MLB Changes Sliding Rules Because Chase Utley
Remember the time Chase Utley left the Philadelphia Phillies to chase the playoffs with the Dodgers, got to the playoffs, then ended Ruben Tejada’s postseason with a really, really hard slide?
Major League Baseball certainly does.
ESPN reports that MLB and its players’ union have agreed to a ban “rolling blocks” meant to break up double plays — a development that will almost certainly be known henceforth as the “Chase Utley Rule.” This, even though Utley’s original slide wasn’t exactly deemed legal; he was suspended two games, after all.
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.
Baserunners will still be allowed to make contact — but rolling blocks, flying kicks, and the like will be illegal. If a runner violates the rule, a double play is automatically called.
To Utley, at least, it’s no big deal. He’s signed on with the Dodgers for 2016, and earlier this month seemed prepared that the rule would be changed, according to Fox Sports: “Whatever the rules are I think we all should abide by them, and go from there if they decide to make a change…and play accordingly.”
Whatever. We still wouldn’t want to be a shortstop in his path.