Brewers manager misses the point in calling out Aaron Judge's controversial slide

New York Yankees v Milwaukee Brewers
New York Yankees v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

Brewers manager Pat Murphy is a perfect, grizzled, old-school baseball guy. It must've really hurt him, after Sunday's loss to the Yankees, to go along with his team's preferred narrative that Aaron Judge had done something nefarious with his slide.

For centuries, baseball players have been told to take advantage of anything they can to prevent the opposition from recording easy outs. In the 1920s, players used to sharpen their spikes and slide, knives out, into second base to bust up double plays. That was not good and needed to go away. It did.

But the guiding ethos remained. Do you have an opportunity to barrel into a shortstop, popping him in the air to cause an errant throw? Then you'd better do it. Otherwise, you'll be glued to the pine. That's gone away, too. And rightly so! But the core value of a hard slide remains. If there's an opportunity, within the rules, to make a second baseman or shortstop's job more difficult, it's worth pursuing.

That's why it was wild to watch the uproar about Aaron Judge lifting his hand in the air to distract Brewers shortstop Willy Adames' attempt to turn two, something he'd done a thousand times before. And it must've really stung Murphy to admit Judge had no intention of smacking the baseball, but that he'd still done something wrong somehow by being a tall distraction.

"I don't think he wanted to get hit by the ball, but I think he was trying to purposely obstruct," Murphy said pointedly, as if he'd drawn a grand conclusion in a courtroom with a flourish.

Brewers manager Pat Murphy thinks Yankees' Aaron Judge was trying to prevent a double play from being turned, which...yes? He was?

You're not supposed to let the defense have a free shot at a double play. You're supposed to do what you can, within the game's boundaries, to prevent outs from being recorded. Lifting a hand to potentially distract the infielder uncorking a throw is just about the least offensive thing a runner can do -- and it almost never works.

The issue here was that Adames yanked the throw down, drilled Judge, and changed everything. And now, his natural response to sliding into a potential double play ball is going to be questioned throughout the league.

Karma will almost certainly "come back around" to get Judge and the Yankees. Now that Murphy and the Brewers' fans have raised unnecessary flags, there will be a time where Judge gets an interference call that he wouldn't otherwise have been responsible for. There will also be an unrelated bad call that sinks a Yankees ship at some point. Nothing evens out over the course of a long season like poor umpiring.

But this bizarre hill to die on has been nearly legislated out of the game over the previous 50 years, and all that's left of Knife Spikes and brawl-inciting collisions is the occasional hand in the air or juke move towards the edge of the baseline.

For a manager who employs Rhys Hoskins and his late slides to grouse about this, too, the irony was particularly rich. So were the 11 runs that followed, all of which the Brewers could've prevented by simply recording outs. Got to put your hand up and admit that one, too.