Nutshell: Luke Voit is Fine. Baseball's Dangerous Sometimes.
Luke Voit's slide was very physical. That doesn't mean it was dirty, though.
Cincinnati Reds players were in a tizzy after Luke Voit knocked catcher Tyler Stephenson out of yesterday's game with a collision at home plate. Jurickson Profar laced a double down the left field line with Voit at first base. The 6'3", 255-pound Padres slugger came lumbering around third trying to score. The throw beat him, but Voit tried to jar the ball loose from Stephenson's glove. He ended up giving him a clothesline/People's Elbow hybrid, which resulted in a concussion (Stephenson held onto the ball for the out). The Reds challenged the slide, which would have gotten Voit tossed, but the umpires saw no illegality.
Dirty or not?
What They Said
"After looking at the replay, it looked like a wrestling move to Tyler’s head and snapped it down,” said Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer.
"The way his hands hit him, it was dirty as fuck...If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well. Anything, Muay Thai, whatever. I’ve got a (gym) owner here who will let me use his facility. So, fuck ’em,” said Reds outfielder and apparent combat specialist Tommy Pham.
“The ball takes him right into Luke. There's nowhere to go, and I think Luke was just trying to protect himself, putting his hands up, so I think they got it right,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin.
"I thought it could've been an illegal slide. That doesn't mean that Voit did it intentionally," said Reds manager David Bell.
“I tried to go around him. I think he went in to make sure he (made the tag)…It’s baseball and I wasn’t trying to make it dirty or anything. I’m just trying to make a play obviously, but unfortunately, I was out...," said Luke Voit.
What I Say
Not dirty. Home plate collisions have become a rarity after plays like the Scott Cousins-Buster Posey one caused MLB to change some of the rules about what a runner can and cannot do when trying to score. But they still happen. Luke Voit is a clumsy behemoth trucking towards home at full speed, and Tyler Stephenson is diving between him and his destination. The downward swipe, which is what Voit was probably trying to do, is a standard move to try to knock the ball loose from a catcher's glove. The only problem is Stephenson's head is located directly above his glove, right in the path of Voit's swing. A few milliseconds was not enough time for Voit to avoid clobbering Stephenson.
Not dirty. Physical as fuck, obviously. But not dirty. Baseball is a dangerous game at times, and plays at the plate will always present the possibility of harm.
Here's hoping the Reds don't retaliate in some stupid way.