In what ended up being a Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 victory on Friday night, this baserunning gaffe by Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ proved to be the difference maker.
With one out in the top of the sixth inning, a runner on third, and the Cubs leading 3-0, Seiya Suzuki poked a ground ball to pitcher Tyler Anderson, who fielded it cleanly and saw Happ bolting for home plate.
Happ was immediately caught in a rundown when Anderson threw the ball to catcher Will Smith. Anderson then backed up Smith on the baseline after the catcher chased Happ towards third. Happ, after the ball was thrown to Justin Turner, made a dash for home with Anderson in the baseline waiting to receive the throw and tag him out.
Happ was dead to rights the moment he made that decision. With Anderson firmly in the baseline now with the ball, Happ lowered his shoulder in what was an in-the-moment reaction to make a play … but it was a dangerous one.
It could’ve been a lot uglier, but the “collision” featured Happ going low on Anderson, who caught the Cubs slugger in his arms as he stumbled to the ground. Then, Anderson threw in some of his own physicality for good measure and further shoved Happ into the infield dirt.
Justified? Some say yes, some say no. There’s certainly an argument to be had. But the Cubs broadcast absolutely whining about it as if Anderson had no right to defend himself after Happ nearly caused a troublesome situation is truly a joke.
Dodgers’ Tyler Anderson had the Cubs’ broadcast going off after Ian Happ shove
The Cubs’ broadcast blamed Anderson for being in the way — for quite literally doing what he’s supposed to do to get the runner out! “You’re the one in the baseline, OK?!” Sure, Anderson did put himself a bit at risk being in the baseline that far in front of home plate, but this wasn’t a bang-bang play, like we said. Happ was out by a mile and his attempt to seemingly jar the ball loose was unsafe.
One could say they both acted accordingly. Happ was playing hard and trying to save himself from making a mistake in the heat of the moment, and Anderson took exception to what he felt was a dirty play. To outright blame Anderson here is homer-ism at its finest.
Anderson was eventually understanding of Happ’s actions, but the Cubs’ dugout and broadcast team simply couldn’t handle it.
Sorry about the competitiveness, Chicago. If your team can dish the intensity and can’t take it, perhaps it’s time for a reality check.
Maybe a four-game sweep after Sunday will do the trick.