Can the Most Valuable Player refuse to block the plate?

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images

Buster Posey's good enough to win the MVP Award this season and smart enough to avoid suffering another catastrophic injury.

Last Friday, Buster Posey took a foul ball off his throat but stayed in the game, and played again the next day. Even though the Giants had already clinched first place. Which is to suggest, if nothing else, that Posey's a tough guy. Like most catchers. One thing Posey doesn't do, though: block home plate to prevent runners from reaching it.

From CSNBayArea's Andrew Baggarly:

Asked if he would position himself less conservatively in the playoffs, even blocking the dish when necessary, the probable NL MVP said he wouldn’t change what he’s done in the regular season.

"I don’t think you change something you’ve been doing all year," Posey told me. "I’d say no.

"And I didn’t … I’ve never sat in front of the plate. I didn’t do that before I got hurt. So it wouldn’t be normal for me to start doing that, blocking like that."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is just fine with that, too.

"We don’t want to change anything about how we play the game in the playoffs," Bochy told me. "We want these guys to play the game hard and right, and Buster makes a great point. He’s got to do what is comfortable."

Even before his season-ending collision at the plate on May 25 last season, Bochy had forbidden Posey from blocking the plate. It made no difference that night against the Florida Marlins, when the throw from right field beat baserunner Scott Cousins to the plate and he delivered a targeted, shoulder-to-shoulder hit that bowled over Posey, fracturing his leg and ripping three ankle ligaments.

This whole thing speaks well of both Posey and Bochy. It's also worth recalling that Buster Posey's injury was not caused by him blocking the plate (foolishly or otherwise). He wasn't blocking the plate at all. Cousins had plenty of plate available, the whole plate really, but changed directions at the last split-second and bowled over Posey.

Which should, as I wrote then, be outlawed. Should obviously be outlawed. Because while Bochy's orders and Posey's actions are admirable, they'll do no good the next time a runner decides to pull a Cousins and destroy a catcher just to satisfy some obscure codicil of the Baseball Machismo Code.

Let's hope it doesn't happen again. At least not with the terrible injury that ended Posey's 2011 season.

Is his 2012 season really MVP-worthy? Yeah, it sure is. There are five outstanding candidates: Posey, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Yadier Molina, and David Wright. But only Posey and Molina play for postseason teams, and of course Posey's hitting stats blow away Molina's. McCutchen's going to get dinged for his anemic second half, and Braun's going to get dinged for his failed drug test.

My guess about the voting:

1. Posey
2. Braun
3. Molina
4. McCutchen
5. Wright

As for how I would vote, I'll wait until November to do all that work. It's a complicated thing. Posey's really been fantastic, though, and it's hard to imagine making a strong argument against him.

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