In the Chicago Cubs win on Monday over the San Diego Padres, Matt Szczur threw a strike to catcher Austin Hedges. Anthony Rizzo then plowed into Hedges, forcing him to leave the game. It was a violation of Rule 7.13 “The Posey Rule”, put in place to protect the catcher. But was it intentional? MLB didn’t think so.
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo had a phone call with MLB’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre about last night’s play at home plate. According to Twitter–in San Diego at least–Rizzo took a “cheap shot” and should have been suspended and/or fined. From the side of Chicago, it was a clean play, and everyone should move on. While there may be some ambiguity to the rule, Torre chose not to discipline Rizzo. And cue the angry Padres’ fans.
I’ll admit, the rule was put in place to protect the catcher from serious injury. Rizzo did appear to drift towards the inside of the baseline when making contact with Hedges. But this is where I don’t like the rule. After the catch–which Hedges did indeed give him a “lane”–where is the 6-3, 240 pound Rizzo supposed to go? To that tiny edge of the plate so he can be tagged out? No. Rizzo did what he believed to be right, and the call wasn’t made on the field, either. Had he been ruled safe, the Padres may have challenged. But the MLB choosing not to discipline Rizzo wasn’t wrong, regardless of how Padres fans feel about it.
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"“No discipline coming my way,” Rizzo said. “The league looked at it, and it’s over with now.”"
Enforcement is the problem
The issue lies with the MLB and their overall enforcement of the rule. This isn’t the first time a player has violated the rule. But since it was put in place? ZERO players have been disciplined for a violation of it. Could it be because there is too much “gray area? Possibly. And if a player was to clearly try to injure the catcher, I’m sure that would draw a suspension or fine. But as of now, there’s been nothing the MLB has deemed to fall into that category.
The collision at the plate used to be “part of the game.” If you don’t remember when it was, be sure to watch the following video. And yes, Pete Rose did it in an All-Star Game.
The group over at SB Nation had quite a bit to say about the play. Claiming the Cubs are now “more villainous” than they were before. The Cubs went 108 years without a World Series. They finally win one, Rizzo violates Rule 7.13, and now we’re as villainous as the Mets and Dodgers? Haha. You’re cute kids. Keep complaining.
Last year, Joe Maddon was a genius. Scripting the Cubs season with the moves he made. Now he’s clueless. It took even less time than I thought for people to turn against the Cubs. Those that were “happy” to see them win last year have entirely turned against them–like those yo-yo’s over at SB Nation. So be it. The whole thing is over with. And in the end? Rizzo got the last laugh with ANOTHER leadoff home run.