About That Ian Happ-Tyler Anderson Shoving Incident

There was some frustration and a little chirping on each side of the fence last night after Ian Happ was thrown out between third and home in the 6th inning after a brief rundown. Pretty big moment in the game that is worth a quick discussion if you missed it.

The reason the play led to chirping is because, at the end of the rundown, Happ went hard into Dodgers pitcher Tyler Anderson, who, in turn, shoved Happ down after the tag:

Happ was clearly displeased, and the dugout was, too:

Not great. Not a SUPER hard shove from Anderson (or collision from Happ), but you could understand why Happ wouldn’t care for it, and why his teammates would call it out.

The way I see it, Happ was trying to keep himself alive in the rundown as long as possible before choosing a moment to commit to one direction or the other. When he committed, he turned and had only a brief moment to reorient his body to avoid Anderson, who was fully in the middle of the basepath (which he’s allowed to do with the ball). To my eye, Happ lowered his head not because he was trying to truck Anderson, but because he was trying to avoid a head-up collision. Also maybe he was starting to try to think about getting down and around Anderson? It happens fast enough that it’s not like Happ had a chance to fully think out his approach.

To that same end, I won’t get TOO mad at Anderson for the shove. It was a dick move, in my view, but it was also one of those instant reaction things – get off me, get tf outta here – that can happen when a guy smacks into you in the heat of competition. I’m not totally excusing it, mind you, but I can see how it could happen without there being a ton of malice in it. Happ was just trying to score in the moment, and wound up plowing into Anderson in the process.

In other words, I don’t really see anything that Happ did wrong there, except maybe going a bit harder into Anderson than he would have if he’d had more time to think through his approach to the plate. That was more or less Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ take:

Anderson didn’t really have a problem with Happ after the game either (via The Orange County Register):

“I don’t know – it seemed like he kind of thought he was out and I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but he just went head and shoulder down as I caught it. It was not what I was expecting. I understand it. I respect guys that play hard. You want to play hard and get a run there. I’m all for it.”

Kinda sounds like the reaction of a guy who knows he shouldn’t have added the shove.

I may have missed it, but I haven’t yet seen a reaction from Ian Happ on the shove, outside of his immediate reaction in the moment.

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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