Friday, June 3, 2011

A matter of class.

Everyone probably knows by now about the collision at home plate between Giants catcher Buster Posey and Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins. I watched the replays numerous times and haven't failed yet to flinch as Posey goes over and the ankle bends unnaturally. With Spiff Jr. still talking eagerly about being a catcher such events scare me. I know, it's part of the game but the parent in me shudders at the thought of my lad losing a season, or worse, at any level in that manner.

Serious blow to the Giants with Posey having surgery and missing the rest of the season. Buster is almost in a class by himself. His loss is not to be easily made good. This all made me think of another catcher on another team from another time.

Jim Sundberg, shown here on card number 110 of the 1977 Hostess set, was amazing behind the plate. Handled pitchers well and was a wizard with the glove. Not so much with a bat. Sunny's bat was decent but never that of a superstar. Not in Posey's class to be sure. An injury like Posey's could have put his career in serious jeopardy. Not that he ever complained about the danger. In fact, I can't remember Jim complaining about much. He was class. Class in the genre of Stan Musial.

In a bad dream I can picture Jim Sundberg getting run over in a close game by a determined baserunner. I can imagine his leg snapping and him missing the rest of the season. I can't see him refusing to take a call from the other player to express his condolences and concern. Sunny had class.

Actually, Sundberg still has class. As a baseball executive he is part of the front office that helped put the 2010 Rangers team together. He's not the General Manager, not in that class. He's there though, and I can picture him having to deal with a catastrophic injury to a star player caused by a collision with a baserunner. I can't picture him condoning the injured player's refusal to be polite and take a call. Can't see him going on a radio show and saying he would be happy if the opposing player never played again in the Majors. If Sundberg issued a threat, veiled or otherwise, against the opposing player I would be shocked. That's not in Jim's class.

Of course, one never knows how a team, player, or executive will react to a terrible situation. I would expect better of Jim Sundberg though, he's just not in the same class as Buster Posey and Brian Sabean.

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