Updated: Jul 9, 2022
Situation: Runner on 1st one out. Ground ball to SS throws to 2nd. Runner slid on the outfield side of 2B interfering with the fielder. DP was called,
It is the simple application of Rule 2-31-2-f “A slide is illegal if, the runner, on a force play, does not slide on the ground and in a direct line between the two bases.”
Situation: One out, runner at first, batter grounds to second baseman that, in my judgement, had enough velocity to begin a 4-6-3 double-play. Second baseman fielded it clean and flipped it accurately to the shortstop who caught it and began his transfer, when the runner didn’t slide and barreled through the SS, with both ending up on the ground.
My Ruling: I called interference on the runner and awarded the defense with the DP, ending the inning.
This is always and interesting situation that often creates controversy. At the beginning we need to remember first, that, Rule 8-4-b-2 says: “Runners are never required to slide.” With that understanding we could have three scenarios here:
First, as Larry Gallagher reminded me in our conversation this morning, application of this rule would dictate that if the runner arrives at the base under control and slowing down, he has a right to the base and if the fielder is there making transfer, you could simply have nothing and rule it incidental contact.
Second, in this situation, where the runner was said to have, “barreled through the shortstop,” it would certainly be reasonable to call interference. Application of Rule 8-4-2-g. that reads, “If, in the judgement of the umpire, a runner….. interferes in any way and prevents a double play anywhere, two shall be declared out.”
The third situation would involve the judgement of malicious contact. Here would be the application of Rule 3-3-1-m. “ A …. player ….. shall not initiate malicious contact.” “PENALTY: The umpire shall eject the offender from the game.” While malicious contact is not defined in the rule book, we as umpires need to use our judgement to make this determinationSlide Rules