Omar Infante was loading up to make the throw on an inning ending double play, but it would be a throw he would be unable to make thanks to a slide by Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus. Normally that type of hustle would be applauded and such a play could change a game, but this slide was different; this slide was dirty. Rasmus flew into second base and beyond like a missile, a missile whose sole purpose was to create complete destruction at its target, and it did. Infante had to be taken out of the game with a shin contusion and was on crutches after the game barely able to walk. A trip on the DL is not out of the question.
The injury is unfortunate for the Detroit Tigers, especially given how hot Infante was playing the first half of the year as a likely candidate to be added to the American League All-Star roster. Injuries happen and you accept that things happen in the course of the game, but what happened Wednesday night was no acceptable injury. Rasmus flew four feet past the bag with no effort to stay anywhere near the it where he plowed over Infante who was off the bag and out of the way of Rasmu,s or so he thought. It should have been interference; it should have resulted in both outs being recorded; it should result in a suspension; but none of that will be the case with the way MLB handles cases such as this.
The Tigers have been involved in some scores needed to be settled recently. Rick Porcello was just suspended six games for retaliating in defense of his teammates who were consistently being thrown at near their heads the entire night before. Jim Leyland said there would be payback and there was, but the reason there needed to be payback was because MLB refused to do it themselves. Baseball has a hypocrisy of rules which hardly protect teams and players from being instigated against, but should they choose to take matters into their own hands to get payback or give a consequence for reckless actions that could leave players out for whole seasons, then baseball springs into action hammering the retaliating team with suspensions and fines.
Will the Tigers retaliate this time against Rasmus? If they didn’t have an incident just a few days ago they would have, but it’s likely there will be no punishment for greatly injuring an opposing team’s player and that is a tragedy. There is hustle and there is dirty. What Rasmus did crossed the line, and it is a line that has been crossed repeatedly this season by various players and teams. And it will only continue to grow worse until the MLB gets tougher and more proactive toward the instigators of the conflicts. Sadly even if they take those steps it will be too late for the Tigers and Infante who will have to look forward and try to get past the reckless actions of a player who clearly doesn’t understand the difference between playing hard and playing dirty.