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
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
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Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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