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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Cincinnati Reds unhappy with Luke Voit for ‘dirty’ slide into Tyler Stephenson: ‘It looked like a wrestling move’

The Reds are upset with Padres slugger Luke Voit for his collision at home plate that left Cincinnati catcher Tyler Stephenson with a concussion on Tuesday night in San Diego.

“The way his hands hit him, it was dirty as f—-,” Reds outfielder Tommy Pham told reporters. “I don’t like it at all. The way [Voit’s] hands hit [Stephenson] in the face, it was dirty.

“If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well. Anything—Muay Thai, whatever. I’ve got a [gym] owner here who will let me use his facility.”

Voit slammed into Stephenson while trying to score from first on Jurickson Profar’s first-inning double. As he went into his slide, Voit raised his arms and then brought them down forcefully into Stephenson’s head as he landed.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 11:05 AM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catcher collisions, luke voit

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   1. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 12:05 PM (#6072696)
This is one of those plays where I feel like there are going to be three camps - one that thinks it was completely dirty, one that thinks it was totally inadvertent, and one that thinks it's too tough to tell. The dirty camp and the inadvertent camp are both going to be utterly baffled as to how anyone could think differently based on the video evidence (and I'm fully aware I've been one of those guys on these sorts of discussions in the past).

I'm on the fence on this one. I'm not a fan (or a hater) of either team, so I feel like I'm unbiased. To me this looked like a big guy who's not the best baserunner making an awkward slide while trying to avoid the catcher...kind of. Stephenson is doing his best on a tough throw to give the runner a lane to home plate, but because it takes him across the third baseline into foul territory, he's in an awkward spot. Voit's slide is all kinds of bad in terms of effectiveness, but he's also caught off-guard by having to adjust his slide from the outside of the plate to the inside. The thing that makes this look ugly is how he brings his arm down as he makes contact with Stephenson. That could definitely be dirty and while I think Pham is a bit over-exuberant in his comments, I understand the sentiment. At best, it was a reckless thing to do with his arms.

If you had to make me pick one side or the other, I'm leaning toward the slide being bad and awkward and unfortunate due to the throw, but not dirty or illegal. I just don't think there's enough evidence on tape to say he definitely did it on purpose. Guys put their hands up when they slide and when your hands are up and you get contacted hard in the midsection, you often bring them down out of reflex in order to protect yourself. I could see the other side, though. What Voit did with his arms was really dangerous and resulted in a serious injury.
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 20, 2022 at 12:24 PM (#6072698)
I'm with Gary. The catcher lunged at Voit, and Voit tried to go around him but got cut off. I can't see that as anything intentionally harmful.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 12:26 PM (#6072699)
I'm in team inadvertent.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6072700)
I'd say I'm among the most adamant on here about outlawing any kind of dangerous slides at home or on the bases, and I can't see anything wrong with this. He slid. He didn't try to take him out. His hands came down as a result of banging into the catcher with his lower half. The sport and should make plays at the plate and bases safer, but sometimes collisions happen.
   5. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 20, 2022 at 01:03 PM (#6072707)
The hand motion is the thing that makes it look worse than it was. I think that was a relatively (compared to other MLB players) unathletic player having to do something he doesn't normally do. See also Garrett Whitlock sliding into first base while covering the bag last night.

But what I found interesting is Orsillo saying that when the catcher has the ball you can blow him up. Is that true? I thought that was no longer allowed.
   6. Dolf Lucky Posted: April 20, 2022 at 02:04 PM (#6072722)
I'm biased towards the Reds, but this didn't look dirty. Just unfortunate. Some of the player comments are almost certainly coming from a place of deep frustration.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2022 at 02:21 PM (#6072726)
Yes Jose, if the catcher has the ball and is waiting for you, you are still allowed to run him over. It’s asinine, but it’s true.
   8. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 02:32 PM (#6072730)
Yes Jose, if the catcher has the ball and is waiting for you, you are still allowed to run him over. It’s asinine, but it’s true.


Really? I thought they did away with that while at the same time forcing catchers to allow a path to slide into home. Several years ago there were a bunch of calls that were reviewed on whether or not the catcher provided a path to home, although I rarely see that argued at all any more. I thought the Scioscia Special was outlawed at the same time, but maybe I'm misremembering. I can't recall a play like that in the last few years.
   9. Zach Posted: April 20, 2022 at 02:33 PM (#6072731)
Tbhe runner didn't blow the catcher up. The catcher threw himself in the runner's way.

The catcher's body is outside the basepath, and the runner slid inside the base path. The catcher threw his upper body inside the basepath, which initiated the contact.

   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 20, 2022 at 03:06 PM (#6072744)
But what I found interesting is Orsillo saying that when the catcher has the ball you can blow him up. Is that true?
That’s my recollection of the discussion when the rule change was made. However, if the catcher can’t block the plate without the ball, and has to give the runner a lane, there is less reason to run over the catcher.

On the slide, it looked pretty ordinary for a less than stellar baserunner.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2022 at 03:18 PM (#6072748)
Really? I thought they did away with that while at the same time forcing catchers to allow a path to slide into home.


That's the common misconception, because that would have made sense. But no, if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the plate, the runner can truck him. It figures MLB can't even get things right when they try to get things right.
   12. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 03:31 PM (#6072751)
That's the common misconception, because that would have made sense. But no, if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the plate, the runner can truck him. It figures MLB can't even get things right when they try to get things right.


Thanks for the clarification. Do you have any idea on how many "truckings" we've had in recent years? I can't recall any off the top of my head, and I think those would be news now that they should be relatively rare.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6072753)
I know Anthony Rizzo and Matt Kemp ran over catchers since the change. If there were others, I didn't learn about them.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: April 20, 2022 at 05:13 PM (#6072772)
Cubs-Rays had a replay review of this rule just yesterday. No collision, not really any contact at all, just a question of whether Contreras was in the way. Sciambi and JD specifically mentioned that you don't see this reviewed much anymore (I think because catchers have adjusted so it's rarely an issue). Anyway, replay umps said it was no violation with which I agree -- Contreras provided a path, then the throw required him to move into the basepath. I'd say arguably he even still left a path. All that said, it was far from clear on the replay that Contreras actually tagged him but seems the Rays only asked for a review of the plate-blocking rule.
   15. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 05:26 PM (#6072778)
my understanding was that teams no longer have to specify what exactly is being reviewed. The review team is supposed to simply review everything now. No?
   16. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6072779)
Its not really clear what else Voit is supposed to do?

Legally he's sliding right toward home. He didnt change his path.

Even ethically what's he supposed to? Avoid Stephenson's head and try to touch home by going way inside and then tag with his hand? There's no way.
   17. NaOH Posted: April 20, 2022 at 05:42 PM (#6072782)
But no, if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the plate, the runner can truck him. It figures MLB can't even get things right when they try to get things right.


The most charitable "logic" for this I can muster is that MLB is okay with runner-catcher collisions if the catcher can't be blindsided. Since the catcher can't block the plate unless he has the ball, the thinking must be that if he's blocking the plate he can visually and physically prepare for an oncoming runner.
   18. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 20, 2022 at 06:02 PM (#6072787)
I think it looks bad, but is inadvertent. A key point is that Stephenson was inside the baseline for a long time, and shifted late to outside the line. Voit was about 10 feet away when the shift occurred.

Voit looks like he is coming straight into home on the back half of the plate. Stephenson shifts late, and Voit has to redirect to the front half. Then they are going to collide, Voit starts to hold up his arms to protect himself, and his giant meaty forearm hits an off-balance Stephenson in the head/neck, who hits the ground hard.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 06:03 PM (#6072788)
The runner didn't blow the catcher up. The catcher threw himself in the runner's way.

The catcher's body is outside the basepath, and the runner slid inside the base path. The catcher threw his upper body inside the basepath, which initiated the contact.


That's my take. Stephenson shouldn't have thrown his head into Voit's body.
   20. Cris E Posted: April 20, 2022 at 06:11 PM (#6072790)
I think Voit is clumsy, was going pretty fast, got a bit surprised and was worried about getting hit in the face by the catcher's head. I haven't heard a word from Voit that indicates anything else. Tommy Pham is proving himself annoying. A small part of me wants Luke Voit to be some deeply closeted MMA hobbyist that shows up in Tommy's yard unexpectedly and mops the place with him, then quietly Ubers back to the hotel. But just a small part: mostly I want the Tommy Phams of the world to learn some cliches and do less talking.
   21. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 20, 2022 at 06:58 PM (#6072799)
There's nothing here. It almost looks as if Voit realises the catcher's head/helmet is going to slam into his chest so he's trying to bring his arms down to prevent from taking the full helmet in the chest(which would really hurt I imagine). The slide is right within the base lines.

Pham really comes off as a douche here with his reaction.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 20, 2022 at 07:33 PM (#6072804)
Tommy Pham is proving himself annoying.
He does seem to get stabbed far more frequently than your average player.
   23. Space Force fan Posted: April 20, 2022 at 08:42 PM (#6072823)
The most charitable "logic" for this I can muster is that MLB is okay with runner-catcher collisions if the catcher can't be blindsided. Since the catcher can't block the plate unless he has the ball, the thinking must be that if he's blocking the plate he can visually and physically prepare for an oncoming runner.


My speculation is that it is still legal to collide with a catcher blocking the plate is that it's the catcher's choice to allow the collision. Since the catcher has the ball before the runner gets there, they have the choice of blocking the plate or giving a lane and doing a swipe tag. If they give a lane, they can't be touched, but there is a miniscule chance that the runner can evade the tag and score. If they are blocking the plate, there is no chance of the runner sliding around the catcher so they are allowed a small chance of scoring by knocking the ball out of the catcher's hand. Essentially, the rule is since this is a tag play, that the ball getting to home before the runner is not an automatic out and the catcher must give the runner a "chance" to score.
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 20, 2022 at 09:54 PM (#6072838)
My speculation is that it is still legal to collide with a catcher blocking the plate is that it's the catcher's choice to allow the collision. Since the catcher has the ball before the runner gets there, they have the choice of blocking the plate or giving a lane and doing a swipe tag. If they give a lane, they can't be touched, but there is a miniscule chance that the runner can evade the tag and score. If they are blocking the plate, there is no chance of the runner sliding around the catcher so they are allowed a small chance of scoring by knocking the ball out of the catcher's hand. Essentially, the rule is since this is a tag play, that the ball getting to home before the runner is not an automatic out and the catcher must give the runner a "chance" to score.

Which kind of makes sense. The fielder can't block the bag at any other base.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: April 20, 2022 at 09:59 PM (#6072839)
Since when, snapper?
   26. The Duke Posted: April 20, 2022 at 11:20 PM (#6072865)
He was out wasn't he? What's all the fuss about ?
   27. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 21, 2022 at 08:27 AM (#6072884)
You'll sometimes read about quarterbacks who are really good at avoiding getting injured in the way they get sacked, fall to the ground, etc. I remember Randall Cunningham, who played forever and never lost his speed and footwork, saying that he thought the best way for a quarterback to avoid injury on a hit was to go airborne right before the hit, because most bad injuries happen when a leg gets caught on the ground, twisted, etc. I always thought that was really smart, and his own career suggests there might be something to that.

Anyway, can anybody recall a catcher who was credited with being really smart about avoiding injuries by figuring out the "best way" to deal with home plate plays like this? It strikes me that the catcher could have lunged with his hands to make the tag, trying to keep his head out of the line of fire. I can't think of a catcher specifically known for this, but maybe somebody else can?
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 09:18 AM (#6072888)
Since when, snapper?

If the fielder is in the baseline the runner can run him over. He's not allowed to stand there with impunity. Why would the catcher be able to block the plate with impunity?

My preference is that the fielder not be allowed in the baseline, period. The runner must be allowed a direct path to the base.
   29. SoSH U at work Posted: April 21, 2022 at 09:32 AM (#6072890)
Ok. You said the fielder isn’t allowed to block any other base. They are, with the ball.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 10:19 AM (#6072896)
Ok. You said the fielder isn’t allowed to block any other base. They are, with the ball.

Right, I was unclear. They can't block the base and be exempt from contact.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: April 21, 2022 at 11:24 AM (#6072911)
My preference is that the fielder not be allowed in the baseline, period. The runner must be allowed a direct path to the base.


My preference is that if you're out by so much the fielder can be waiting for you with the ball and fully blocking the lane, your two options should be to turn around and go back the way you came from or give yourself up. Disembowlment should never be on the menu.

The folly of this is illustrated by the Arod play in the 2004 ALCS. If he had dislodged the ball from Bronson Arroyo's glove by running through him, rather than targeting his attack, it would have been perfectly legal.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 11:41 AM (#6072915)
My preference is that if you're out by so much the fielder can be waiting for you with the ball and fully blocking the lane, your two options should be to turn around and go back the way you came from or give yourself up. Disembowlment should never be on the menu.

I'd prefer the fielder not be allowed to block the base path. Step aside and tag him. The runner should always be allowed a path to the base.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: April 21, 2022 at 11:50 AM (#6072917)
I'd prefer the fielder not be allowed to block the base path. Step aside and tag him. The runner should always be allowed a path to the base.


I disagree. I don't think the fielder should have to wait there and give the runner a fighting chance if the ball clearly beats him. If the throw beats the runner by that much, he shouldn't have gone and he ought to be out (unless he can retreat to the previous base).

And one problem with your solution is if it happens in the middle of the base path. Why should a defender who wants to tag out a runner have to stand off to the side, giving the baserunner the opportunity to take the one step to the side to elude him? It's unnecessarily punitive to the defense in a situation where the ball has clearly beaten the runner.
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 03:05 PM (#6072959)
I disagree. I don't think the fielder should have to wait there and give the runner a fighting chance if the ball clearly beats him. If the throw beats the runner by that much, he shouldn't have gone and he ought to be out (unless he can retreat to the previous base).

And one problem with your solution is if it happens in the middle of the base path. Why should a defender who wants to tag out a runner have to stand off to the side, giving the baserunner the opportunity to take the one step to the side to elude him? It's unnecessarily punitive to the defense in a situation where the ball has clearly beaten the runner.


Your way produces boring give ups. My way produces exciting slide/tag dances that can lead to all sorts of weirdness. I'd rather give the running a fighting chance because it's more fun. More action is better than less action.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: April 21, 2022 at 03:19 PM (#6072966)
Your way produces boring give ups. My way produces exciting slide/tag dances that can lead to all sorts of weirdness. I'd rather give the running a fighting chance because it's more fun. More action is better than less action.


We have give-ups all the time. It happens at first when the pitcher fields a ball along the baseline. And allowing the second baseman to stand in the baseline still results in attempts to elude, either to the side or by reversing course. Making the catcher give the runner a fighting chance when the ball clearly beat him to the plate (or base) is punishing the defense in the hopes of generating excitement. I can't get behind that.

By the way, I thought you also wanted to ban hook slides and headfirst slides. Your ways seem to be shifting.

The most important thing is that baseball should be banning runners from blowing up defenders.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 03:31 PM (#6072970)

By the way, I thought you also wanted to ban hook slides and headfirst slides. Your ways seem to be shifting.


To be consistent, if you give the runner a clear path to the base, you have to require him to use it, otherwise he can go outside the path and still blow up the fielder. Headfirst slides are stupid; lots of injury risk for virtually no gain. Teams should ban them.

The most important thing is that baseball should be banning runners from blowing up defenders.

Which you can't do if fielders are allowed to be in the base line. If there's an absolute ban on running into fielders, then they can camp out if the base paths without the ball, and hinder runners.

My compromise is your ban running into fielders, and you also ban fielders from obstructing the base path. If the fielder has to impede the runner to make the play, the runner is safe.
   37. SoSH U at work Posted: April 21, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6072979)
To be consistent, if you give the runner a clear path to the base, you have to require him to use it, otherwise he can go outside the path and still blow up the fielder.


This makes no sense. Players don't try to do hook slides or head first dives into the fielder. They do it away from them. And if you have to go straight into the bag, you're not going to have any exciting slide/tag dances.

Which you can't do if fielders are allowed to be in the base line. If there's an absolute ban on running into fielders, then they can camp out if the base paths without the ball, and hinder runners.


Nonsense. They're already prevented from camping out in the basepath without the ball. That's what the Posey rule addressed. And it's largely worked. You don't see catchers getting dinged for it they way you did when the rule was first enacted (when it went into effect, the chief issue was catchers blocking the plate without the ball - not runners throttling them). They just need to close the loophole that allows players to still blow up runners if they're out by a lot. And they can do that simply by preventing runners from leading with the upper body.

Headfirst slides are stupid; lots of injury risk for virtually no gain. Teams should ban them.


If teams want to impose a ban on their own players doing it, that's fair. But doing so league-wide is dumb.
   38. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 04:44 PM (#6072988)
Headfirst slides are stupid; lots of injury risk for virtually no gain.


Is this true on either side? I would agree there's probably more injury risk in a headfirst slide, although I don't know how significant it is and I certainly haven't seen any data on it. But I think the benefits in sliding headfirst can be significant (and I have no data to back up my side, either, so take that for what it's worth). You can maneuver your body to avoid a tag much better when sliding headfirst. I think it's easier to maintain contact with the base when sliding headfirst, which is important in the instant replay era. And especially when sliding into home, the ability to slide to one side or another while reaching out a hand to brush the plate is a huge advantage.

If you're looking for exciting plays on the bases, banning headfirst slides seems antithetical to that.
   39. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 21, 2022 at 07:42 PM (#6073007)
Nothing like a good headfirst slide at home where the runner avoids the sweeping tag attempt, reaches out and glides his left hand across the plate. Very fun to watch.

Also, are finger injuries on headfirst slides still a thing now that they wear those ridiculously large, sliding mitten things?

Also, is there a limit to the size of those? Could a baserunner get one that's like 12-15 inches long and claim he needs that because he has huge hands or a medical need?
   40. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: April 21, 2022 at 08:03 PM (#6073012)
Also, is there a limit to the size of those? Could a baserunner get one that's like 12-15 inches long and claim he needs that because he has huge hands or a medical need?


I assume they need to be approved or purchased through an approved supplier, although I don't know for sure. And I don't know if the umpires check them before the game or anything like that. It would be hilarious to see someone strap on an Inspector Gadget-esque extendable hand and claim that it protects from injury.
   41. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 22, 2022 at 09:43 AM (#6073066)
I would agree there's probably more injury risk in a headfirst slide


wow I disagree. Do you know how many people have destroyed their ankles on the slide? Stennet (actually his leg) for one Willie Davis for another. I know of two "friend of a friend" people who did that. One them was a girl in softball who broke like half the bones in her foot and had to have pins and everything in there.

I would be going headfirst every time if I was out there. It seems you have much better control of your body parts that way. And sure I guess you can get hit in the face but...
   42. base ball chick Posted: April 23, 2022 at 01:16 PM (#6073209)
27. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: April 21, 2022 at 08:27 AM (#6072884)

Anyway, can anybody recall a catcher who was credited with being really smart about avoiding injuries by figuring out the "best way" to deal with home plate plays like this? It strikes me that the catcher could have lunged with his hands to make the tag, trying to keep his head out of the line of fire. I can't think of a catcher specifically known for this, but maybe somebody else can?


- brad ausmus

i disremember him ever getting hit by the runner. he did the college catcher thing and positioned himself inside the line and somehow always avoided the guys trying to flatten him. he wasn't exactly a large guy and a luke voit running full speed into him would NOT have been a good thing for him. (190 lbs??? hahahahahahahahaha. he was craig biggio size)

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