San Francisco second baseman Marco Scutaro injured his hip during the first inning of last night’s Game 2 of the NLCS when he was cut down by Matt Holliday as he tried to turn a double play.
The Cardinals outfielder slid over second base and collided with Scutaro’s left leg causing it to buckle and get trapped under Holliday’s body. Scutaro remained in the game for five innings but was eventually taken out. X-rays were negative, but he had an MRI Tuesday to determine any collateral damage.
The play begs the question, was the slide illegal, flat-out dirty, both or neither?
Here’s what San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy had to say about the play to The San Francisco Chronicle:
“I really think they got away with an illegal slide there,” Bochy said. “He really didn’t hit the dirt until he was past the bag. That rule was changed a while back. Marco was behind the bag and got smoked. It’s a shame somebody got hurt because of this.”
The MLB Rule Book is fairly vague on such plays, reducing the baserunner’s intent of the slide to the judgment of the umpire.
Here’s what it states:
If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner wilfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.
And here’s the play for you to make your own judgment:
Baseball pundits fall on both sides of the fence on plays like this one in determining whether breaking up the double play is part of the game or simply vicious.
Much like collisions at home plate, breaking up a double play puts players’ health at risk, but it is also hard to fault a player when he’s doing everything in his power to help his team win.
Last night that grey area was tested again.
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