MLB Adds New Slide Rule, Will It Affect the Padres?


Sports has a long history of applying specific people to certain rules. When MLB came out with rules a few years ago to protect catchers after Buster Posey was taken out for a year, it was referred to generally as the Posey rule. Now comes the Utley Rule, adjusting the rules surrounding 2nd base collisions after he knocked Mets shortstop out of the playoffs last year. Is this good or bad for baseball?

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The Padres don’t really have any players currently on the roster that would seem to have to really alter their style of play to adjust to the new rule I can think of. Previously, players were given latitude on sliding into the base and trying to take out the second baseman. It is how players are taught in the same vein as “run every ball out to first” as far as do everything you can to break up the double play.

As more focus has been given to safety in all sports including baseball, most youth to college baseball leagues have made it illegal already for the take out slide. Many teams have to actually teach players when they reach the professional ranks how to execute the take out slide.

The new rule reads as follows:

“Under the new Rule 6.01(j), a runner will have to make a ‘bona fide slide,’ which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”

One player that comes to mind in the not-so-distant past that would’ve been affected this rule might have been Brian Giles or Phil Nevin. Both Giles and Nevin stretched the boundaries of aggressiveness and if they were still playing would probably not be too happy with the new rule.

To those who argue against the rule as a crime against baseball, I disagree. Most players seemed to be ready to embrace the new rule, with a few hold-outs notably Chase Utley himself who said, “[The old slide rule] is all I’ve known for a while, so I imagine there will be a little part of adjustment, not only for infielders but baserunners and umpires. It’s like the plate rule and batter’s box rule [changes]; it takes awhile to get comfortable.”

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C’mon Chase, admit you were in the wrong last year and think about YOURSELF at second base. The roll slide has no place in modern sports along with cleating people on purpose or helmet-to-helmet intentional hits in the NFL. I think the rule is smart and don’t forsee any drastic decline to our great sport of baseball.