Utley slide may trigger rule change on take-out slides

Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:08pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 2015 Major League Baseball postseason is young but already there is good reason to believe it will leave a significant legacy.

It might well be remembered as the coming out party of the young, slugging Chicago Cubs, and the New York Mets with their array of precocious power pitchers.

But an even surer bet is that the punishing, late slide by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley that ended New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's postseason in Game Two of the Division Series with a broken right leg will lead to MLB legislation.

Baseball may be regarded as a non-contact game, but that is not the case around second base where baserunners are expected to break up potential double plays by disrupting an infielder trying to tag the base and throw to first for a pair of outs.

In the general sporting climate committed to protecting "defenseless" players from damaging hits, most notably in the high-collision National Football League, it is time for baseball to more clearly establish what is and is not a proper slide.

Collision plays at home plate have already been addressed, spurred by a gruesome injury to Buster Posey in 2011, the season after the San Francisco Giants catcher won National League Rookie of the Year honors.

Posey, who helped the Giants claim the 2010 World Series, fractured his leg and needed surgery after the Marlins' Scott Cousins crashed into him at full speed and ended the catcher's season in May.

"What I take away from it is, it eliminates the malicious collision, which is a good thing," Posey told the San Francisco Chronicle about new rules introduced in 2014.   Continued...

Oct 10, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) collides with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley (26) at second base during the seventh inning in game two of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports