Starlin Castro wouldn't let it slide this time. He expressed his displeasure at Shane Robinson because of Robinson's takeout attempt on the last play of the Chicago Cubs 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
His team down two runs in the ninth inning, Robinson tried to break up a double play at second base by sliding well out of the baseline and sticking out his right leg into Castro, who did not make a relay throw to first base. However, umpire Fieldin Culbreth called interference on Robinson, which meant batter David Freese was out, too, 4-6-3, for his third double play of the game.
Cards manager Mike Matheny argued the call on the field, but said later, via MLB.com, that Culbreth got it right.
Castro, as quoted by Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago, considered the play dirty:
“I understand where you can try to break up the double play in that kind of situation, but not like that,” Castro said. “(That was) not even close. I couldn’t throw the ball because he tried to kill me.”
"He tried to kill" him. Perhaps a little hyperbole from the Cubs young shortstop? He also said Robinson "had his cleats up" — and the threat of injury (or at least pain) from spikes is real enough. This might be were Castro has a real beef.
For his part, Robinson sounded like a guy disappointed he didn't get away with an illegal slide:
"It's a shame it had to end like that," Robinson said. "I didn't think it was that bad of a slide. I didn't contact him at all. I was a little surprised, but it wasn't my call to make."
The Robinson slide was comparable to a play in 2011 involving Castro and Matt Holliday, a notorious hard slider. Castro said at the time, and still says, that Holliday's slide was clean.
Cubs first-base coach Dave McKay, who was a part of Tony La Russa’s staff in St. Louis, has used that as an example of how hard you need to play when you clinch a playoff spot on the last day of the regular season, the edge a World Series team needs.
“Not even close,” Castro said. “(Holliday runs) hard, but it’s professional, like everybody does on the team, trying to break up the double play. But (be) professional. Don’t try to hurt nobody.”
The hard slide, even slides deemed to be illegal, have been a part of baseball since the game's birth. I understand what Robinson was doing, because if he doesn't try to break up the double play, the game's over anyway. Going out of the baseline is one thing, but the spikes being up — albeit after Robinson had passed Castro — is a bit dirty.
So: Shane Robinson: Not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of raising his spikes to another ballplayer. Court's adjourned, until the Cubs play the Cardinals again.
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