As reported by ESPN, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union both agreed on Thursday to ban “rolling blocks,” otherwise known as takeout slides from the game of baseball.
Under the new rule, players sliding into second base will be required to:
“Make a bona fide slide, defined as making contact with the ground ahead of the base, being in position to reach the base with a hand or foot and to remain on it, and sliding within reach of the base without changing his path to initiate contact with a fielder. An umpire can call both the runner and batter out for a violation.”
The rule change comes after Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Ruben Tejada of the New York Mets fell victim and suffered leg injuries from “rolling blocks” at second base towards the end of the 2015 season. Tejada, who was taken out by Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers during a double play attempt in game two of the 2015 NLDS, missed the rest of the Mets’ run to the World Series. Utley has since become public enemy No. 1 for Mets fans and was suspended for the first two games of the 2016 season for the play:
Chase Utley booed during player introductions pic.twitter.com/GPe4NuAEdV
— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) October 13, 2015
Now, the question becomes was this the right move for baseball? The answer is quite simple: absolutely.
As we saw during the 2015 postseason and towards the end of the regular season, take out slides are extremely dangerous and can cause serious leg injuries. Baseball has already banned collisions at home plate between baserunners and catchers following injuries to players such as Buster Posey and Yadier Molina.
Historically, baseball is a not a violent game. That is why the MLB is taking things such as home plate collisions and take out slides out of the game. Yes, it may take away from some of the excitement of the game but at what cost? In order for that ‘excitement’ to exist in the game of baseball, it means that players are going to risk being significantly injured such as the way Posey, Molina, Tejada, and Kang were. This rule change will allow players in the middle infield and at home plate to be in a safer position when making a play where their legs are exposed.