Tough Guys Speaks His Baseball Mind – And Its a Good One.
Mike Matheny had a reputation for being one of baseball’s toughest players during his stellar playing career. Dishing it out and taking it. Remember, this is a guy who took a ball off his face in the ninth inning, drove himself to the hospital after the game, and while walking out the clubhouse door, told the manager he would be ready to play the next day. When speaking of his pitchers and his own willingness to play tough guy, "It turned into their confidence in me which turned into them asking for me to catch them, which gave me an opportunity to play," Matheny said.
And he likes the Scott Cousins take-out about as much as a drive-thru frontal lobotomy. Unlike a lot of guys who are caught up in the "don’t- rock-the-boat" game, he was willing to go on the record with his insights yesterday. Matheny (who is back in the Cardinals organization as an INSTRUCTOR) articulates in baseball code what was so obvious to those who have always hated the "chickenshit-hooligan-intentional-blindside collision-permissible" rule.
"But it wasn’t a necessary play. He was hunting. Buster gave him an option and he didn’t take it." "… Cousins had an opening to slide while Posey was defenseless while awaiting a throw and instead hit him in the opposite shoulder." Thats not me. That’s Matheny, the All-Star championship caliber catcher talking who had a reputation for being the toughest man in baseball at one time.
In fairness to defenders of this nonsense, Matheny doesn’t go as far as I do. He does not think MLB needs a rule change and that it wasn’t a dirty play; which kind of strikes me as contradictory. I don’t think he really considers "hunting a catcher" a clean play. In any event, semantics. To close, Matheny said this:
""I think you just put a mark in the column that that kid took a run at a catcher. To me as a catcher I know the next time I get the ball I’m going to stick it to him."
Stick him….exactly. In actuality his career is probably over unless, ironically, he has a Posey kind of breakout season. Guys who create unnecessary problems with other teams don’t stay around as long as maybe they could, unless they are difference-makers; and this Cousins appears to be no difference-maker.
Reputations like this are almost impossible to shake, though its been done in the past. A guy who can’t hit the Mendoza line is not indispensable and is eminently replaceable. By the time the Giants hit south Florida to play their required 3 games in the Miami Mausoleum, the second weekend of August, it is unlikely that Mr. Cousins will be in Marlin pinstripes to greet them. The Baseball Codes do not condone "hunting", regardless of the happy-happy, Commissioner’s office approved, media blather. Especially from marginal players. The game is tough enough without additional baggage, and at this point, you can believe that Cousins actions is extra baggage the Marlins don’t want. Nobody on that team wants to take one in the neck for Cousins.
"Hunting" as Matheny puts it, is garbage. "Hunting" is what punks do when their ineptness is trumped by the skill of an opponent. "Hunting is the end result of bad instructing and bad coaching and false indoctrination by ignorant mentors. I see Cousins actions as little better than Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat-barrel at Mike Piazza . And I see most of the defense of Cousin’s shot to be no better than Clemens indefensible whining afterward "there was no intent".
Its called arrogance.