SAN FRANCISCO—The people of the United States confirmed this week that seeing a horrific home plate collision fracture the left ankle and shred the ligaments of Giants catcher Buster Posey on May 25 provided exactly the spark they needed to renew their love affair with baseball.
Americans nationwide said the cringe-inducing sight of Posey’s lower leg breaking after Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins lowered his shoulder and slammed into the catcher was a reminder of why they fell in love with baseball in the first place, stirring feelings of warmth and affection they had not felt in years.
"For a long time, I couldn’t stand being in the same room if a baseball game was on television," 44-year-old Seattle resident Stephen Wilson said. "But then you watch something as traumatic and nauseating as Buster’s ankle snapping in half, and it makes you realize that baseball can be a lot of fun."
"This is the game I grew up watching," Wilson added. "I showed the replay to my kids, and they’ve been begging me to take them to a Mariners game ever since."
The majority of Americans said their passion for baseball was instantly reignited when they witnessed Cousins score the game-winning run in the 12th inning by flattening Posey and leaving the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year writhing in pain. Viewers reportedly agreed the only way the stomach-churning sight could have more engaging would have been if Cousins had also suffered a dislocated shoulder, broken collarbone, or "one of those compound fractures, the kind where the bone is sticking out of the arm."
Gene Olszewski, 58, a White Sox fan from Lake Forest, IL, admitted that until he saw Buster Posey’s season brutally cut short by a hard-nosed hit at home plate, his relationship with baseball had grown stale and he was no longer attracted to the sport.
"You see baseball every day and it just gets to be the same old dull thing after a while," Olszewski said. "I just got tired of seeing all the same negative patterns like low scores and boring pitcher duels. I want a little action every so often, and a lot of people feel the same way."
"Seeing a game decided by a devastating full-contact hit—especially one that knocks a rising young star out for the season—made me remember how much I still love baseball," Olszewski added.
A statement released Wednesday by Major League Baseball claims that attendance at games has significantly increased since the sickening injury to Posey, as enthusiastic fans "catch collision fever" and show up in droves hoping to watch something awful happen to one of their favorite players in person.
"My heart goes out to Buster Posey, because I know he’s in a lot of pain, but when his leg just collapsed underneath him and then he went limp and flopped down on the ground and didn’t move… That was probably the best thing to happen to baseball in 50 years," said MLB commissioner Bud Selig. "And I wish him a speedy recovery. Hopefully he can get back on the field really soon and next time get both his legs broken."
Although the nation is encouraged by the increasing number of players seriously injured by errant pitches or line drives to the head, many expressed concerns about committing fully to baseball unless rules are changed to allow for more violent outcomes to previously routine plays.
"They’ve got to make it so that base runners have a greater chance of slamming their cleats into faces of fielders when they slide into the bag," said Los Angeles resident and new Dodger fan Eric McGill. "But to counter that, fielders should be allowed to tag a base runner out by pummeling him with the ball until he loses consciousness."
"Plus, they should have bench-clearing brawls at the top of every inning," McGill added. "And try to find a way to use their bats during the fights."
The gruesome home plate collision has also reportedly rekindled the love of baseball for a number of previously jaded MLB players.
"I can’t watch that replay without getting kind of nervous and all excited like I have butterflies in my stomach," said Buster Posey, who recently underwent surgery to repair his ankle and will be on crutches for two months. "It’s pretty badass. My feet weren’t really set correctly, and then he plows into me and my leg just bends completely the wrong way. It was super gross, but, man. Baseball is fucking awesome."