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Mike Matheny discusses the collision rule - A Hunt and Peck

Mike Matheny makes a good point

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals defeated the Cubs 5-3 on a lovely Saturday afternoon. During that game the Cardinals were aided by a ruling at second base which called a Cubs runner, Anthony Rizzo, out at first due the the runner at second, Ian Happ, colliding with shortstop Aledmys Díaz. The double play prevented a run from scoring and helped the Cardinals maintain their lead.

Naturally the Cubs were not happy. Per ESPN:

"I have no idea why these rules are a part of our game. Outs are rewarded based on a fabricated rule," [Joe] Maddon said. "I'm not blaming the umpire. Umpires do what they have to do. I think we have a tendency to micromanage stuff that we have no business to do. Don't give me all protectionism stuff because I'm not buying into it. It's wrong."

And just to make sure we were all clear, Jon Lester threw in (but not to first base, of course)  some toxic masculinity over the disintegrating toughness of baseball:

"The game was meant to be played a certain way," Cubs lefty Jon Lester said. "There was nothing wrong with that slide that Happ did. I told him in the dugout, next time, do the same thing. That’s baseball, man. We’re out there playing with a bunch of pansies right now. I’m over it. I’m over this damn slide rule, replaying if it was too far and all this other BS, man. We’re all men out there. We’re grown men.*"

So, with all that being said, it was refreshing to read what Mike Matheny had to say on the subject. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

"As a manager I need to keep my guys on the field," he explained Sunday in the dugout. "You’re not going to soften (baseball). The true toughness of the game is playing every single day. That’s what separates us from every other sport. It’s not the collisions. It’s not the impact at second base. That’s not what the challenge is. Our challenge is to get back out there every single day. There is enough of a grind that no other sport has had to deal with. For us to put guys intentionally in a situation where they can get hurt just doesn’t make sense....

I just don’t see the reward of that play and upending a guy as far as what the risk is. It’s just not worth it. That’s not what this game is about. Call us soft. Call us whatever you want. But our game is about the grind. Our game is about playing the game hard, and I think you make those changes from the business perspective that will give us the best chance to put your best team out there and the best players on a consistent basis and limit injury."

Mike Matheny is exactly right. Not often will we get to utter the phrase "Mike Matheny owns Joe Maddon" so we should really relish this. Soak it in, folks. Because Mike Matheny nails it. Baseball is not about collisions. It is more intricate than that. It is about a hitter making decisions in a fraction of a second, a pitcher placing his fingers on a ball just the right place to make it move in ways that seem impossible, fielders reading the way the ball will bounce to catch it perfectly. And these players do this almost every day for at least six months. Baseball is tough. And if Joe Maddon and Jon Lester cannot appreciate that, then they are the ones that need to change, not baseball.

*says the man who, to my knowledge, has never been involved in an on-field collision in his career

Carlos Martinez gets 2 hits, Cardinals beat Cubs 5-3 | ESPN

Sarcastic Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has 'ideas' for safety rules | ESPN

While Maddon jokes, Matheny's view of collisions evolves | St. Louis Cardinals |

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