By now everyone has seen the collision between Astros player Jake Marisnick and Angels Catcher Jonathon Lucroy. It's a devastating collision leaving Lucroy with a concussion and a broken nose. But was it intentional? And how dirty of a play was it?
I played baseball a decent portion of my life and have been around baseball all my life. I watched players like Pudge Rodriguez and Javy Lopez and ended up primarily being a catcher myself. Therefore this article is coming from a catchers point of view.
During the days when I was growing up, home plate collisions were still a thing and you had to have some balls to be a catcher when you have a guy getting at least a 90-foot head start running at you standing still. I loved watching them grow up. To me, it's just part of baseball like takeout slides at second, which are now outlawed.
Yes, injuries do happen such as Buster Posey fracturing his fibula and tearing some ligaments after Scott Cousins collided with him. The main injury the new rules are protecting against is concussions and unfortunately, Lucroy did suffer such an injury. I've been running over a few times and have gotten hurt from them, but it never made me question the rules.
In this specific collision, I've watched it in real-time and in slow-mo. In real-time it just happens so fast that yes it would look like a dirty play and he essentially targeted him such as a football player would. Then when watching it in slow motion I see him kinda switch direction and realize he'd made a mistake and try to slow himself down before realizing it's too late and bracing for the inevitable impact.
Marisnick has stated he believed Lucroy was going to move to the outside of the plate, therefore, he was going to slide headfirst toward the inside of the plate. In the slow-mo version, you can definitely tell where he begins to start a headfirst slide toward the inside. Then you see Lucroy drop down on the inside of the plate possibly expecting Marisnick to go to the outside and slide around the plate.
From the videos and breakdowns I've watched from sources such as Matt Antonelli, a former San Diego Padres player who makes baseball content on youtube, I have concluded it was just an unfortunate play. When watching in real time you see how fast they play and collision went down. In that time you don't have enough time to really decide and react and as Antonelli stated sometimes you kinda blackout until after the play it happens so fast.
Therefore I'm just going to have to say both guys made decisions that led to the collision and neither intentions were dirty. Also if a guy intentionally slams a catcher he normally doesn't have as worried of expression as Marisnick did as he moved to check on Lucroy and that to me showed some remorse and sportsmanship for what had happened.