Second Cubs-Pirates slide incident has Joe Maddon asking for clarity

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Thursday, May 31, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- Another attempted takeout slide, this time at second base, provided an opportunity for Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon to express his opinion again -- albeit in a sarcastic tone -- about the slide rules which have dominated the conversation between the Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates this week.

The scenario unfolded when Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove slid hard into second base in the bottom of the fourth inning, popping back up and into second baseman Javier Baez, who was about to attempt a throw to first for a double play. He never got the throw off as the two players had words which amounted to very little, even though both benches and bullpens cleared. The play opened the door for Maddon to challenge the slide -- which he thought was legal anyway.

"That's a New York play right there," Maddon said sarcastically after the Cubs' 2-1 loss. "They'll have to explain it to us. It was very unclear on the field. I'll wait to hear the explanation, the official one, tomorrow."

His comments were in regard to a play on Monday when first baseman Anthony Rizzo slid into catcher Elias Diaz attempting to break up a home-to-first double play. The umpires deemed it a legal slide but the league reversed that ruling on Tuesday, infuriating Maddon. It turned out the Musgrove slide wasn't reviewable because Baez never attempted to make a throw to first base.

"It was a review which turned out to be a non-review," Maddon continued. "That's what they said, based on Javy not attempting to throw ... Throwing the ball, not throwing the ball. Good slide, bad slide. It's really all over the map and it makes it really difficult on the umpire."

Baez said there really wasn't a need for the benches to come out to second base. He and Musgrove were fine.

"He went hard," Baez said. "I'm not saying it was a bad slide. I asked him, 'What was that about?' He said 'sorry' and the conversation was over. Everybody came out because they have to. Sometimes players are just talking."

Maddon found the whole thing entertaining, as there was no reason for the teams to gather on the infield.

"We were pairing up," he said. "I was going for [first-base coach] Kimera Bartee because I've known him for a long time. He wanted Chili [Davis], but I stepped in front. It was an absurd moment.

"I thought it was rather humorous because there was nothing going on. Absolutely, a nondescript nothing."

After the game, probably to avoid being called a hypocrite considering his stance on Monday, Maddon made it clear he thought Musgrove did nothing wrong.

"I had no problem with the slide, first of all," Maddon said. "Second of all, it all creates the ambiguity regarding the definition. I just need more definition."

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