After terribly public and particularly gruesome injuries occurred to the Pirate’s Jung Ho Kang and the Met’s Ruben Tejada, MLB vowed to work on making the game safer for second baseman and short stops by eliminating the take out slide. It now appears they are making good on that promise, and change may occur sooner rather than later.
Sources said that in the union’s internal discussions, players made it clear they had been taught since they first began playing baseball to go into second base with the intent of breaking up double-play attempts. Although the union wants to improve safety for middle infielders, it does not want to eliminate players’ aggressiveness on slides or the ability to break up a double play.
However, there is a desire on both sides to eliminate slides on which a baserunner goes beyond the effort to reach second to make contact with middle infielders. That is what happened with Tejada, as Chase Utley was nowhere near the base when he crashed into Tejada’s leg. Utley was given a two-game suspension by Major League Baseball for that play, a punishment that has been appealed.
The language on the rule has not entirely been resolved, and there is some question about whether slides in question will be subject to instant-replay review.
There still seems to be some specifics to work out, but basically it appears the general rule is going to be that you have to actually, you know be near the base, and not going out of your way to injure another player. Seems reasonable enough, although I’m sure we will get plenty of folks who are still pissed you can’t just go in there with a jousting pole. Personally I think they should also allow the umpires to automatically eject any player they feel is going out of their way to injure another player (As in the case of Kang where the runner was still close to the bag, but clearly more interested in a take-out), next to the base or not, but then again, we know how well baseball works when you give in to umpires discretion.