On Saturday, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ slid into Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz, attempting to break up an inning-ending double play in the fifth. Two years ago, Happ would have successfully broken up the double play, helping his team score in the process. But after the “Chase Utley rule” was implemented after the 2015 playoffs, Happ was in violation. Batter Anthony Rizzo was correctly called out as a result of Happ’s slide.
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Cubs manager Joe Maddon isn’t a fan of the slide rule. As ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports, Maddon said, “I have no idea why these rules are part of our game. There was an out created there. That was just one out they did not have to earn. I totally, absolutely disagree with that. It has nothing to do with safety and protecting the middle infielder.”
Starter Jon Lester is also not a fan. The lefty said, “Baseball has been played for over 100 years the exact same way, and now we’re trying to change everything and make it soft. That’s baseball, man. We’re out there playing with a bunch of pansies right now. I’m over this damn slide rule and replaying if it’s too far and all this other B.S. We’re grown men out there.”
One wonders if Maddon and Lester will protest just as loudly when the slide rule benefits the Cubs as it will almost certainly do at some point during the season.