The relationship between an umpire and a baseball player is usually seen as an adversarial one, but on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez gave us one of the more heartwarming moments of the postseason.
In the fifth inning of the Cubs’ 10-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NLCS, Rizzo thought he had drawn a walk on a pitch close to the strike zone and began to trot down to first base. Instead, Hernandez called the pitch a strike, and Rizzo had to trot back to home plate to continue his at-bat.
In Rizzo’s next plate appearance, he made it a point to apologize to the umpire, saying that he didn’t mean any disrespect by his actions.
“My fault on that,” Rizzo said to Hernandez as his conversation was picked up by on-field microphones.
“No worries. You’re competing. I understand,” Hernandez said in response. “You know what’s best there? You came back and you told me that. That’s how good of a guy you are.”
It was pretty clear that Rizzo didn’t let the incident affect his performance on the field. He ended up drilling a solo home run in the fifth inning at-bat where he began to trot down to first, and he hit a two-RBI single in the sixth inning to help the Cubs out to a big lead in the game.