Cubs manager Joe Maddon has made quite clear how he feels about the controversy surrounding Anthony Rizzo’s slide into home plate on Monday. In Maddon’s mind, Rizzo’s slide directly at the legs of Pirates catcher Elias Diaz was clean, there was no interference on the play, and the whole ordeal was entirely the fault of Diaz, who should have been further out in front of the plate.
To some observers, such as CBS Sports writer Tom Fornelli, Maddon’s defense of Rizzo (even after MLB declared that the play was interference) seemed somewhat less than reasonable. On Tuesday, Fornelli mocked the manager on Twitter with a clearly fake quote about Diaz digging a trench in front of home plate to protect himself from the baserunner.
Maddon cont. “For instance. The catcher could have dug a trench and positioned himself inside to further defend his position." https://t.co/SrXWRNPRzZ
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) May 29, 2018
It probably should have been clear from Fornelli’s tweet that Maddon did not actually suggest digging a trench in front of home plate because that would be ridiculous, but it turns out not everyone was in on the joke.
When Pirates play-by-play man Greg Brown discussed the Rizzo-Diaz incident on air Tuesday night, he quoted not only Maddon’s actual take on the situation but also Fornelli’s fake version. Here’s a clip:
For posterity pic.twitter.com/IcUl61bBWj
— David Spracale (@dspracale) May 30, 2018
On Twitter, Fornelli appeared quite excited that he had tricked a major league broadcaster into believing a transparently fake quote.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD
Did you watch the Pirates game on the Pittsburgh feed tonight? Can you confirm that this happened? pic.twitter.com/s7QQQHjTrg
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) May 30, 2018
Brown does not seem to have acknowledged his mistake [Update: He later did.], but the Cubs’ official Twitter account seemed to get a kick out of it.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 30, 2018
Between this situation and Chris Long making half the internet believe he thought hockey players were wimps, it’s really about time for the internet to get a sarcasm font.