Why Baseball Needs to Enforce Its Own Rules

By Dave Martin
Dave Martin
Dave Martin
Dave Martin is a New-York based writer as well as editor. He is the sports editor for the Epoch Times and is a consultant to private writers.
October 11, 2015 Updated: October 11, 2015

As if former Phillies second baseman Chase Utley wasn’t already in the running for least popular player in the New York area contest, he’s now “endeared” himself to the Mets faithful forever with his takeout slide attempt of shortstop Rubén Tejada, which sparked the Dodgers’ seventh-inning rally in Game 2 of the NLDS.

As bad as Tejada’s broken leg suffered on the play is, the fact that Utley—as well as the batter, Howie Kendrick—wasn’t called out for his late-starting, out-of-the-baseline dive into the Mets shortstop makes this play all the worse.

Due to the seriousness of Tejada’s injury, MLB will probably look at this play more closely after the season and decide that they need to create a rule to prevent it from happening. At that point, though, they’ll realize that they already have one!

The Mets should have got the out, according to MLB’s rule book. Rule 6.05 (m):

“A batter is out when—

A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play;

Rule 6.05(m) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.”

Both Utley and Tejada missed the base during the play and maybe had the Mets asked the replay officials to check about Utley, they might have reversed the call. As it was, the Dodgers tied the game on the play and then went on to break the game open before the Mets escaped the inning. Now the series is tied at one game apiece.

But that’s really neither here nor there, though, in the bigger picture.

The bigger question is—concerning player safety—why isn’t this rule enforced?

Of course, this is the same rule book that still shows a strike zone that extends from the knees to the midway point between a player’s waist and shoulders, when in reality most anything chest-high is usually called a ball.

But should baseball decide to enforce its own rule next year, it would definitely change the way the game is played. Although the Mets hate that they lost Tejada because of this, everyone does it—including them. And though no one has the intent to injure the pivot man, it’s an inevitable consequence when a 225-plus pound runner barrels into the legs of a defenseless infielder.

Four years ago, Giants catcher Buster Posey was lost for the season when he was injured during a home-plate collision. He wasn’t the first, but MLB finally decided he should be the last, so they changed the rules to prevent it from happening again.

Maybe they should make Tejada’s injury the last of its kind as well.

Dave Martin
Dave Martin is a New-York based writer as well as editor. He is the sports editor for the Epoch Times and is a consultant to private writers.