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With the bases loaded in the eighth inning of Monday’s Cubs-Pirates game at PNC Park, Chicago catcher Chris Gimenez grounded to shortstop, sending Anthony Rizzo scampering toward home plate as Sean Rodriguez attempted to throw him out.

Rodriguez’s throw beat Rizzo comfortably, but Rizzo nonetheless slid into the plate — and into the right leg of catcher Elias Diaz, whose relay to first sailed high.

When the dust settled, Rizzo was out, but Diaz was writhing on the ground, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was angry about what looked to be an extremely questionable slide. Take a look for yourself:

Some people, including the Cubs’ broadcast team, defended Rizzo’s slide on the basis that he more or less stayed in the baseline and directed himself toward the plate. But it’s quite clear why the Pirates were upset. With the entire plate area free to him, Rizzo slid inside the foul line and aimed directly for Diaz’s leg. He made contact with Diaz a solid six feet in front of home. There was no particular reason for Rizzo to be there, except to get in Diaz’s way and risk an ugly injury in the process.

The Pirates challenged the play, contending Rizzo had interfered, but the call stood because apparently MLB rules allow baserunners to slide into the exposed legs of catchers with their backs turned. That sure seems like something they should look at.

Diaz, thankfully, remained in the game and appears to be all right. Next time Rizzo slides like that, the catcher might not be so lucky.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

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