Posted by: gravessack | October 11, 2015

Why Was Chase Utley Safe At Second?

There was a play in baseball October 10 that I have never seen before. The play was so strange that moments after it occurred, some people were baffled by the call and some were crying out for a rule change.

During the 7th inning of Game 2 of the Mets-Dodgers series, Los Angeles’ Howie Kendrick grounded a ball to New York’s second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy tossed the ball to shortstop Ruben Tejada to get the force out at second base. However, Tejada missed the bag with his foot when he was trying to get out of the way of Chase Utley’s slide. Utley slid directly into Tejada’s leg and missed the bag. While Tejada, who broke his leg on the play, was on the ground, Utley ran into the dugout since second base umpire Chris Guccione called him out. To summarize, neither player touched second base.

After a review, requested by Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, the umpires determined that Tejada indeed missed second base and granted Utley the base, even though Utley missed it. How can a player be called safe without ever touching it? It boggles my mind! After the game, MLB Chief Officer Joe Torre gave reporters an explanation as to why Utley was safe: “The fact that he was called out meant he didn’t — he’s not required to touch second base once he’s called out. So when the play was overturned, he gets awarded second base on that.” That specific play sparked the Dodgers to a big inning, winning the game and tying the series at one game a piece. Still confused? Me too!

In search of an answer, I sent a question about the play to the Twitter world. MLB Beat Reporter Rhett Bollinger replied: “He {Utley} was initially ruled out by the {second base umpire} so he didn’t have to touch the base. Weird part of replay rules.” However, I am still not sure how Utley was given second. Maybe it is like the tie goes to the runner rule. To see the play, click here.

Because of this play and Pittsburgh third baseman Jung Ho Kang’s September 17 season-ending injury, some players and managers want a change in the take-out slide rule. Runners can now slide to try to take out the fielder that is trying to turn a double play. There must be a rule change to keep fielders safe. Maybe make runners slide directly into the bases, instead of going after the vulnerable basemen. Here’s an article about why it is time for a change to increase player safety.

Feel free to tell us your opinion of the take-out slide!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. I saw that play, Michael! I thought it was very strange too! No explanation was given after the play, so I appreciate this post to (kindof) make sense of it!

  2. Unfortunately 2nd basemen and shortstops in MLB don’t have to touch 2nd base when this occurs it’s called the neighborhood play it’s to protect the shortstop and 2nd baseman from getting hit like that it’s happened before when mourneu got a concussion he was actually sliding into the guy to break it up and got hurt when the other player tried to jump over him. They need to go by high school rules where they have to slide directly to the base.


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