLB and its ridiculous use of Molina’s injury to tout the importance of holding onto the ball because “he’s a man”.


Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Cameron August 28, 2012

That would be a game misconduct in hockey…why not in baseball?

Dennis August 28, 2012

Good point. I forgot about how hocky handles such things, and that’s a far more violent sport with guys wearing way more useful protective gear.

noyb August 28, 2012

Wow what a whining crybaby you are. When you occupy the runner’s path, you are taking responsibility for the collision that is about to occur.

Craig August 28, 2012

That’s a hard nosed clean play that has been done countless number of times for decades. If he slides, he’s out. Only option he had was to run through Molina in hope he would be safe. If a catcher doesn’t wasn’t to subject himself to a collision, then he shouldn’t block the plate. There is nothing wrong with this play. End of story

Sidney August 29, 2012

I agree. Block the plate up the line, it has happened forever. Slide and his helmet goes into Molinas knees. Look at the play. If Molina hadn’t dropped his shoulder to catch the short hop, hit would have been chest high.

Dennis August 28, 2012

A “whining crybaby”, Noyb? So much for civil discourse. If you don’t like it, don’t read what I write. I could care less about your pathetic life and biased perspective. Go grab a comfy spot in your trailer and wait the inevitable senility that will take hold of the pudding in your cranium.

Dennis August 28, 2012

End of story? I doubt it. Harrison deserves to be unemployed for making a dumb decision like he made. He had plenty of time to make a different baseball play. Clean? Yeah, I’m sure the sheep the follow the Reds and Pirates think so. Nobody asked you for your opinion, so I’m not sure why you are posting.

Craig August 28, 2012

He won’t be suspended, and rightfully so. What other play could he have made? He slides and he’s out. He collides with Molina full force and hopes he jars the ball loose so he is safe. It is a smart, fundamental baseball play. Don’t write on a site that has comments if you don’t want other opinions. Maybe you should cover ping pong. Definitely no contact for you to whine about.

Dennis August 28, 2012

You simply don’t know that he would have been out by sliding. That’s a bad assumption based on your own bias. From the camera angle that showed home playe from behind the runner, it appeared he had a clear path to the back of home plate. Then again, that’s probably just too much for someone who just wants to bash people and see players injured to handle.

Craig August 29, 2012

You are the one that needs educated. The throw made Molina take the ball on the 3rd place side of home. He slides he’s out. Watch the replays. Listen to the MLB network crew call it a clean, hard baseball play and that Harrison had no other option. Lost in all of this is the GREAT play by Molina and a great throw by Beltran.

Dennis August 29, 2012

In no way, shape, or form will I ever consider a player’s shoulder intentionally aimed at another player’s upper body a “clean, hard baseball play”. Ever.

The Educator August 29, 2012
PH8 August 29, 2012

I’m not Dennis, but I’d like to interject here…

Learn what? That Kovacevic has a biased opinion about the incident? He’s right that it’s “part of the game” insomuch as it’s not against the rules, but does that mean it has to be?

Alex August 30, 2012

Agreed, everyone tries to compare this to other sports like football or hockey, but there they are wearing full pads and are conditioned to take hits like this. This is a train wreck that happens half a dozen times during the season. While it is not against the rules to make contact with a catcher on a play at the plate or a shortstop or second baseman trying to make the turn for a double play, it’s something that needs to be elimated for player safety. If you’d like to compare sports, the NFL and NHL are ever changing sports for player safety, MLB should follow suit.

Dennis August 29, 2012

Yeah, I’ll get right to doing just that…..

The Educator August 29, 2012

I’d love to see if you guys would be complaining if the tables were turned. If one of the Cardinals collided with Mike McKenry or Barajas with that same type of play. Kovacevic made the point that it’s part of the catching position. It comes with the territory. If you are saying that Harrison went in there with the intent to hurt Molina, you’re all wet. He did what every baserunner is taught to do when the catcher blockes the plate squarely. It happens numerous times during the season. Sometimes the catcher and/or the baserunner gets hurt. It’s comes with the position. Put your crying towels away and accept it as part of the game. I feel bad that Molina got hurt and I hope he recovers quickly, but this stuff happens and it has nothing to do with being “bush league”. Get over it.

PH8 August 29, 2012

I quote, from above:

“Make no mistake, either. I would not condone a Cardinals player launching himself into any other player in MLB. As much as I dislike certain players and ex-players (Nyjer, Cueto, Joe Morgan, et al), I still wouldn’t wish this on them.”

Part of the over-arching argument that I think you’re missing or not crediting is that it doesn’t *HAVE* to be part of the game. You’re right, it sucks that Molina got hurt. Sucks a lot. Sucks every single time it happens, no matter the player. So why continue to allow it to happen?

Dennis August 29, 2012

I actually have complained when the tables were turned. I actually sat a kid down in a city league game for taking a shot at the catcher. If you actually followed what I’ve written over the past couple years, you would know that there are some topics on which I have been absolutely consistent. I do not buy the “catcher put himself in that position, and it’s all part of the game” argument. Player safety stands above the game in importance.

I made it abundantly clear in the article that I would not approve of anyone on the Cardinals ever blowing up the catcher. Of course, most of the reactions appear to be to just the first half of what was written. If you want to talk about what every runner is taught to do, then you are taking this way off-topic. Baserunners are taught a lot of different things at a lot of different levels. Some coaches actually teach the runners to run through the catcher, some teach runners to protect themselves form injury, and some teach about avoiding potentially dangerous situations at all costs. If the “run over the catcher” approach was taught by everyone at every level, then we certainly would see more collisions at home plate.

Craig August 29, 2012

“Clean play,” Molina said. “Clean play. That’s part of baseball. He did what he had to do, and I did what I had to do. It sucks because you don’t want anybody to get hurt. This time it was me to get hurt. But it was a clean play.”

Dennis. SHUT UP! Clean play. Will and always should be a part of the game. Injuries are always a part of the game.

PH8 August 29, 2012

Out of curiosity, why do you think that putting players at risk of serious, potentially life-threatening injury “always should be a part of the game”?

Honest question – I’m not trying to tweak you or argue about this one play. Yes, the focus is on Molina because he is a member of the team we follow – but as I stated earlier – why should ANY player be put at that risk?

For my part, at least, I believe this is one injury that is feasibly preventable and should be.

Alex August 30, 2012

This time it’s Molina with a shoulder injury, last year it was Posey with an even more serious injury. We’re finding out more and more about concussions and their long term effects. NFL and NHL are changing rules and equipment for the sake of these injuries and the players they employ, but MLB is continuing the “tradition” of the sport.

Dennis August 29, 2012

Shut up? Really. That’s precious. As though Molina really can say much else without putting his teammates in a tough spot and potentially escalating the animosity. Go back to trolling, since you seem to have a penchant for it. I won’t reply anymore to someone who takes the internet bully route.

The Educator August 30, 2012

Whiny Cards fans got to whine. Nice to see you carrying on the tradition set up by your previous manager. The play was within the current rules, it was not “bush league”, and unfortunately Molina was hurt. Hopefully he’ll be back soon. You really think Molina is lying to prevent “escalating animosity”? LOLOLOL. That’s rich.

Dennis August 30, 2012

Whiny? Why exactly are you still leaving comments here? Is your life so unfulfilled that you try to make yourself feel better by trying to push you opinions onto others?

Jeff August 30, 2012

No one loves Yadi as much as I do, and I think the play was a legitimate baseball play. Yadi slid over to block the plate at the last second. Look at Harrison’s line. Once Yadi does that (takes away the plate) Harrison has three choices: go over, go under or go through. Going through was his only real option. We’ve seen this play before, many times. Taking out the catcher so that he drops the ball is considered a legitimate baseball play. It’s not ideal. No one likes to see anyone get hurt, but this play has been a part of baseball for a long time and until there are rules put in play to stop it from happening, it is going to happen. I don’t think this can be called “bush league”. Would you call Pete Rose’s takeout of Ray Fosse bush league? That was in a meaningless exhibition game.

Baseball has a way of equalizing things. The Cards did the right thing and through at Harrison’s butt later in the game. Good move. Gotta protect your catcher. And Harrison knew it was coming and understood it.

Dennis August 30, 2012

Um, “yes”. I would call Pete Rose’s play “bush league”, and I would say the same thing about a lot of things that Pete Rose did. If you place the safety of another human being below winning a game, then I feel you really shouldn’t have nice things in life.

Jeff August 30, 2012


Dave August 30, 2012

Molina said it was a clean play. Why are we making a big deal about this? Let’s be truthful here anyway it’s not like the Cards are saints anyway. When LaRussa was playing they were among the most dirty teams in the majors.

Dennis August 30, 2012

I would close this thread down, but I’m truly fascinated by how many people spend their time trolling.

dsnelquendo August 30, 2012

Your desire to avoid injuries is commendable in some respects. But you are putting the entire onus on the runner. Funny that you are a Cards fan and are putting the entire focus on Harrison and what he should have done, what he did, and what he should not be allowed to do again in uour opinion. But what about Molina? Did he not enter the baseline and block it…something that other fielders are not permitted to do without possession of the ball? If you want to outlaw there types of plays, what is the responsibility of the catcher? Seems to me if Barrison should not be allowed to plow into the catcher, then the catcher should not be allowed to block the plate.

Methinks you are looking at the situation through Cardinal red colored glasses.

Dennis August 30, 2012

Methinks you are completely ignorant of what I’ve previously said, tweeted, and written on this topic. I am a huge fan of what the A’s have done as an organization. The team simply told all the catchers not to block the plate.

If you look at this specific incident, the onus was left to Harrison by default, because Yadi didn’t even see him coming. Of course, if you have read everything about what Yadi said, you would already know that. Again, some people seem intent on focusing on just 1 tidbit that they try to use as an entire argument.

Your argument abou what other fielder can do is moot. MLB has rules that apply to collisions at other bases. The rules for the catcher are simply different. I’m sure you knew that already…oh, but you didn’t. Nice try.

Dennis August 30, 2012

One more thought: Techncally, the catcher can field the ball and put a knee into the runner going for the plate. If a catcher does that and knocks out someone like Votto or McCutchen and ends a career, how would you feel then? The play is just as clean as a runner lowering his shoulder while leaving his feet. Oh, but your hypocrisy and jealousy only go so far, yeah? Thought so.

PH8 August 30, 2012

Hi Pirates fans. Thanks for visiting PH8. Play time is over.

Intelligent discourse has long given way here. Maybe see you in October?

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