With the New York Mets up 9-7 in the ninth inning last night, and Jeurys Familia on the mound trying to close out his 31st save of the season, Jayson Werth drew a leadoff walk that gave the Washington Nationals an opportunity.
Daniel Murphy sent a grounder to short in the next at bat and Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it with an impressive diving play and made a backhand toss to Neil Walker at second base.
Werth slid past the bag trying to disrupt the attempted double play.
Walker's throw arrived late at first, but Murphy was ruled out when the umpires called Werth for "slide interference".
Werth, noting that there were three slides at second during the game that went past the bag, said he thought his own was within the guidelines as they had been explained.
"To me, that’s a clean slide," Werth said, as quoted by MASN's Mark Zuckerman.
"It’s been a clean slide for over 100 years. There were no spikes involved. I was down early. The only difference between the three slides tonight that went past the bag was that there was contact on (the last one)."
Dusty Baker went out for a chat with second base ump Jim Joyce, and asked for the play to be reviewed. It was, and it was upheld.
"The discussion was, 'Hey man, we were told... ' -- I know I've been told four or five different things from different crews about the rules," Baker said. "I know last time I was told that it was going to be a common sense type thing if there's no play at first base.
"My contention was there was no -- I mean, he would have beat the throw [to first] no matter what, but Jim said, 'Hey, the rules are the rules,' and I said, 'Well, I'm going to appeal it,' and then we're in New York and he made the call and they said that the call was going to stand. I don't know how you teach young players now to break up a double play because there is no such thing as breaking up a double play.
"I don't know. I was talking to Chris Speier the other day and he just said how easy it would have been in the day he played when you can't slide hard into the bag. What do you do? Just give them a double play? I wish we'd get one answer on what we're going to do with this double play thing because it's going to rear it's ugly head in the playoffs or the World Series or something and you'd hate to have a call like that decide whether you go to the World Series or whether you win the World Series."
Apparently Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo wasn't happy with the call either and he let Joyce know in a heated conversation between Citi Field's clubhouses.
"You blew it," Rizzo reportedly yelled, as quoted by Christian Red of the New York Daily News who witnessed the altercation.
"Rizzo’s 'blew it' remark touched off a wild scene in the bowels of Citi Field, with both Rizzo and Joyce having to be restrained from going at each other by security and the rest of the umpiring crew, which included Chad Fairchild at home, Toby Basner at first and Marvin Hudson at third. At one point, Joyce even shouted at Rizzo to identify himself before the Nats executive loudly announced his position.
"I don’t need it out there either. You want to yell? Yell," said Rizzo. "I’m right here."
"You’re the one that came up and talked to me," said Joyce."
It wasn't the first time Rizzo's unloaded on an umpire in Citi Field as the Daily News' reporter noted. He got into a heated argument with umpire Phil Cuzzi over a disputed game with the Mets in a 2011 matchup in New York. Cuzzi actually filed a complaint after that confrontation.
Will Rizzo face a fine? Did the GM have a right to be angry? Did the umpires make the right call? You decide: