Anthony Rizzo collided with San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges Monday night in what, by any definition of the term, was a dirty play. On Tuesday, in a decision that made absolutely no sense, Major League Baseball confirmed that the collision Rizzo initiated was illegal, but then opted not to discipline him in any way.
The Chicago Cubs first baseman went out of his way to plow into Hedges in an attempt to knock the ball loose. For his part, Hedges did what he was supposed to do: give the runner a clear path to the plate. Rather than take it, Rizzo went out of his way to lay a hit on Hedges. It was a clear violation of Rule 6.01 (i), the so-called “Buster Posey Rule” that reads as follows:
” A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate), or otherwise initiate an avoidable collision.”
Video of the play in question follows, watch how Rizzo crosses the baseline to his left and initiates contact, deviating from his path to the plate rather than taking the outside line that is clearly available to him:
Here’s another look with Padres manager Andy Green discussing it:
Hedges had to leave the game with an injury and is now day-to-day. Baseball has since ruled Rizzo’s slide illegal. So why hasn’t Rizzo been punished? It’s absolutely ridiculous. Even a one-game suspension or a fine would be something. Instead, he’s in the lineup Tuesday night and Hedges isn’t because of a dirty play that violated a rule put in place for player safety.
There’s no question that Major League Baseball is being extremely selective with its discipline here. You can’t just decide who to punish based on an arbitrary standard when a rule has been violated.
I don’t think Rizzo is a dirty player. In fact, I like him a lot. But there is zero question in my mind that was a dirty play, and Hedges is extremely lucky he wasn’t more seriously injured. Rizzo should have to pay for breaking a rule just like everyone else. Hell, Yasiel Puig was suspended for flipping off some fans and Rizzo got nothing for injuring a defenseless catcher? This is insane.
I get that Rizzo is the face of one of baseball’s best teams and that by all accounts he’s a great guy, but that shouldn’t matter. What he did was illegal and there needs to be some level of accountability for it. Letting him off with no punishment is absurd and smacks of favoritism.