A day after Anthony Rizzo’s slide into home plate sparked outrage from Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and the entire city of Pittsburgh, Major League Baseball has weighed in.
As first reported by ESPN, MLB told the Cubs and Pirates on Tuesday that the play, which was ruled clean at the time, should have been called interference. That ruling sorta/kinda/maybe wraps up a controversy that has been arguably the biggest story in baseball pretty much since the eighth inning of Monday’s Chicago-Pittsburgh contest Monday.
The play in question occurred with no one out and the bases loaded, when Rizzo raced for home on a ground ball to shortstop and slid directly into the leg of Pirates catcher Elias Diaz, who was positioned well out in front of home plate. The umpires did not call interference at the time, and the call stood on review, but many fans, analysts and players thought upon seeing the replay that the slide was dirty.
Here’s the play:
— Aldo Soto (@AldoSoto21) May 28, 2018
As much of the baseball world has condemned Rizzo’s slide, the Cubs and their fans have remained adamant that there was nothing wrong with it. And that apparently didn’t change Tuesday when MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre offered his perspective. Maddon told reporters that he argued against Torre’s judgement, insisting that “there’s nothing wrong with that play.”
#Cubs Maddon did talk to Joe Torre re: Rizzo play. Joe: "I told him with all due respect I absolutely disagree. There's nothing wrong with that play. Again the umpires got it right both in New York and on the field last night"
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) May 29, 2018
Diaz and the Pirates, meanwhile, said Tuesday that it’s time to move on from the whole thing.
It’s worth noting that there are actually two open questions with regards to Rizzo’s slide. No. 1: Was it legal according to baseball’s rulebook? That’s something for the umpires, Torre and MLB to sort out. And No. 2: Was it a dirty play that needlessly risked injury to Diaz? Determining that doesn’t take a Ph. D in baseball minutiae. It merely requires a glance at where Diaz was standing, where home plate was and where Rizzo slid.