MLB Close To Changes To Sliding Rule

hjx5si6After 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.

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11 thoughts on “MLB Close To Changes To Sliding Rule

  1. Enforce the current rules. We could start with that. I know, it’s a complete culture change, but so is a new rule to enforce rules that already exist.

    6.01 (6) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner;

    6.01 (7) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully
    and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder
    in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent
    to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire
    shall call the batter-runner out for interference and shall
    call out the runner who had advanced closest to the home
    plate regardless where the double play might have been
    possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such
    interference;

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  2. This is MLB being stupid again….just like in the situations with running over catchers there is already a rule in place that REQUIRES a runner to slide in such a way that arriving at the base is his objective. The rules already don’t allow runners to target defenders when they slide, they are allowed to slide aggressively while sliding into a base….they are not allowed to make the defender the target of their slides and reach back towards the base…the current rules already allow the umpire to call a runner out if he slides at a defender rather than at the base.

    …and the players are full of shit. Good luck finding any footage of HS or college players going out of their way to take out defenders. This is just like the running over the catcher thing…running over the catcher would get you called out and automatically ejected in any amateur league.

    It is worth noting that very few runners actually deviate from the base path to take out defenders, most slide into the base, just like most runners did not try to run over the catcher…if either of those things had been pervasive in MLB, then keeping middle infielders or catchers healthy would have been nearly impossible.

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    • Pretty much….but MLB’s response should be, “Hey, enforce this rule and we want you to do so as it is written.”….I mean, that’s a pretty easy response.

      5.09 (a) (13) (Rule 6.05, 2014)
      A batter is out when —
      (m) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play:

      Rule 5.09 (a) (13) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.

      I mean. How is that not clear?

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