Last Sunday afternoon the LA Angels were locked up in an intense battle with division-leading Houston. With the score tied at 10 in the bottom of the eighth. Jake Marisnick tagged up in an attempt to score.
LA Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy prepared to take the throw from Kole Calhoun in attempt to keep Marisnick from scoring the go-ahead run. As the throw caused Lucroy to go up the line to the right of the baseline, Marisnick launched himself into the air like a middle linebacker honing in on a ball carrier in football. Marisnick lowered his shoulder put his head into Lucroy and knocked Lucroy into the middle of next week. Lucroy was knocked out cold and ended u with a broken nose and a concussion.
In old school baseball, pre-Buster Posey rule, this would have been a total legal play and at times I do miss that era, but as time moves on things change.
The rule, according to MLB.com, reads as follows:
"OFFICIAL BASEBALL RULE 7.13Collisions at home plateA 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). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball). In such circumstances, the umpire shall call the ball dead, and all other baserunners shall return to the last base touched at the time of the collision.Rule 7.13 comment: The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of Rule 7.13. If the runner slides into the plate in an appropriate manner, he shall not be adjudged to have violated Rule 7.13. A slide shall be deemed appropriate, in the case of a feet first slide, if the runner’s buttocks and legs should hit the ground before contact with the catcher. In the case of a head first slide, a runner shall be deemed to have slid appropriately if his body should hit the ground before contact with the catcher."
Whether or not he intended to do so Marisnick did deviate from a direct pathway to the plate and initiated contact with Lucroy. Furthermore, if you look at where Marisnick was when he made contact he was making an effort to touch the plate and he also lowered his shoulder and put his elbow and arms into Lucroy’s face and head. This is the reason after looking at the replay Marisnick was ruled out.
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To Marisnick’s credit once he knocked Lucroy out he went to check on him and did reach out to him that night/or the next morning. I do not think he was intentionally trying to injure Lucroy, he was just trying to score the go-ahead run. However, what he did was reckless diving into Lucroy like a guided missle. He then tried to explain his case to the media in hopes of avoiding an almost sure suspension.
Commisioner Rob Manfred weighed in on the matter saying “The most important thing-the rule was about the health & safety of players. It was designed to prevent the kind of collision we saw that night..”
Angels manager Brad Ausmus, who was a catcher himself, also thought a suspension should be issued for Marisnick.
On Thursday Major League Baseball Chief Baseball Officer in charge of discipline Joe Torre, made his final ruling. Marisnick would be suspended for just two games. The suspension was very light for the viciousness of the play. Lucroy will probably be at least out for three to four weeks maybe longer. Marisnick will be 1/15th of that time which I don’t see as fair.
Here is what Joe Torre said upon making his ruling on the play.
However, to make matters worse Marisnick is complaining that he was even suspended and has appealed the two-game suspension. He has asked to meet with MLB officials. Here is what Marisnick has to say:
So Marisnick is complaining about a two-game suspension when it could have been a lot longer. He is not even an every-day player as he only has four at-bats in seven Astros games in July. Marisnick should just say I don’t agree with this penalty, but I will respect the decision of the MLB and serve my suspension. Even though intent was not there Marisnick still made a mistake on reading the play and it hurt someone.
It is just like a car accident somebody does a risky maneuver and doesn’t judge their distance properly and causes a car accident. The drive didn’t have an intent to injure anybody, but they still have to pay a fine and have points put against their license. That is what is happening here. Marisnick even admitted the night the play happened that he made a mistake.
I will say though the hatred being shown by the Angel fans and others for Marisnick is unwarranted. I believe in my heart he didn’t want to see Lucroy get injured, but it happened. Marisnick I’m sure is not a bad guy, reckless in this case, yes, but not bad or evil or what other metaphor people are choosing to describe him. I will admit earlier I used a term for him that i shouldn’t have changing a letter in his last name, which I should not have said. I was speaking out of frustration for the ruling,but realizing my
The only thing I do not like that Marisnick is doing is appealing/complaining about his suspension. So please Angel Nation let’s move on and focus on what really matters which is remembering Tyler Skaggs on Friday night.
If you want to be upset at anyone it is Joe Torre and Rob Manfred they should have made this suspension longer for Marisnick. This sets a bad precedent for future plays like this. If Marisnick only got two games for what he did to Lucroy you will see more guys playing reckless because they know the penalty will not be that severe.
The final word I will leave you with is a demo/explanation of the play done by MLB Network, take a look. They did a very good job analyzing the play.
Get well soon Jonathan Lucroy, hope to see you back on the field soon, you will be missed.