Carlos Santana’s Injury His Own Fault

[Please note that this post was originally entitled, “Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana Got What He Deserved.”  In hindsight, the title was too sensationalistic and inflammatory and did not accurately reflect the content of the post.  Thus, I have revised the title to more accurately reflect the content below.  Needless to say, you can still rake me over the coals if you don’t agree with my opinions herein, and I will post your comments so long as they do not contain too many obscenities.]

It’s harsh to beat up on a player just after he gets hurt, but after watching the video of the big collision in today’s Indians-Red Sox, I just don’t feel as much sympathy for Santana as perhaps I should.

Santana is a great young player, and I hope the injury isn’t too serious and he recovers quickly.  That said, the injury is entirely his own fault.

Baseball rules don’t allow a fielder to block or impede a base runner unless the fielder has possession of the ball.  Yet, catchers routinely block the plate without the ball.

The umpires don’t enforce the actual rules here for the same reason the NHL will never completely crack down on fighting, the NFL will never crack down on concussion-causing big hits, and the NBA referees will always allow a lot more contact during the play-offs: the fans enjoy collisions at home plate.  They’re violent, exciting and full of drama.

The video shows exactly what Santana did wrong and why he got hurt.  He’s attempting to block the plate too far up the line and his stance is too wide.  The  proper method for a catcher to block the plate is with the left foot right on the edge of home plate with the body in a relatively upright position, so that a base runner coming down the line full-speed isn’t going to blow out the catcher’s knee if he comes in hard.

If the throw is up the line, as this throw was, a catcher simply has to try a swipe tag, because in order to prevent the base runner  from just running around the catcher, the catcher has to take too wide a stance.  Then the runner is forced to go through the catcher’s knee to get the plate.  Getting to home plate by any means necessary is part of every base runner’s job description, so the results are entirely predictable.

Carlos made a rookie mistake, and it’s one he’ll never make again.  Let’s hope he isn’t so badly hurt that it ruins his career.

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8 Comments on “Carlos Santana’s Injury His Own Fault”

  1. Are you Kidding me? Says:

    I hope this is some sort of satirical piece. The runner was OUT at the plate, meaning that the ball was there before he was. His positioning was that of just about every other catcher in the league, without question. He got hit in an awkward position by a runner who didn’t have a plan. Kalish essentially jumped knees first into and through Santana’s leg. Aside from the fact that he shouldn’t have even been sent with 1 out in a 4 run game with the ball hit to a player with one of the 3 best arms in the league.

  2. BA Says:

    ballplayers make millions , Santana is one of the best catchers to come into the game in a while. He shows enthusiasm, a hard playing team player, and does more than expected of him and you just have no feeling for a player earning his salary. sports needs more Carlos Santana’s and less of you. I will not read articles from you again and going to try to get your comments on Bruce Drennan’s show tonight so all of Cleveland can see what an idiot you are.

  3. arnold Says:

    So here we have a 22-year-old playing the toughest position in baseball, playing hard for a hopeless team, woefully underpaid given the expectations people have of him, and because he didn’t execute a play to your liking, he “deserved” to get catastrophically injured?

    Eat shit, you idiot.

  4. Burly Says:

    Whether or not you like my choice of words, the fact is that the rules don’t allow a catcher to block the plate without the ball. Whether or not it’s enforced, if a catcher does so, he’s going to have to live with the consequences.

    As for the runner, Kalish, “not having a plan”, that’s ridiculous. Kalish was trying to score, which is what he’s supposed to do as the runner on third. He had to make a split second decision whether to try to go around or go through.

    Obviously, Santana also made a split second decision, but it was a bad one, and he quite literally set himself up to get hurt. Santana did not have the ball when the collision first occurred, because it isn’t likely he would have been hurt if he’d caught the ball and had time to set himself. He made the play and got the out, because Kalish couldn’t get past him.

  5. Sorry Burly Says:

    Kalish himself said that his plan was to slide between Santana’s legs and get his foot in there. It was a bad slide, not dirty, just a bad attempt at a slide. However, Santana did not make a “split second decision”. He did what every catcher in baseball has done legally for as long as I have watched baseball. He made the play and got the out because he fielded and had the ball when Kalish was 3 feet away from the plate.

    Here is the rule that you keep incorrectly referencing:

    “Rule 7.06(b) Comment: Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.
    NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.”

    You seem to be leaving out the part about the allowed to be in the baseline when he is fielding a ball or already has the ball in his hand. Santana was fielding the ball thrown to him, therefore it isn’t obstruction. Another ruling on the same rule: “RULING: This is not obstruction. For it to be obstruction the catcher would have to stay in that spot without the ball making the runner move around her to get to home plate.” Santana both was fielding and had the ball prior to Kalish getting to the plate (hence why he was out at the plate), but according to the rule, even if you don’t have the ball, you can still be in that position while you are in the act of fielding the ball.

    Read the rules of the game before you post inflammatory (and incorrect) things.

    • Burly Says:

      That is your interpretation of the rule, and the one the MLB appears to share for the reasons I note in the article (fans like dramatic plays at the plate). However, it makes these types of collisions inevitable, and it is not the way the rule has always been interpreted. Catchers did not block the plate the way they do now until after World War II.

      Whether or not Kalish could have made a better slide, in watching the video again, it still looks to me like Kalish first made contact with Santana’s leg before, not after, Santana applied the tag. Because Santana’s body was in the field of play at the time Kalish had to make a decision, Kalish probably thought he couldn’t put an upright block on Santana. Because Santana’s leg was blocking Kalish’s route to the plate, Kalish really couldn’t go around.

      At the last moment, Kalish tried to slide under, which is why he came in high. In fact, after the tag was applied, Kalish did, in fact, cross home plate because Santana had only his leg, not his body, in front of the plate. I still think Santana’s positioning on this play is the biggest factor in his getting hurt.

  6. KG Says:

    You’re going to get peared so hard in your comments for this article.

  7. John Says:

    Epic word battles are what originally drew me to the internet……


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