It's understandable, even admirable, that Florida Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins feels terrible about the home-plate collision last week in which he destroyed the lower left leg of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year from Florida State.
He wasn't trying to hurt him.
Cousins was merely playing baseball, which, on occasion, can be a contact sport. He was trying to score the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. He was doing what needed to be done to help his playoff-caliber team win a hard-fought game on the road.
Unfortunately, when Cousins lowered his shoulder and crashed into the catcher, who was partially blocking the runner's path while attempting to catch a throw from right field, Posey's left leg bent awkwardly beneath him.
It was a gruesome sight. It wasn't a dirty play. It was two major leaguers doing their jobs.
"That's the last thing I wanted to do -- break a guy's leg," Cousins told the Palm Beach Post, a day after Posey suffered a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle.
Posey's injuries, though, were a jolt to the Giants, the reigning World Series champions who've lost one of their most valuable and popular players, probably for the rest of the season.
So it's not surprising that their manager, Bruce Bochy, who wants this collision to have an impact, already has suggested rule changes to protect catchers in such situations.
But it is ridiculous -- almost as silly as Bochy saying Cousins could've avoided the collision by sliding around Posey but chose, instead, to slam into him in an attempt to jar the ball loose.
Think about it: Cousins tags up at third base on a sacrifice fly and charges home, racing against the throw to the plate, which is being at least partially blocked by the catcher.
Fully expecting the ball to be caught, he decides his best -- maybe only -- chance to score is to crash into the catcher and separate him from the ball.
Then, just five feet from home, while at full throttle, he notices there's a piece of the plate that he might be able to reach with a slide.
And in that instant, he's supposed to change his mind? Bochy, a former big-league catcher, has been around long enough to know better. He should know these collisions are part of baseball -- same as runners sliding hard into second base to break up double plays, and middle infielders throwing head-high to first base to force oncoming runners get down, and pitchers throwing inside to back off batters.
Do we change those rules, too? I feel for Posey.
So does Cousins.
But it wasn't too long ago that Texas' Josh Hamilton, with the plate blocked, opted to slide, was tagged out and ended up on the disabled list with a crack in his upper arm.
Guess how he felt?