Take-out Slides: Where should MLB draw the line?


#1

Old rules number…
7.09e It is interference by a batter or a runner when…Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate.

7.09f applies to a batted ball, but in spirit, it’s clear that the rules do not want to reward interference by runners when it makes this statement… “In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.”

New Rules Format 2015:
6.01a(6) restates what I’ve typed above while 6.01a(7) clarifies how to handle situations with no outs that wouldn’t normally end the inning by enforcing the interference by the teammate on the batter/runner. The rule allows for the umpire to call out the runner closest to home to enforce the interference on a batter/runner. A classic play would be the reverse double play where, after fielding a ground ball near 1B, F3 steps on 1B to retire the batter/runner then attempts a throw to another base (commonly 2B or Home) for a double play.
"…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 of where the double play might have been possible."

This all assumes that you consider slides like Chase Utley’s in game 2 of the ALDS “interference.”

Where should the MLB draw the line?

In my opinion, there should be a rule that more closely resembles the NCAA rule, but with a few noted changes:

a. On any force play, the runner must slide on the ground before the base ***and in a direct line between the two bases.***(I would not have this restriction in MLB) It is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the base in the baseline extended (see diagram below). (I would add a stipulation that the runner must remain in contact with the bag upon conclusion of the slide)
92 RULE 8 / BASE RUNNING Exception - A runner need not slide directly into a base as long as the runner slides or runs in a direction away from the fielder to avoid making contact or altering the play of the fielder. Interference shall not be called. (I would not use this exception for MLB. As I stated above, I would allow for the runner to slide in the direction of the fielder as long as the runner is able to maintain contact with the bag upon conclusion of the slide)
1 “On the ground” means either a head first slide or a slide with one leg and buttock on the ground before the base.
2 “Directly into a base” means the runner’s entire body (feet, legs, trunk and arms) must stay in a straight line between the bases. (I would remove the straight line wording and change it to “the runner’s established path to the base”)
b. Contact with a fielder is legal and interference shall not be called it the runner makes a legal slide directly to the base and in the baseline extended

A.R. - If contact occurs on top of the base as a result of a “pop-up” slide this contact is legal.

  1. Actions by runner as illegal and interference shall be called if:
  2. The runner slides or runs out of the base line (change baseline to established base path) in the direction of the fielder and alters the play of a fielder (with or without contact);
  3. The runner uses a rolling or cross-body slide.
  4. The runner’s raised leg makes contact higher than the fielder’s knee when in standing position;
  5. The runner kicks or slashed the fielder with either leg.
  6. The runner illegally slides toward or contacts the fielder even if the fielder makes no attempt to throw to complete the play.

PENALTY for 1-5 -

  1. With less than two outs, the batter-runner, as well as the interfering runner, shall be declares out and no other runner(s) shall advance.
  2. With two outs the interfering runner shall be declared out and no other runner(s) shall advance.
  3. If the runner’s side or collision is flagrant, the runner shall be ejected from the contest.
    A.R. - If the bases are loaded with no outs, a double play attempt is made, and interference is called, all other runners must return to their original bases.

#2

I like what you have pretty well. Although I believe Utley’s slide is likely legal, I believe the runner should be required to try and obtain the bag, which Utley clearly was not trying to do or he would have touched it at some point. I would probably require the runner to maintain a straight line to the base or avoid the fielder. I don’t feel that taking out the fielder is really a baseball play, but it has been accepted as one for a long time.


#3

My personal proposed new MLB force play slide rule…if anyone cares:

On any force play, the runner must slide on the ground (defined as either a head first slide or a slide with one leg and buttock on the ground) before the base and the runner must maintain his established base path between the two bases. It is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the base in the baseline extended, provided the runner is able to remain in contact with the bag upon conclusion of the slide.

A.R.–The runner may slide in the direction of the fielder as long as the runner has already established that his path to the base is to one particular side of the base and he is able to maintain contact with the base upon conclusion of the slide.
A.R. – If contact occurs on top of the base as a result of a “pop-up” slide or on continuation of the slide over and behind the bag, this contact is legal.
A.R.-- It is not necessary for the infielder to attempt the second throw in order for the established penalties to be enforced.

Mechanics–Interference shall be called, and the ball is dead.

Enforcement of Penalty

  1. With 1 out, the interfering runner and the batter-runner shall be declared out.
  2. With 2 out, the interfering runner shall be declared out and no other runner(s) shall advance.
  3. With no outs, the interfering runner and the batter-runner shall be declared out all other runners must return to their original bases.
  4. With no outs and the bases loaded, the interfering runner and the runner from 3rd are both out, and no other runner may advance.
  5. If the runner’s side or collision is flagrant, the runner shall be ejected from the game. (There are to be no cross-body or rolling slides. There are to be no slides with a leg or legs raised above the infielder’s standing knee height. There is to be no kicking or slashing with either leg)

Penalties for a Flagrant Slide:
The runner shall serve a 5 game suspension for the first offense, a 10 game suspension for a second offense, and a 20 game suspension for any subsequent offense. All suspensions shall result in forfeiture of pay equal to the duration of the suspension.


#4

Its is funny how it is now.
As I posted on another thread, Utley is going to be suspended for a play deemed legal during the game…replay and all. The rules are goofy for sure. Because the fielder missed the bag and Utley was called out, he doesn’t have to touch the bag. The play is deemed legal, then he is suspended. Goofy.
I am a lifeline Dodgers fan and Utley had no intention of getting to the bag, he was off line and slide way late. It has been accepted as a baseball play. The reversal of the out call aside, Utley should have been ejected on the spot.