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). 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).
Here’s the thing, Rizzo: pretty much straight in is 1) not what happened and 2) not the same thing as straight in. It’s clear, watching that video, that Rizzo went to his left to collide with Hedges, when he had a perfectly clear route to the plate to his right that wouldn’t have involved crashing into the backstop. In fact, if Rizzo had done that instead of his game on approach, he might have scored a run there.
The catcher wasn’t in the way, but who cares about a minor detail like that? It’s not like Maddon’s and Rizzo’s arguments hinge on that or anything. This also isn’t new territory for Maddon, who thinks slamming into the catcher to score a run is a thing to practice in spring training:
Marwin Gonzalez is eating locks of Ben Zobrist’s hair. It’s the only explanation. Unless he severed Lance Berkman’s arms and ground up his bones to make a medicinal powder. If neither of those are the case, I have several other theories that get much darker.
After three years of a sub-.300 OBP and a 90 OPS+, I refuse to believe that the 28-year-old Gonzalez is a superweapon now. While it’s noteworthy that he’s three walks away from his career high — in 355 fewer plate appearances compared to last season and the change in his approach could explain a lot, I’ll err on the side of the previous five seasons.