By Ken Reed

Chase Utley’s brutal slide into Ruben Tejada, a slide in which no effort was made to actually touch second base and resulted in a broken leg for Tejada, is the final straw. Baseball’s Stone Age mentality when it comes to the ethics of the game must go.

Driven by unwritten “Old School” rules, and derived from an overdose of machismo, baseball traditionalists have long felt it was okay to slide out of the base path to break up double play attempts — the “takeout slide” — putting the health of shortstops and second basemen in danger. It’s the same mentality that says it’s okay to purposely throw at an opposing hitter if one of your hitters happens to have been hit by a pitch. Or, the thought process that says it’s okay to hit a batter if you have a hard time getting him out (for example, if he hit a home run off of you in the previous at-bat, plunk him the next time up). It’s the same type of thinking that until recently allowed runners coming full-speed down the third base line to plow into defenseless catchers waiting to receive a throw to the plate.

Thankfully, the “Buster Posey Rule” stopped the nonsense at home plate. A similar rule, we can call it the “Ruben Tejada Rule,” is needed to stop runners from running outside the baseline and barreling into defenseless middle infielders at second base.

“That’s the way the game’s always been played” can no longer be an excuse for barbaric behavior in sports. The game will be much better once the Ruben Tejada Rule is implemented.

As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale recently wrote:

“We had the Buster Posey Rule two years ago, with players no longer permitted to clobber catchers at home plate, reducing the number of concussions and other injuries. Now we’ll have the Utley Rule, where players can no longer wipe out middle infielders at second base, reducing the number of broken legs … MLB must rewrite the rules and require that base runners slide directly at the base, not at the infielder.”

Yes, they must. Ideally, by commissioner edict from this point forward. If not, definitely in time for next season.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.