In the top of the sixth inning of last night’s Tigers-Nationals game Anthony Gose slid toward Danny Espinosa in an attempt to break up a double play. Espinosa’s throw to first was late and, as a result, a run scored. Gose never touched second base or even attempted to grab it with an outstretched arm.
The slide was reviewed and Gose was held not to have violated the rule, despite the fact that he didn’t, by any conceivable measure, make a “bona fide slide” as the rule requires. Why? Chris Iott of MLive spoke to an MLB official and this is what he was told:
“Even though the judgment was that runner failed to engage in a bona fide slide, the Replay Official must still find that the runner’s actions hindered and impeded the fielder’s ability to complete a double play. In the absence of the hindering/impeding element — which is a judgment call — the runner cannot be found to have violated 6.01 (j). The judgment on this one was that there was no hindering or impeding of the fielder.”
The “hindering/impeding” part is not in the new slide rule. It would appear that it’s an interpretive gloss placed on the rule by officials after the fact. Which is interesting because the whole point of the new rule seemed to be aimed at taking away any sort of subjective judgment and trying hard to make a “slide” an easily defined thing. Which was dumb, but that’s what it set out to do.
Here’s hoping judgment, rather than blind adherence to a rule and an effort to make that which requires some subjectivity into something purely objective, is allowed to come to to fore more often.