Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pic of the Week

Ruben Tejada, shortstop for the New York Mets,
fractured his leg on this play Friday night.
Let's call this was it was: A rolling block by Chase Utley. It was not a slide; nothing but his feet touched the ground between leaving first base and undercutting the leaping Tejada. This sort of no-slide bodyblock of infielders was routine in the days of Frank Robinson and Hal McRae. Eventually a rule was put in to allow the umpire to call a double play if the baserunner made no effort to touch the base. Utley never touched the base, so he clearly made no such effort.

That rule is seldom invoked. It should have been in this case, but the umpiring crew, and specifically second base umpire Chris Guccione, lacked the, let us say, courage to make that call. Not that making the interference call would heal Tejada's leg.

This play comes a few weeks after a similar late slide by the Cubs' Chris Coghlan broke the leg of Pittsburgh infielder Jung Ho Kang.

Utley's block, even in the context of ''gotta break up the double play," was probably unnecessary. I don't think Tejada could have gotten the double play had Utley simply slid into the base. There are differing opinions on whether it was a dirty play. I think it was.

Utley was wrong. The umps were wrong. And I sincerely hope that MLB, which has largely cleaned up the home plate collisions, will tighten the rules on force play slides. If you hit the infielder, you've got to touch the base as well, or have the DP called automatically. No judgment required.

1 comment:

  1. Somebody on twitter said that if a young/rookie had taken out and broken Tulowitski's ankle, next year we'd have a new "Tulo rule". Exactly. Also can't help noticing that two white veterans took out two non-white players. I completely agree that a chance must be made.