Baltimore Orioles: What can MLB do about infielder safety?


Teams such as the Baltimore Orioles are going to have to alter how they play starting next year – presumably, that is. In the wake of the hard slide in Saturday’s NLCS game, I won’t be surprised when rule changes are proposed. While I recognize that any rule changes in the wake of this incident will be made in the name of player safety (and thus with noble motives), that’s not to say that they’d be a good idea.

But what exactly could MLB do? We’re talking about double-play balls, right? It’s not as if they could institute a “fair catch rule” of some sort kind of like on punts in football. If they’re going to do anything, they should probably clarify the rules a bit more – as opposed to leaving it open to umpires’ interpretations.

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    I’m not sure that there’s anything that baseball could do to tweak or alter the rules governing base runners, interference, outs, etc., short of severely altering the game itself. My personal fear is that they’ll do something overly draconian such as saying that if there’s any contact whatsoever it’s ruled inferference. For the most part, guys aren’t trying to injure people when they slide hard. They’re sliding hard so as to break up the double-play. It’s part of the game.

    Safety is important, there’s no doubt. However the nature of sports is that it’s a physical business. And sometimes things happen in a physical business like that. And in some cases, I feel like some of these leagues use smoke in mirrors to claim that they’re protecting players. For example, if the NHL really wanted to protect guys, they’d employ padding on the walls. But of course that might take away from advertising opportunities.

    However I digress; I would argue that the most dangerous play in basketball is a defender trying to take or draw a charge. Should that be looked at as well? And don’t get me started on football; I’ve just come to the conclusion that any bang-bang play in the secondary is going to draw a flag for roughing on a defender.

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    I wasn’t a fan of the new rules governing home plate collisions a few years ago, as I thought they took away from something that was part of the game. If MLB tries to do something with the rules governing the base paths this off season, I suspect it’ll have the same effect. However unfortunately we’re a reactionary society nowadays – if one person gets injured, something has to change. If some new rules end up coming into play because of this, count me as being against them already.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Play safe and play hard

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