PHOENIX, AZ: Scott Cousins #33 of the Florida Marlins walks through the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. The Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks 5-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Scott Cousins ended Buster Posey's 2011 season in a terrible home-plate collision last spring, but Cousins didn't last much longer. Now he's trying to come back, just like Posey.
You remember Scott Cousins. Looked like he'd get a good chance to play in the majors last spring, with the club short-handed in the outfield. He was looking to make a name for himself.
Which he did. Last May, he did this:
Cousins' season ended less than three weeks later because of a herniated disc unrelated to the collision. He's not eager to revisit a period that was painful in more ways than one.
"It's past," he said Monday. "That was last year. This is a new season for me and Buster."
Posey has recovered from the injury, which included a broken bone and three torn ankle ligaments. Giants fans vilified Cousins, who endured death threats and a bout of depression while expressing only remorse for what happened.
"He's a nicer guy than me," teammate Logan Morrison said. "It was difficult for me watching him go through it."
Cousins insists moving beyond the episode wasn't difficult, because he did nothing wrong. When Posey tried to block the plate, Cousins slammed into him and scored the winning run.
"I know in my heart what I did was the right play," Cousins said. "You can look yourself in the mirror for that."
However, while Posey has watched replays multiple times, Cousins said he has never seen the play. He apologized repeatedly for the outcome and tried to contact Posey, but they've had no communication.
There are two bits of "news" here:
One, Cousins endured "a bout of depression" ... I would like to read more about that. Wouldn't you? Not in a voyeuristic sort of way, but this seems like a big part of the story and it's mentioned just in passing? I admire Cousins for disclosing his bout; it's just that I'm left wanting more. Perhaps because of my own bout. Perhaps because most of the rest of this is just the usual baseball stuff.
Two, isn't it telling that Cousins and Posey haven't communicated? Does this suggest that Posey doesn't agree that what Cousins did was "the right play"? I don't believe it was the right play, though I blame MLB and the Players Association more than I blame Scott Cousins. He was merely doing what he's been trained to do.
About his comeback this spring ... I am surprised to learn that Scott Cousins has the grand total of 96 plate appearances in the major leagues. He's 27, and his minor-league numbers are decent but far from outstanding. He projects as a fourth outfielder, at best. Which means, like it or not, he'll probably spend the rest of his life being remembered for essentially one thing.
Which won't be easy, and I would not wish it on anyone.