It’s Time for MLB to Protect Its Players

Last night, Matt Holliday slid into second base to break up a potential double play. It looked like this:

I’m not here to crucify Matt Holliday. By the letter of the law, the play was legal, and we see more egregious examples of take-out slides where the runner is actually nowhere near the base every year. Holliday went right through the bag, but because he began the slide so late, he created a pretty violent collision that eventually forced Scutaro from the game. For his part, he seems remorseful, noting after the game that he wishes he had slid sooner, and his actions don’t suggest an intent to injure. Holliday did what the rulebook allows in order to help his team avoid an out in playoff game. But that’s the problem.

Right now, Major League Baseball does nothing to incentivize runners to avoid collisions with prone defenders, either at second base or at home plate. There is no penalty for creating contact, no cost to the offending team who put their opponents health in danger. When faced with a risk-reward situation that offers only reward, the decision is obvious, and that decision directly leads to a subset of Major League players being asked to sacrifice their physical well being because “it’s how the game has always been played.”

Tradition is all fine and good, but it shouldn’t halt progress. And protecting players from collisions that they have no chance to avoid is progress.

The question now should be more about how MLB should change the incentives for the baserunner rather than whether this is something worth doing or not. To continue to ask guys like Scutaro to accept as part of their jobs that a 235 pound former football player is going to barrel into his knees while he looks the other way is simply beyond the pale. There is no reason why second baseman and catchers should have to put their health on the line in a sport that is simply not about physical contact between individuals. In football, maybe this sort of thing is unavoidable, and everyone goes into it with their eyes open about the possibilities because of the structure of the sport. In baseball, this simply isn’t a necessary play.

While there is no perfect solution, I do think there’s one simple rule change that the league could make that would drastically reduce the amount of collisions that we see.

Any baserunner who initiates contact with a defender is automatically ejected from the game. Any player ejected more than once for initiating contact in one season faces a mandatory five game suspension.

Would Holliday have traded the chance to save an out for his team if it meant that he didn’t get to play the rest of the game? Probably not, and I doubt managers would advocate for this trade-off. If runners knew that sliding into the defender was going to get them thrown out, there would be very few scenarios in which they’d even consider making that exchange. It wouldn’t be a perfect solution, as the umpire would have to be the judge of when the player crossed the line and initiated contact, but we already anoint umpires as judges of when players crossed the line and deserve ejection, so this already falls under their normal responsibilities.

You’d want umpires to err on the side of no ejection in a play where it isn’t obvious that the runner was attempting to initiate contact rater than reach the base safely, but the threat of ejection should be enough to discourage many of these types of plays that occur now. The goal isn’t to simply remove all incidental contact that comes as a result of the runner and the fielder both hanging out in the same area. Some of that is natural, and you can train the umpires to allow a modicum of normal contact that results from a player sliding into second base or home plate. The ejections could be saved for plays like last night’s, where it’s clear that the slide had nothing to do with attempting to reach base safely and everything to do with reducing Marco Scutaro‘s ability to throw the ball to first base.

Beyond just reducing the injury risks for second baseman and catchers, the rule would also protect the runners themselves from future retaliation. It might not happen in this series, because it would be too obvious and could result in an ejection — the threat of ejection on display — that harmed the Giants chances of advancing in the playoffs, but at some point in the future, it’s pretty likely that a Giants pitcher is going to buzz Matt Holliday with a fastball. Because, right now, there’s no penalty in place for what he did, so the players have to police themselves. The entire act of beaning-as-retribution is meant to disincentivize plays like that to begin with, but is only seen as necessary because the league isn’t doing anything to dissuade Holliday from making that slide to begin with.

Take it out of the player’s hands. Rather than an eye-for-an-eye, let’s just put a system in place that convinces baserunners to stop doing this. There’s no reason Marco Scutaro should be asked to put his knees at risk every time there’s a double play opportunity. Baseball is not a contact sport, and the players aren’t wearing pads. Let’s not just keep sacrificing the health of some of the players in the game simply because that’s how the game has always been played.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


171 Responses to “It’s Time for MLB to Protect Its Players”

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  1. Doug Dirt says:

    Billy Hamilton sucks

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    • Doug Gray says:

      As the actual “dougdirt”, I feel the need to point out that I didn’t write the above comment, nor do I have that belief. Also, this ridiculousness of posting on fangraphs as me solely about how I dislike someone, regardless of the validity, is getting really ridiculous.

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      • Ignore it and it’ll go away. Child psychology: good attention is good, bad attention is good, no attention is bad.

        It took awhile for the #6Org shit to stop, but it did, and so will this, when people stop getting what they want for doing it.

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  2. MrKnowNothing says:

    Agreed here.

    Catchers I have less sympathy for because they’re wearing a suit of armor and plant themselves in front of home plate, so much so that many times there’s no other way to score but to knock him over.

    (And I say this as a Giants fan.)

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    • joser says:

      Yeah, but specifically wrt Giants catchers, the Posey hit last year was completely unnecessary: he wasn’t even blocking the plate, and Scott Cousins went way out of the baseline to target him specifically. I have no rooting interest for the Giants and don’t care about Posey any more than any other player, but that seemed like the kind of thing that should not happen, and should draw a fine and/or a suspension (50 games at least — how is this not worse than a PED infraction?) if it does.

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      • Spike says:

        Totally agree.

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      • Ian R. says:

        Bear in mind that suspensions for on-field incidents are typically shorter because they cause the team to lose a roster spot. A 50-game suspension for something like that would be absolutely crippling.

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      • joser says:

        Well, if we’re instituting new rules/punishments, they can work however we want. Suspending the player for 50 games without costing his team the roster spot for the entire time seems like a fair solution. Have it be a usual 5 game (or whatever) suspension including the roster spot, and then keep the player off the field (and someone else in his roster spot) for another 45.

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    • Santos says:

      Calling it a suit of armor is way overblown. They are wearing a chest protector and shin guards that are designed to lessen the impact of a baseball not to withstand the force of a professional athlete running at full speed and leading with his shoulder. Not to mention that it only protects the front of them not their back when they hit the ground. And usually in that scenario they aren’t wearing the helmet anymore.

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  3. Brandon says:

    This would also remove the need for the weird but necessary (because of contact like Holliday’s) “in the vicinity of 2nd base” rule that allows shortstops and second basemen to tag 2nd on a DP without actually tagging 2nd.

    What we now know about concussions, and what we already knew about the danger of a 5 oz projectile moving 90mph and making contact with a man’s helmeted head, makes removing the need for retaliation HBPs all the more necessary and appropriate.

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    • Bad Bill says:

      Uh, what “rule” is this? There is absolutely nothing in the Official Baseball Rules that talks about a “vicinity” or “proximity” play.

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      • Brandon says:

        Baseball umpires routinely call runners out at second when the SS or 2B is close to the bag but doesn’t necessarily touch the base. Come on, Bill. You know this.

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      • Bad Bill says:

        And when they do it, they are roundly, and IMO justifiably, condemned for making up “rules” on the fly. As you say, come on. It’s intellectually dishonest to choose to honor only those unwritten rules that confirm your own biases.

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      • Brandon says:

        I tried to communicate my disapproval of the *practice* by calling it “weird,” but also calling it “necessary” probably made that a bit confusing. By “necessary,” I intended to communicate what I perceive to be the umpires’ reason for using the practice. To be clear, however, I don’t like the practice, and I wasn’t trying to “honor” it.

        The entire point of my post was to argue that instituting Dave’s rule would, among other things, hopefully eliminate the “in the neighborhood” practice, which is a potential result that I would welcome.

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      • joser says:

        Brandon, I understood your intent perfectly, but I could see how someone like Bill might misinterpret it. Your final elaboration is excellent, and I agree completely.

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  4. Enrique says:

    I’ve always thought the easiest solution is to make take out slides illegal, much as you’ve outlined here, and then add that blocking home plate (or anywhere else on the basepaths) also be illegal. It’s never made sense that catchers are allowed to block the plate–it’d be hilarious if Adam Dunn started blocking 1st base so players couldn’t advance. Obviously those are different situations, but the point is that as long as catchers are allowed to block the base paths, they are going to get run over. Then contact from takeout slides as well as from collisions at the plate are disincentivized. Sure it’d be controversial, but I think there’d be a lot less injuries.

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    • Wrong Context says:

      The difference is that you are only allowed to block the plate when you have the ball. In fact, when you have the ball, you can block any base.

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      • Enrique says:

        Fair enough point; I suppose then it’s just an issue of enforcement, as I’ve never seen anything happen to a catcher who has his entire shin blocking home plate well before the ball arrives.

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      • Ben Hall says:

        That’s the rule, but that is not how the rule is enforced. Catchers block the plate while waiting for the ball.

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    • Baltar says:

      You hit the nail on the head, Enrique. No blocking–no initiating collisions–no problems.

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  5. rockymountainhigh says:

    That slide is awful. If an offensive lineman went that way into someone’s knee they’d get killed for it and rightfully so. Ejection would certainly be fair in similar circumstances. I agree that home plate collisions are a different matter. I like the idea of providing runners from third a lane to the plate, and, so long as the catcher is standing outside the lane, the runner can’t truck him.

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  6. Otis says:

    I agree completely.

    Holliday started the slide late enough that it should be interference if the rules were correct.

    One other note on the Holliday play…..he’s clumsy. Watch closely and you’ll see he got his foot stuck in the mud and it propelled him forward very awkwardly. He could have gotten hurt himself.

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  7. Zach says:

    Another option might be to allow the umpire to call the batter out as well on plays like that. If you go into second base with no intent at actually sliding to the base, it’s just called a double play no matter what (call it runner’s interference or whatever). I’d imagine that would also go a long way toward stemming the tide of that play.

    Collisions at home plate are a bit different in my book. The catcher is wearing some amount of protective padding (though of course that’s for protection from foul balls, not baserunners), and they’re generally among the larger, sturdier players on a baseball team. Additionally, the type of contact is usually different: instead of getting contacted in the lower leg/knee area side on, they’re taking the contact in the chest face on. Now, maybe the concussion risks are such that you want to dissuade that kind of contact as well, but again I think the fact that you’d likely be called out even if the catcher drops the ball would go a long way to stopping that kind of contact without resorting to ejections.

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    • Preston says:

      I think this is better than Dave’s idea of suspension, because it deters Matt Holliday from making this play, but a team will still want the Scott Cousins of the world to take the suspension for the team and save the out. Have umpires call the runner at first out any time there is contact. Runners shouldn’t be trying to break up the throw in any way. they should be trying to make it to the bag by sliding down, foot first, touching the front of the bag. The second baseman should be trying to tag the bag on the other side. Contact between the two is completely unnecessary and dangerous. It’s not even the same as plays at the plate where a run is at stake, we are talking about risking a serious knee injury to a player over the possibility of preventing an out. An out that might not have been gotten without contact, and an out that could be gotten with the contact.

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      • SirWill says:

        I think Zach and Preston nailed it on the head. If I had a choice between Dave and Zach’s ideas I choose Zach’s hands down. As Preston mentioned a team could put a nobody pinch runner in there who he doesn’t care if he gets tossed out of the game. But if he knew that the runner at 1st would be called out automatically for it then he would certainly think twice.

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      • Preston says:

        I also think it needs to go the other way. If we are going to take away contact at second base then throwers need to avoid the contact, staying behind or stepping to the side of the bag.

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      • TiensyGohan says:

        No team is going to carry a nobody pinch runner on the 25 man just on the off chance you have to take out a 2nd baseman.

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      • Preston says:

        What bench player would be missed terribly by their team if he were suspended for a game? You could absolutely punt in a pinch runner and say do whatever it takes. The disincentive can’t be a determination after the game. It needs to have an effect in game. You are sliding into the 2b in the hopes that you MIGHT prevent an out that MIGHT happen, if you make it so that sliding out of the path or across the back GUARANTEED that out, you wouldn’t ever do it again. Problem solved. The runner should be sliding to the right edge of the bag and the 2b should be toeing the left side, no need for them to make contact.

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      • AC of DC says:

        Rule 7.09(e) may address the play in question: It is Interference 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.”

        Most of the items in this section share language with 7.08(b) which declares a runner out if “He intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball” — neither of which specifically covers a fielder making a play after receiving a thrown ball, and may suggest some gray area. However, for consideration, Rule 2.00 (Terms of Play) uses the phrase “any fielder attempting to make a play” under INTERFERENCE. The point is that a takeout slide can reasonably be construed as Interference.

        Judgment on a Catcher blocking the plate is a matter of Obstruction. Comment in 2.00 under OBSTRUCTION clarifies “if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he maybe considered ‘in the act of fielding the ball.'” Note the “must occupy his position” part. It would be highly irregular for a Catcher to NEED to put his leg in front of home plate in order to field a ball.

        NOTE under Comment under 7.06(b) does suggest a Catcher may occupy the baseline while in possession of the ball, but why do so? All he has to do is apply a tag; there is no call for a “quien es mas macho” showdown. The point is that without the ball, even while waiting for a throw, the Catcher should not block the plate for reason of Obstruction (and thus cannot gain necessary miliseconds by slightly redirecting a runner), and once he has the ball he should not block the plate for reason of practicality.

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      • Baltar says:

        Thorough, great, well-researched, well-written reply, AC of DC (great name, too).
        You should be a baseball writer.

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  8. Keith says:

    Agree in principle that something like you’ve written would reduce violent collisions, which is the point here. But, I would be surprised if it even came close to stopping retaliation stemming from the incident. There’s such an ingrained honor code of tit-for-tat and “defending your guys”, that I doubt ejection would be an adequate substitute for the old-school traditions.

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    • AK7007 says:

      The point is that nobody would try it if they were going to get thrown out for it.

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      • Keith says:

        That’s one point, not the whole point.

        “The entire act of beaning-as-retribution is meant to disincentivize plays like that to begin with, but is only seen as necessary because the league isn’t doing anything to dissuade Holliday from making that slide to begin with.”

        I would be surprised if retaliation stopped just because those who broke new rules were league-penalized (ejection). Retaliation in baseball seems more than an honor thing than a deterrent thing.

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    • Jason says:

      I disagree. Agree with the author that the culture of “tit for tat” has probably evolved as a deterent in the absence of rule based penalties. Who knows … MLB may even be deliberately using this culture of deterence as a preference over legislating behavior through the rule book.

      Either way … protect the players by making both the slides and acts of retribution punishable.

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  9. Rob says:

    I’d be for this rule change, assuming it would be accompanied by a rule preventing fielders from “blocking” the bag in any way, including home plate. In my mind the rule would say that any contact made in the runner’s direct path to the bag/plate would result in the runner being granted the base, regardless of the natural result of the play. That would go farther to prevent injuries, especially to catchers, than even regulating the runner. If the rule is “block the plate and the runner scores”, then maybe people will stop blocking the plate and putting themselves in harms way.

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    • Ixcila says:

      I wonder how rundowns would work under such a rule. It’d be easy for a guy to claim a defender who had him in a rundown was blocking a bag. Not saying it’s a fatal flaw, but there’d need to be some subtlety in the rule.

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      • Anon says:

        The defender can block only after gaining possesion of the ball (not in anticipation of it).

        Rundowns would not change at all.

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  10. Beef says:

    I agree with the premise. But the idea that the incentive structure only works in one direction seems off to me. The sliding player is not immune to injury; just ask Justin Morneau.

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  11. joser says:

    The exciting plays at the plate, for me, don’t involve collisions — if I wanted to see that, I’d watch football. The exciting plays at the plate are the ones where the catcher is set up off the plate — up the line or in front — and wheels around to make the tag on the runner sliding behind him. Or ones like the recent Ichiro-Weiters dance, where the runner slides around the catcher and reaches in to tag the plate. So I agree — if the catcher wasn’t allowed to “occupy” the plate, and the runner wasn’t allowed to “take him out,” I think we’d have more exciting plays, not less.

    Of course, the devil is in the details and it gets a little tricky defining that for a rulebook: the catcher can’t block the plate, but surely he can have a foot on it. And once you allow a foot, you probably allow a (padded) leg. And he can’t block the entire basepath such that the runner has to go outside it just to reach the plate. But that’s why we still have human umpires, right? To make judgement calls like that?

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  12. The Only Nolan says:

    It’s clear something has to be done but why not let Joe Torre or someone in the Commissioner’s Office issue a fine or suspension after the game is over and the play can be properly reviewed. The last thing I want to see is the umpires have to make another judgement call on something that happens in the blink of an eye. If the offense is especially egregious Holliday, using last night’s example, could be fined and suspended for the next game in the series. If it occurs in the last game of the season he can start the following season with a longer suspension. With this system the player is penalized but the call is not the umpire’s to make.

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  13. oldschoolways says:

    Would that result in more players going in standing up to try to block throws and break up the DP that way?

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    • The Only Nolan says:

      I doubt it. If you were running to 2nd and your two choices were to either slide or get drilled in the face from 15 feet away wouldn’t you slide?

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      • oldschoolways says:

        Well you could always put your hands in front of your face.

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      • Kenny says:

        If you get hit by a throw after getting called out, then it is interference and the runner automatically gets called out at first.

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      • vivalajeter says:

        Kenny, are you sure that’s the case? Or is it only the case when a runner intentionally gets in the way of the throw? If it’s always interference when a runner gets hit by a throw, wouldn’t a 2b/SS throw at the runner on purpose in order to guarantee a double play?

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  14. Spike says:

    Hear Hear!

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  15. Choo says:

    I would like to suggest a rule that requires the runner sliding into second or third base, on a force play, to make contact with the front side of the bag (not the top) before any other part of his body extends beyond said point of contact. That would prevent players from sliding across the top of the bag (like Holliday last night) or staying within hands reach of the bag to attack a defender who is clearing himself. It is virtually impossible to make first-contact with the fascia of the base at full speed AND continue across the base while maintaining that speed, at least not without risking injury to yourself.

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    • TKDC says:

      Plus 1, and the call should be interference, not an ejection. However, I would like to note that this play, like the Posey play resulted from defensive players standing in there and trying to make the play (and the SF play has been morphed into something it wasn’t by people who would make the “the moon landing was filmed in Arizona” crowd look sane). If Posey didn’t take actions that made it look like he was going to block the plate, Cousins would not have run him over. You can’t expect him to change his mind at the last second when, and only at that point, it appeared there was a path to the plate. If he slides and Posey puts his shin in the way, Cousins is out (if Posey catches the ball). This case is different, but you see plays like this all the time where the defender jumps out the way and makes the throw or concedes that the hustling runner has prevented the play from occurring. Baseball is not a contact sport in most instances. I’m as against things like throwing at players and cheap shots as anyone, but there is nothing wrong with infrequent physical contact that is intrigal to the game (as opposed to hitting players or not wearing helmets, which are not really part of the game).

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  16. Mr Punch says:

    At second base, call interference when a runner hits the pivot man away from the base. Home plate is a different issue, it’s the catcher’s choice – although I would have banned Pete Rose after that (meaningless) All Star game hit, thus saving MLB endless controversy going forward.

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    • Spike says:

      tho that only makes the base runner out which he is anyway. the difference between the force play at 2B and a play at the plate is that the runner at 2B isn’t really trying to get in safely, he’s just trying to take away the DP… thus, that is where the penalty has to go. If a runner going in to 2B either goes out of the baseline or makes a flagrant attempt to take out the 2Bman by using a dangerous takeout slide then the umps should have the discretion to call the DP.

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      • Anon says:

        If a runner going in to 2B either goes out of the baseline or makes a flagrant attempt to take out the 2Bman by using a dangerous takeout slide then the umps should have the discretion to call the DP.

        They do under the existing rules.

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  17. vivalajeter says:

    Maybe I missed it – but was there any reference to a catcher blocking the plate? The article seems pretty incomplete without it.

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  18. johndango says:

    NO. Stop trying to make this a gentleman’s game. This is a MAN’S game. When you play 2nd base, you expect to get hit. It. Is. The. Game.

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    • Neil S says:

      Whether it’s a “man’s game” or not is irrelevant. (It’s also untrue – plenty of boys, girls, and women play it.) Chess is a man’s game – that doesn’t mean that Grandmasters spike each other under the table to prevent their opponent from capturing the queen.

      If you like it the way it is, on the other hand, you could try presenting an actual argument.

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    • Jason says:

      I don’t think there is anything particularly manly about hitting defenseless people. You have a lower standard of manhood than I do.

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    • shibboleth says:

      The world will be a better place when this infantile mode of reasoning goes the way of the dodo.

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  19. Gabriel says:

    I disagree with this statement:
    “his actions don’t suggest an intent to injure”

    I’m not bashing Holliday specifically, but I think this play (which is done universally in baseball) is specifically intended to cause bodily harm to the person turning the double play. It forces the fielder to decide to either accept that harm and try to get the second out, or give up on making the play.

    The baserunner may not consciously want to injure the person covering second, but the only way to achieve his desired goal is to create that possibility — in other words, an unconscious intent to injure.

    I agree that this is also an issue at home plate, but the chief difference in situations in my mind is that at second base it’s a force play. The runner is already out and yet continues to try and hurt the fielder. At home plate, at least you can say that the runner hopes to knock the ball loose and score — there is a defensible reason for the runner to claim that he himself should be taking that action.

    What I guess surprises me is that we don’t seep layers who hit groundballs barreling into first-basemen to knock the ball loose. Maybe because first basemen are big?

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    • Brandon says:

      You make a good point distinguishing slides meant to break up DPs at 2nd base and collisions meant to dislodge a ball or prevent a clean handling of a ball at home plate. The play at 2nd is essentially a third party. who’s technically out of the game (a player who is called out at 1st base before the ball is dead due to situations developing elsewhere on the field has a duty to get out of the way), attempting to alter a play elsewhere. The play at home is a player acting directly on his own behalf to alter his outcome while he is still in play.

      I don’t agree, however, that “intending to create the impression that injury is possible” is the same as “intending to injure.” A subconscious intent to injure would mean that the player on some level want to injure the other player, and slides intended to break up a DP do not necessarily possess that intent. A person who intends to injure, even subconsciously, is acting more maliciously than a player wishing to simply create an impression that injury is possible. That isn’t to say, however, that the latter intent isn’t in some sense malicious, just less malicious and not the same as “intending to injure.”

      Also, runners don’t barrel into 1st baseman at 1st base because it’s always a force out and the player is out when the 1st baseman gains possession. Therefore, in almost all cases, the only two meaningful outcomes would be contact without injury and contact with injury.

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    • chuckb says:

      He intended to make contact with Scutaro. He didn’t intend to injure. His actions were reckless, not deliberate.

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  20. Eminor3rd says:

    Too many situations where contact is unavoidable. Makes sense in the Holliday play, but you can’t put a rule down that removes the runner’s right-of-way to the base. What happens when a C is in the way? A third baseman could block the bag too on a throw from the OF. If the player is in the way, are you going to eject the runner for “initiating contact?

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  21. JustAnotherGuy says:

    Contrite or not, this isn’t Holliday’s first time making questionable decisions when sliding into second.

    http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=17460093&c_id=chc

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    • Bryce says:

      I’ve always observed that Holiday is an extremely aggressive slider. I’d be willing to bet that he has more collisions than any other Cardinals player. Do we have statistics we could use to check this?

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  22. Calvin says:

    Just borrow ideas from lower leagues. Use double bases- one is the defender’s, one is the runner’s. If the runner takes out a defender who’s staying on his bag, interference (if applicable). Blocking a slide into any base is illegal (runner automatically safe), and you can’t dump-truck the catcher or anybody else or you’re automatically out along with whatever else needs to happen (interference, etc). In-game ejection isn’t needed IMO, as long as the conduct is useless to begin with, and suspensions can be handled centrally.

    As long as you create a system where there’s no reason for the defender to be in the runner’s way (blocking bases illegal) and no reason for the runner to hit the defender (he has his own base, and it’s interference), you reduce legal contact to situations where an errant throw draws a defender into the runner’s path, and there’s really nothing anybody can do when that happens. Intentionally blowing the defender up is still illegal, but he’s going to get hit on some slides.

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  23. steex says:

    My memory may be incorrect, but I could swear I remember instances of umpires calling interference on the runner (and thus ruling a double play) when someone rolls over/through second base such that they hit the fielder broadside rather than going at him leading with feet/legs.

    This was the first thing I thought of when I saw the play last night – Holliday doesn’t slide into and through the base, he rolls over the base and thus basically carries out a flying tackle of Scutaro’s legs, which is generally considered more likely to cause injury.

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    • steex says:

      I suspect one of the incidents I’m thinking of is the Carlos Ruiz-Marcus Giles interference play from August 24, 2007. Unfortunately, can’t locate video of the play.

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  24. Pirates Hurdles says:

    Couldn’t disagree more Dave.

    It’s a sport and sports involve contact. There is a price to pay for getting that second out. Just like there is a price tag on preventing the a run at the plate.

    It’s the wussification of America. The entire concept that sports should be sanitized so that players do not incur injuries in the workplace is ridiculous. There are many occupations that result in long term consequences for the employees (heck even desk jobs cause increase rates of disease and shorten lifespan). Its a price you pay and the players are compensated richly for the risk.

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    • JR says:

      Yeah! Enough with the batting helmets,and facemasks in football,and goalie masks in hockey! Mouthguards! Back in the day real men never even thought about wussy stuff like that. With their lost teeth and broken noses they looked like real men too! And pro athletes are getting paid good money for those concussions-so what if their life is shortened by decades! It. Is. The. Game.

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      • Pirates Hurdles says:

        Protective equipment does not equate to changing the rules of the game to avoid all contact. Totally irrelevant.

        That said, if you want to limit concussions in the NFL, taking the helmets off would likely have a great impact.

        To the larger issue, many professions shorten the lifespan of the employee. Should we stop the manufacturing industry because people get hurt? Should we change the rules for every office in America because people at a desk get fatter, and die younger?

        Enough with the blame culture. Baseball players have reasonable protections in place to maintain their health. They are making a conscious decision to play a sport that may involve injury. If they don’t want that risk, don’t play.

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      • Brandon says:

        Pirates, the helmet comment is relevant. In the case of both helmets and Dave’s suggested rule, you are changing the game in a way that helps prevent serious injury and has very little effect on any other outcome.

        Second, if other jobs can be changed in a way that makes them safer and have very little effect on any other aspect of the job, those changes should also be made.

        I also don’t know what this “blame culture” is that you mention. While there are reasonable protections, there can be other reasonable protections, such as Dave’s rule, that minimize unnecessary injury. The sport does involve injury, but it shouldn’t involve unnecessary and avoidable injury.

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      • Pirates Hurdles says:

        But Dave’s rule completely changes the game outcome, by eliminating a critical part of the game’s play. I played 2B for years and spent hours working on that pivot to protect myself. That’s the way the game was designed. The 2B isn’t out there playing a game of relay with teh SS and 1B, he’s making a play based on skill and talent.

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      • Brandon says:

        Well I guess that’s where we differ. I played 3rd base my whole life, so I don’t have first-hand knowledge as a defender in that situation. I just don’t think the frequency of DPs is going to increase significantly. And I think the benefit of further preventing injury outweighs any increase in DP frequency.

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    • Sadmetsfan says:

      If a team doesn’t want their second basemen or shortstop to be in harms way then they should forego the second out of the double play. The fielding team has just as much control over whether or not there is contact at second base.

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    • Jason says:

      I don’t get this cultural element that thinks hitting defenseless people is some how masculine and worthy of glorification. I enjoy contact sports more than anyone I know, but its the competitive aspect that makes it entertaining. Hitting defenseless people isn’t competitive.

      Part of what makes sports special is the analogies to real life. Did you stand aside in Jr. High when the bully picked on the defenseless kid, or did you stand up to him. Defending the defenseless is not “wussy.”

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      • Pirates Hurdles says:

        Jason, they are defenseless because they choose to put their body in that position. In football, WR used to fear the middle of the field, this allowed for a more balanced game. The NFL legislated the hits out and now its video game football. In baseball its a choice to put yourself in harms way in exchange for an out.

        These arn’t poor defenseless people, they are players in game that rewards personal sacrifice.

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      • a says:

        A more balanced game? Like the defense gets free shots because it’s nearly impossible for a WR to catch a pass while simultaneously bracing for a spear from a safety who tackles with his head instead of doing it correctly? That’s “balance” to you?

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    • Brandon says:

      As JR mentioned, your argument, taken to its logical conclusion, leads to arguments against helmets rules meant to discourage gross bodily injury, and that’s a problem. The downside of instilling a rule like Dave’s is that a team has a slightly smaller chance of hitting into a double play. The upside, however, is that such a rule prevents serious injury. Injuries to these men aren’t isolated incidents that only affect their ability to play baseball in the immediate future. The injuries can ruin careers, hamper a person’s ability to take care of his children, ruin career prospects post baseball, etc. To want to subject these people to such risk simply because it can make a double play somewhat less likely is ridiculous.

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      • Brandon says:

        slightly *greater* chance of hitting into a double play*

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      • Pirates Hurdles says:

        You’re right, injuries can ruin careers and lives. That’s life, deal with it. This is my point, we are a very soft generation. We can’t even stomach palyer X getting a knee injury without screaming to change the game. Every person faces occupational risk. At the same time its impossible to eliminate all risk. For some reason our society has chosen to attempt to limit risk to the point of idiocy. This isn’t just baseball, it’s many walks of life.

        The NFL is a good sports example where the league was once a balanced game but is now a offense only joke most games. The league in its attempt to eliminate risk has altered the rules to point where stopping the opponent in no longer possible. You get your best two teams in the league sporting the 31st and 32nd defenses (GB and NE 2011).

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      • Brandon says:

        Pirates, injuries do happen, and people have to deal with them. And while I you may make other viable points, this suggestion doesn’t involve them. No one is trying to eliminate all risk. The point isn’t to cry foul and be overly paternalistic. This rationale behind such a change is very simple: it’s an easily instituted change that helps prevent serious injury while having very little effect on any other aspect of the game.

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      • Tim says:

        And yet they subject themselves to the risk simply because it makes a double play more likely. There’s a quandary buried in here that’s more complex than you’re giving it credit for.

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      • Brandon says:

        Tim, I actually quite like your post. It’s an interesting point. However, I think there’s a pretty easy answer to why MIFs subject themselves to the risk for the sake of a DP: if they don’t, someone else will. In other words, it’s a prerequisite for starting as a SS or 2B. I don’t think that justifies allowing the risk to persist despite an easy fix. People would play pro football even if leading-with-the-helmet hits were allowed, but that doesn’t mean allowing such hits is a good idea.

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      • Jason B says:

        “You’re right, injuries can ruin careers and lives. That’s life, deal with it”

        Where do you draw the line? Did you get vaccines? Drink clean water or straight from the toilet? Ever take cold medication, or anything for blood pressure or cholesterol? Wear a brace on a knee or ankle? That all seems kinda…wussified. Should just man up and “deal with it.”

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    • CamFrye says:

      Should they get rid of batting helmets too?

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      • I Agree Guy says:

        Yes. It’s time to end wussification.

        I also advocate the hitting of runners with the ball in order to get them out.

        And the beating of wives, real men beat them senseless instead of this wussy talking thing.

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    • Flharfh says:

      “It’s a sport and sports involve contact.”

      So golf, swimming, running, volleyball, tennis, biking, track & field, x-games. . . none of those are sports to you?

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    • sewf says:

      The thing is, in normal workplaces, there are safety standards you have to follow. You have to attempt to create a place free from hazards. That means, even if a certain situation that causes danger isn’t written as a standard or regulation, an employee can be cited for failure to provide a safe workplace if the hazard is preventable or can be lessened.

      It’s not the “wussification of America”. Take out slides such as Holliday’s result in an unnecessary increase risk of injury. Disallowing such plays would have no impact on the quality of the game. Baseball would still be baseball. I don’t understand why some people are so against ensuring player safety. Baseball isn’t a contact sport. The point of the game isn’t to knock the crap out of a player in attempt to knock the ball lose or break up plays. It’s not football. Wanting to protect baseball players from dangerous situations that aren’t necessary to baseball is hardly a bad or “wussy” thing.

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  25. Bob Dole says:

    In the 2009 postseason Holliday was called out for a takeout slide. This guy knows exactly what he is doing.

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    • steex says:

      Holliday had a rather questionable “slide” into Starlin Castro during the 2011 regular season as well. He wasn’t called out for it, but he pretty much just runs through the base and improvises an attempt to trip Castro into a slide. Video below.

      http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=17460093&c_id=chc

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      • Kris says:

        That is what needs to be outlawed. I think it is fine to allow contact on reasonable slides into 2B, but Holliday did not slide, he went well out of the way of the base and attempted to trip Castro, and then allowed himself to fall over so that he could pretend to call it a slide. That’s bush league.

        Runners should be required to slide to the base, within the base line. That’s the only rule change which is required. No more “within reach of the base.”

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  26. marc says:

    Not defending Holliday because he clearly slid late, but Scutaro deserves some of the blame here. He knows the guys coming in hard and Scutaro needs to be an athlete and get off the bag. He just stands there and only barely moves his left leg at the end. Hollidays slide is a little bush league, but Scutaro needs to get off the bag.

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    • steex says:

      To me, it looks like Scutaro was positioned for the contact that comes with a normal takeout slide. If Holliday slides cleanly into and through the base feet first, Scutaro’s knees would buckle and he’d fall down on top of Matt like we frequently see. A lot of middle infielders handle the clean play that way, they shouldn’t be forced to completely clear the vicinity of second base in anticipation of a move like Holliday’s,

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  27. Matt says:

    First of all, most of you wing nuts assume that by creating a rule it can someone be enforced…and this by the umpiring teams that can barely enforce the basic rules of the game today, fail. Second, this is professional sports with players being paid millions of dollars and for the ultimate prize. You DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO to win the game (excluding anything with intent to injure). This was a clumsy slide (with the intention of breaking up a DP)..was it questionable, yes…do we need a rule change…god no. Also, most of you aren’t even qualified to be making any of these suggestions, if any of you followed Holliday’s career you’d know what kind of player and person he is, enough with non story.

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    • JR says:

      What ARE the qualifications?

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      • Matt says:

        How about playing, covering, analyzing (professionally) a sport for a length of time. Most people react emotionally when some “event” occurs and immediately make judgements based on asinine amount of knowledge (or lack thereof)

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      • Brandon says:

        First, all rules are created based on the assumption that that rule can be enforced. To imply that umpires can’t determine when a slide’s only possible effect is to break up a DP is baseless and indefensible. I don’t care if you’ve lost trust in umpires because of a few highly-publicized bad calls.

        Second, I’m not even sure what your argument is when you say “you do what you have to do to win the game.” Taken to its logical conclusion creates absurd results. Instituting a rule like Dave’s has a downside: a team is slightly more likely to hit into a DP. It also has an upside: it helps prevent serious bodily injury. Wanting to subject players to such risk because it makes DPs slightly less likely is ridiculous.

        Third, the only qualification one needs to pass judgment or form an opinion on the matter is the ability to think rationally. A person does this by weighing the costs and benefits of such a rule. Most people who come to this website are capable of this.

        Also, I accidentally gave one of your comments a thumbs up, and I’d like the moderator to reverse it.

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    • Ken says:

      “You DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO to win the game (excluding anything with intent to injure).”

      How is this not intent to injure? I’ll borrow Gabriel’s words from above because he said it quite well:

      “The baserunner may not consciously want to injure the person covering second, but the only way to achieve his desired goal is to create that possibility — in other words, an unconscious intent to injure.”

      Does the pitcher throwing the ball at the batter intend to injure him? Likely not, but there’s enough of a possibility that guys can get kicked out of the game for doing it. The same is true here. There’s enough of the possibility of injury, and a conscious choice to take a slide that has a high chance of causing injury, to warrant altering the way we handle plays at second.

      “…if any of you followed Holliday’s career you’d know what kind of player and person he is…”

      I am also slightly amused that on a web site dedicated to following the sport of baseball you outright state that no one here follows Holliday’s career. Heck, I’ve followed his career because I like him as a player and want him on my team.

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      • JR says:

        Matt-so I have to be a professional baseball writer to have a valid opinion? And I guess playing 2B only at the high school level disqualifies me as well. Come to think of it I’ll also have to back off my political opinions-I’ve NEVER worked in politics at all!

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      • Matt says:

        I suspect that you’ve never played baseball or any sport for that matter. You’d know that in the heat of a slide..you are not exactly thinking, should I slide 4 inches to the left, or slower etc. You example of unconscious intent to injure is unbelievable and if valid would be used in every single murder case in this country. You either intentionally do something or you don’t, that is NOT arguable.

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      • Ken says:

        “You either intentionally do something or you don’t, that is NOT arguable.”

        People take risks. Pitchers try to hit a batter in the back, the ball flies a bit, and the batter gets hit in the head. Holliday tries to make a good, hard slide to break up the double play and Scutaro gets rolled up. Josh Harrison tries to knock the ball out of Yadier Molina’s glove and levels him instead. Are any of these intending to injure the player? Probably not, but in each case a player is making a decision to do something that has a high risk of injuring another player.

        Dave’s suggestion is to penalize players who make decisions that have a higher than normal probability of injuring someone else.

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    • Jason says:

      Well, we are the consumers of this product so I think we are qualified to say what type of game we want to watch.

      For most of us that means we like watching great athletes like Posey, Santana, and Castro play the game at a very high level, and we feel like this type of contact jeopardizes our ability to do that.

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      • Matt says:

        Jason,

        your examples of “great” athletes are garbage. Try again and you’ll get a merited response.

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      • Jason says:

        Matt – if you don’t think hitting 95 mph fastballs is elite athleticism then perhaps your watching the sport.

        Or is your point that baseball players aren’t atheletes so the only entertainment value is watching collisions like nascar? I can’t really tell what point you are trying to make as I weave through your passive agressive avoidance of substantive dialogue.

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  28. Nitpick says:

    “Right now, Major League Baseball does nothing to incentivize runners to avoid collisions with prone defenders, either at second base or at home plate.”

    Nor should they, because a prone defender would be lying flat on the ground. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prone_position

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  29. Kenntoe says:

    Kinda disagree with the overall sentiment of this article.

    Second basemen are not defenseless. They can inflict their own damage on a runner as well with a low throw forcing the runner down, or using their knees to force the player down unless they want to get decked in the helmet.

    This is not football, there isn’t contact on every play and while it looks bad that 6’4” Holliday trucked through 5’9” Scutaro but that’s just the nature of the game. No need for warrantless suspensions. It’s a part of the game that hasn’t bothered baseball or it’s participants in the last 100+ years we’ve been playing this game.

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    • Johnhavok says:

      And it was never a problem to have quarterbacks take headshots in the past 100 years of football either, but there are now progressive rules in place to hel to prevent injury to them.

      Not using this argument to equate baseball to football because they are very different games when it comes to physical contact, but moreso to illustrate the laziness and overall absurdity of the “it’s been this way for the last 100 years.” argument.

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    • Jason says:

      Missed the point. It bothers the fans. Scutaro is better than Theriot. We would rather watch better players. The momentary excitement of this play does not justify the overall degredation of the game when superior athletes are injured and replaced by inferior ones.

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      • Bad Bill says:

        So it would have been okay if Riot had been playing second, and Holliday had flattened him so that the Giants had to bring in the superior Scooter?

        “We would rather watch superior players” is as lame as the “It’s a man’s game” is on the other side of the argument.

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      • Jason says:

        Say more please? Doesnt the game have an interest in protecting the athletes that the fans are following? If Theriot had been on 2nd that would have meant the Giants would have had to call up Emmanuel Burris … and nobody should have to watch that. My point is that the overall quality of the game is dimished when players are hurt.

        I’m genuinely seeking understanding here … how is that as irrelevant as preserving some misplace sense of manhood?

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  30. Landshark says:

    I think calling this a “late slide” is being very generous. Holliday lands knees first on the back of the bag, never extendeds his legs and makes contact with his upper torso on Scutaro’s hip. He fully intended on taking out Scutaro on the play. I doubt he intended to hurt him or take him out of the game, but he has to accept his methods had a huge margin for error. I think trying to eliminate all risk from the game will make it too boring to watch. But I also think tossing someone from the game in a situation like this would at least send the message they need to minimize the possibility of injuring someone.

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    • joed says:

      he lands that way because he is clumsy and caught his right foot on his left foot when he started to slide

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      • I Agree Guy says:

        He lands that way because he started his “slide” while nearly on top of the bag, it didn’t have anything to do with being “clumsy.”

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  31. Nick C says:

    Personally, I think the rule is there, the umps just didnt enforce it. The double play should’ve been called thus making Holliday or who ever else think twice when doing it again.

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  32. Chris from Bothell says:

    Wha?

    First, the existing interference rules work just fine for situations where egregious contact is happening where the runner would otherwise be safe.

    See rule 6.05m, “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 6.05(m) 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.”

    Also see 7.08b, “Any runner is out when he intentionally interferes with a thrown ball; or hinders a fielder attempting to make a play on a batted ball; Rule 7.08(b) Comment: A runner who is adjudged to have hindered a fielder who is attempting to make a play on a batted ball is out whether it was intentional or not. If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire’s judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional. If the umpire declares the hindrance intentional, the following penalty shall apply: With less than two out, the umpire shall declare both the runner and batter out. With two out, the umpire shall declare the batter out.”

    I know, this doesn’t apply to this specific play because Holliday was already out by a fair bit before colliding with Scutaro, so yes, there’s your bit about incentivizing people because you can’t exactly make Holliday out twice as much. But then you can go to 9.01d: “Each umpire has authority to disqualify any player, coach, manager or substitute for objecting to decisions or for unsportsmanlike conduct or language, and to eject such disqualified person from the playing field.” Unsportsmanlike conduct can include slides like this if you like.

    Second, Scutaro had the neighborhood play available to him. He could have chosen to field the ball in such a way as to stay safe, if protecting himself were of such importance.

    Third, I couldn’t disagree more with the way your proposed rule change is presented, because in an era of blown calls and instant replay controversy, the last thing MLB needs is another rule that relies on subjective interpretation, especially interpretation of intent.

    And lastly, Buster Posey injury example aside, there should be little to no sympathy for or concern for the safety of catchers in the situations you describe.

    A second baseman or shortstop is likely to be one of the smaller, lighter guys on the team, probably more on the move, more likely to be stretched into awkward or offbalance positions as they field the ball. If you want to try to protect them beyond what the neighborhood play already gives them, there’s an argument to be made there, ok.

    But catchers are likely among the sturdiest and stockiest people on the team, they are trained from little league on how to brace and protect themselves, they have the most padding and gear of anyone on the field except maybe and umpire, and the existing rules cover how much of plate to block and what the runner’s allowed to do, just fine.

    So, I don’t see a reason to call for rule changes for this. 2nd basemen are fine. Catchers are fine.

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    • Spike says:

      then it’s on the umps to apply the rules if they already exist.

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      • philosofool says:

        It’s also on baseball to make clear that it wants rules like this to be enforced. Part of the problem is that sometimes tradition creates unwritten rules and you have to ununwrite them.

        Baseball should reiterate these rules to players. It should tell managers that these rules will be enforced in 2013. Managers should come out of the dugout and argue that there was interference on the play. Etc.

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    • Delirium Nocturnum says:

      hear hear – more legislation is not the answer

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    • jim says:

      very well said

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    • Bad Bill says:

      Agreed. The Law of Unintended Consequences says to leave this one alone.

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      • Nick C says:

        Not sure if you said it in your post, but I think the ump should’ve called the player out at first thus removing the reason for his hard slide. Chances are Scut doesnt make the play even without contact, so it would make the runner think twice before does what Holliday did.

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  33. DJG says:

    Two points. One, I don’t think a suspension is warranted (except in extreme cases like Albert Belle forearming Fernando Vina to the deck), as others have noted simply calling the runner out (runners in the case of a double play) would suffice. Isn’t this already done in High School? Just adopt similar collision rules up the chain.

    Two, it cuts both ways. When Stephen Drew was thrown out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple in the ALDS, Miguel Cabrera was kneeling in front of the bag completely blocking it. The throw beat Drew by so much, it didn’t really matter, but had it been a bang-bang play there would have been no way for Drew to touch the base without a collision.

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  34. stan says:

    For a judgment call like that, I don’t think ejection is the proper remedy. I’d actually rather have the threat of a 2 game suspension. At least that would be more likely to be reviewed.

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  35. channelclemente says:

    If there is any overt response by the Giants, it’ll be next year. The Giants open against the Cardinals at home. This act by them just illustrates what happens when you start to believe your own press releases.

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  36. Paul B says:

    At home, enforce the rule that prevents catchers from blocking the plate while waiting for the ball. Give the runners access to the plate so they aren’t forced to knock the catcher out of the way.

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  37. chuckb says:

    I think the sentiment is right but I believe the word “deliberate” needs to be in there. “Initiates contact”, to me, is far too vague. Players can initiate contact with one another but do so accidentally and an ejection isn’t warranted in that case. Here, not only did Holliday initiate contact with Scutaro, he also did it deliberately. I’d be ok with an ejection in this case but the word “deliberate” has to be added to your rule change, in my view, in order to make it clearer to the players and the umpires which kinds of contact should be considered unacceptable.

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  38. Ralph says:

    Ejection and suspension seems a bit harsh. Perhaps a simple rule that if the runner does make (purposeful) contact with the fielder at 2nd the runner at first is automatically out as well. Making an automatic out at 1st when there is a chance your runner will be safe by beating the tag or a throwing error should be disincentive enough to stop take-out slides into 2nd.

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  39. elooie says:

    the rule could be pretty easy. If the defender is on the LF side of the bag any contact by the runner is an automatic out and an automatic double play if the defender is attempting to turn 2.

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    • elooie says:

      You could also use the same rule for sliding to the same side of the bag (SS or RF side) if the defender is on that side.

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  40. joed says:

    it boggles my mind why no one can mention that Holliday tripped, its obvious in the video his right cleat clips his left one which causes him to not slide correctly

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    • Kris says:

      Then you mean to imply that he never intended to slide at all. Which is of course not true. Holliday did exactly what he intended to do, and others have already posted videos of him doing virtually this exact same thing on other occasions, and mentioned numerous other occasions as well.

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  41. Mike F. says:

    I totally agreee that the defendwers need more protection. The game has always evolved and there is no reason it can’t evolve more to protect players from unnecessary injury.

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  42. dannux says:

    I basically just disagree. Sure, people will get injured in these collisions sometimes. But it is really rather rare, and the injuries we are talking about–though sometimes rather vicious–are not life-threatening. Comparing this to football isn’t really that fair. It isn’t like these players are suffering permanent brain damage. The worst thing that happens is a broken ankle or a torn knee. Those injuries are painful, but they are a reality in any contact sport. You are basically just proposing the removal of contact from the sport, and though that would make the sport safer, it would make EVERY sport safer. It would be safer if every time you fouled a player hard in basketball it meant an ejection. But it would also make basketball a much less fun sport to watch.

    The idea of transforming baserunning in order to eliminate 4 or 5 non-permanent injuries a year does not seem like progress to me. Why don’t we ban sliders and have innings caps like we are in little league? That way no pitchers will get hurt. We can set up a net in front of the pitcher, too, so no comebackers will hit him.

    There is some danger in sports. Deal with it.

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    • Jason B says:

      Easy to celebrate and/or encourage danger when it’s not your body or livelihood on the line…

      “Knock that clown out! Who cares if he has kids or family, I can high-five my BROS!!”

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  43. SirWill says:

    1) If a player slides in to 2nd or 3rd base with the perceived intention of preventing the relay to 1st or 2nd base interference is called and the player is out automatically at 1st or 2nd base.
    2) If the runner runs in to the catcher who has the ball when there is the possibility of making it safely by going under a tag, or around the catcher the player is called out even if the catcher drops the ball because of the collision. If the runner attempts to avoid the tag at home plate and the catcher moves the block of the plate to initiate the contact the runner scores automatically.

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    • Pirates Hurdles says:

      More judgement calls for the beleaguered umps is just what MLB needs. @sarcasm

      Those kinds of rules will lead to the incredibly inconsistent calls that we see in the NFL every Sunday regarding head hits and hard tackles.

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  44. ARB says:

    Check out Joe Morgan’s slide in the ’72 World Series.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5Dp-DxfAlc

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  45. Tom says:

    Every potential injury causes an outcry of kneejerk crybaby parties.

    This is a generic article, and a poor one at that.

    You are writing on a stathead site. Reacting to an isolated incident with absolutely no statistics on how often this occurs is ridiculous. Should we require that the ball be pitched under 80 MPH? Becuase im nearly certain that fastballs have caused more injuries than slides into second base.

    There is a clear tradeoff between excitement and potential injury in some parts of every game. Football is ruining its sport by trying to make it safer. Baseball is already a relatively safe game, we dont need to make it even less contact heavy than it already is.

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    • Calvin says:

      Let’s unpad the boundaries too. Sooooo boring watching when you know the fielder is going to be ok.

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      • LISTEN YOU GUYS says:

        I see no difference between actively changing the rules to make them more dangerous and declining to change rules to make them less dangerous. Because I am smart.

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    • Ken says:

      Ooh, get rid of helmets too! And man, that play where Brandon McCarthy got hit in the head and had to have brain surgery? How exciting was that? Highlight of the season!

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      • baseball man says:

        Back in my day we would have just walked it off and kept pitching.

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      • Little CANOlli says:

        Come on, incidents like these happen what, maybe a couple times per year? This isn’t the NFL where basically hundreds of guys get smacked in the head by alien-like athletes multiple times per game. Obviously, seeing guys get hurt is not why we watch the game, but MIFs and Cs aren’t dropping like flies and winding up mentally dilapidated after their career’s are over. This really is not an important issue for MLB to examine, especially when there are more pressing needs(like replay)

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      • simo says:

        @baseball man: I sincerely hope you don’t know what happened to McCarthy. Somehow I doubt that if you broke your skull and got an epidermal hemorrhage you would have kept pitching.

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      • Brandon says:

        I think he was being facetious.

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      • Ken says:

        Little CANOlli: Speaking to the 2nd baseman and catcher thing, yeah, things like this happen a few times a year. But what’s the downside of taking them out? A few more double plays? “Wussification” of baseball? And what’s the benefit? A couple of guys a year less who get injured. That seems a pretty good benefit to me.

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      • baseball man says:

        @ simo – joke man. My name wasnt enough to tip you off that I’m playing off this masculinity meme?

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      • simo says:

        @baseball man: haha my bad… that’s like the 2000th time I have misunderstood sarcasm in comments. I’m very happy that the people on fangraphs are much purer than those on youtube etc. Sorry for the mix-up man

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    • Pot, meet kettle! says:

      “Football is ruining its sport by trying to make it safer.”

      Speaking of “kneejerk crybaby” reactions…

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  46. Preston says:

    I get upset watching football games where they constantly penalize players for the way in which they contact offensive players. I think it changes the spirit of the game and puts defenders at a distinct disadvantage that they have to slow up or think about where and with what body part they are hitting the opposition. Baseball is a non-contact sport. I feel like I’m in some kind of logic vacuum when the NFL is trying to legislate out big-hits which are inherently part of the sport to preserve player health, while the MLB is allowing these macho chest beating things like take out slides, and beanballs to go on uncontested. It’s time for Selig to take his head out of the sand and get ahead of something for once. The game is greatly benefited if the best players are healthy and on the field and the focus is on baseball and not these side issues. For that matter technology is your friend and fans are happier when calls are right, so instead of putting an extra ump on the field to call unnecessary infield fly rules, get him in the booth reviewing calls on the video monitor and put the best product on the field that you can.

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  47. Joe Mauer says:

    I think a better way to solve this problem would be to outlaw double force plays.

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  48. HurtRussell says:

    Wah wah wah. Rub some dirt on it.

    Next time Holliday gets up, hit him in the ribs all hard like.

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  49. shthar says:

    When did secondbasemen stop sharpening thier spikes?

    We had to wear rubber spikes back in Legion baseball, but smashing somebody right in the face with a mitt that had a baseball in it served pretty well at convincing people not to come in like that.

    You might miss a DP or two, but we’d rather do that than have to be carried off.

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  50. deadhead says:

    No sliding at all.
    No pitches inside or your tossed.
    Robot umps with ghost runners is the future. We’ll clock guys speed between bases and use that speed as the basis for the call. Running with a ball being thrown is way to dangerous for me. Plus, the real fun of the game is crunching numbers.

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  51. LISTEN YOU GUYS says:

    Lessening risk of injury to players is always a good thing. I don’t need to argue for this premise because most of my audience already agrees with it.

    Anyways, can you believe how dumb those people who like the RBI stat are? We’re so much more analytical than them you guys.

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  52. adohaj says:

    Making rules like the one you suggest makes the game less exciting. Also this rule would give the umpires yet another way to affect the game on blown calls. I can see it now, Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen…ect. Ejected in the first inning when the second basemen stands in front of the bag and gets bowled over.

    Rules like this remind me of how it’s illegal to smoke in a bar in my home state. Someone might get cancer from my cigarette…DONT GO TO THE BAR THEN.

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  53. Nic says:

    The bigger problem is people like you advocating ‘we need more rules’ to make the game better. The game is OK. In fact, there are too many rules already that prevent the game from being fine.

    JUST. LET. THEM. PLAY. It’s just that simple. The players themselves know when something is dirty and when a play is hard but clean. But because of babies like you who need more rules, players can’t take care of it on the field and police themselves anymore. It’s as simple as that.

    With your need for rule additions, you take a whole lot of what’s good out of the game just to take out the occasional bad play.

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