Joe Maddon blows gasket after home-plate collision rule goes against Cubs

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected from his team’s 5-2 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series after a critical out at home plate was overturned by the home-plate collision rule, which is frequently dubbed the Buster Posey rule.

With the Dodgers batting in the seventh inning, Justin Turner roped a single into left field that Kyle Schwarber scooped up and fired home in a bid to cut down Charlie Culberson, who was trying to score from second base. The throw was on line, but a split second late, which forced catcher Willson Contreras to adjust his position. In doing so, Contreras extended his leg, which blocked Culberson’s path before he had possession of the ball.

Dodgers' runner Charlie Culberson slides past Cubs catcher Willson Contreras during a controversial play in Game 1 the NLCS. (AP)
Dodgers’ runner Charlie Culberson slides past Cubs catcher Willson Contreras during a controversial play in Game 1 the NLCS. (AP)

It was a clear violation of the rule as it’s written. A catcher has to give the runner a lane if the runner beats the ball. But that doesn’t mean Maddon has to like the rule.

Even less to his liking was the fact that Culberson was originally initially ruled the runner out. Once it was overturned, Maddon wasted no time saying his piece. He was quickly ejected as a result.

Maddon has been eager to voice his disapproval of baseball’s collision rules at second base and home plate in the past.

Following a game in St. Louis in May where the Cubs had a call overturned at second base, Maddon said the following: “I’ve talked about this before. I have no idea why these rules are a part of our game. That had a tremendous impact on today’s game where outs are rewarded based on a fabricated rule. It is created under the umbrella of safety, which I totally disagree that was a non-safe play.”

That play concerned an aggressive slide by a Cubs player. Saturday’s concerned his own catcher putting himself more at risk than anyone else. Meanwhile, Maddon’s reaction was no different.

Given the stakes of the game, it’s not difficult to understand Maddon’s frustration. Contreras reacted naturally and in a way that prevented the run from scoring, not to cause harm. But the rule is the rule. It may not always be clear or concise. It may not always be a play that puts the runner or catcher at risk. But its intention is clear and it’s not going away anytime soon.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!