Through the first four days of LDS play, we’ve seen:
- Future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre exit a game in agony because of a back injury sustained on a takeout slide
- Likely AL MVP Josh Donaldson depart for a concussion check after going in high and colliding with Rougned Odor‘s knee on a takeout slide
- Six-time All-Star Chase Utley break the leg of shortstop Ruben Tejada on a takeout “slide” and maybe suffer a head injury himself
This comes a few weeks after Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang, who never had to worry about such slides while playing in Korea, suffered a broken leg of his own when the Cubs’ Chris Coghlan took him out.
If you follow me on twitter, well, then I probably owe you an apology. But you know getting rid of the takeout slide is a running theme of mine. Heck, here’s a blog entry on the subject from six years ago. I’m glad MLB addressed collisions at home plate when they did, but eliminating the takeout slide on double plays really should have been more of a priority.
Now, because of Chase Utley, it’s really going to happen.
It was only a matter of time anyway. Teams invest too much in players to want to see them get hurt, and takeout slides aren’t just dangerous for the infielder, but for the player doing the sliding as well. The players themselves can’t take the step to get rid of them; it’s a peer-pressure thing. The umpires won’t do anything about it, even though slides designed to take out fielders are already illegal in the eyes of the rulebook. It’s up to MLB to take the stand. They actually already did in the Arizona Fall League, which is where they like to try their experimental rules before implementing them elsewhere.
So, yeah, this was going to happen with or without Chase Utley. But now it has a realistic chance of happening next year, which is something I wouldn’t have thought possible a few days ago. So, thank you, Chase. It’s just too bad it took a broken leg to build the sentiment.