As Bill wrote last night, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has taken heat for his slide into Pirates catcher Elias Diaz in the eighth inning of yesterday’s Cubs-Pirates game. Specifically, the heat was over the fact that, even though Rizzo was forced out at home well before he began his slide, he still deviated from his path in order to take out Diaz’s legs.
This appeared to be a pretty obvious violation of Rule 6.01(i), but the umpires and the replay officials somehow ruled it a clean slide. Jesse Rogers of ESPN reports this afternoon, however, that Major League Baseball feels differently about it:
Breaking: Source indicates the league believes interference should have been called yesterday re Anthony Rizzo’s 8th inning slide at home plate. Both teams have been informed of that decision which differs from the call on the field and the umpires video review.
I suspect that the reason MLB made a point to inform both teams about it is to limit the possibility of the Pirates retaliating against Rizzo or other Cubs batters. Whether that effectively ends things will not be known until tonight’s game.
UPDATE: You will not be surprised to learn that Rizzo does not agree with that assessment, saying that he was “just trying to break up the double play” and that he had no intention of hurting anyone. He added a few “it is what it ises.”
Which is exactly what you’d expect him to say. The stuff about his intent is sort of beside the point, however. The idea of the new slide rules is to take intent out of it for the most part. You have a lane to slide in. If you can’t do what you’re trying to do while staying in your line, you broke the rules. It is, as Rizzo says, what it is.