At some point in time it was bound to happen. The take-out slide was just as dangerous as the home plate collision. After signing Brandon Crawford to a six year, $75 million deal, the San Francisco Giants just saw the value of that deal go up.
The Giants saw first-hand what a horrific injury will do to a franchise. Buster Posey missed most of 2011 from a slide that changed rules around the plate. Ruben Tejada was lost for the rest of last year’s postseason due to Chase Utley‘s take-out slide at second.
The “unwritten rules” of baseball have been guarded by players for generations. Although the typical player understands the rules, some don’t, and it is harder to enforce those rules in this era’s game. The game used to clean itself up on its own. No need for a lot of rules since the players knew where the line was, and what would happen when you crossed them.
Unfortunately, the game took on a few rules meant to help the umpires keep more order. It’s unfortunate because it often leads to other issues.
A pitcher knowingly hits a batter in a rout, and there is a warning given to both clubs. Now the team that has a guy get plunked, not only can’t answer back, but isn’t able to throw inside the rest of the game either.
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Middle infielders should know better. That is what makes Utley’s actions so unbelievable. His career is on the line every time he takes a throw from a third baseman. Well, it used to be, and now we have a Dodger to thank for the change. Great!
But it is a change that needed to be made.
Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik will benefit from not having to worry as much about dancing around guys trying to take them out. And even with the intense play by every player on this roster, the rules shouldn’t change the way the Giants play the game.
This rule also will eventually trickle down to the leagues below them. Middle infielders who once had their knees torn up by a bad slide will no longer have as much worry.
This rule change is a good one for the sport and for the players who were already playing the game with respect for the opponents they play against. Some rules though, those unwritten rules, (like swinging away on a 3-0 pitch when you are up by 12 runs in the top of the eighth) must be handled by the men on the field.
Just respect the game, and it will respect you right back.