Sunday, June 3, 2018

Simba's "Revenge" - Andrelton's Illegal Slide on Odor

And just like that, it was over. Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons retaliated against Rangers middle infielder Rougned Odor with a non-bona fide slide of his own Saturday, barreling past second base and drawing an interference call from 2B Umpire Brian O'Nora to wipe away a would-be safe call by Chris Conroy at first base on batter-runner Shohei Ohtani.
Related PostLight Up the Halo & Clear the Benches - Slide INT Part II (6/2/18).

Simmons' retaliatory slide cost his team an out.
The Play: With one out and one on (R1) in the bottom of the 4th inning of Saturday's Rangers-Angels game, batter Ohtani hit a ground ball on the ground to Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar, who flipped to second baseman Odor, who threw onto first base as Angels baserunner R1 Simmons slid into second base.

The Call: Although Odor's throw reached first base well after batter-runner Ohtani's arrival, 2B Umpire O'Nora declared two outs on the play: Simmons on the force play, and Ohtani on Simmons' interference at second base.

Analysis: By now, you're familiar with the "four criteria" drill for bona fide slide rule 6.01(j):
(1) Did the runner begin his slide (e.g., contact the ground) before reaching the base? [YES];
(2) Was runner able & attempted to reach the base with a hand or foot? [YES];
(3) Was runner able & attempted to remain on the base (except HP) after completing the slide? [NO];
(4) Did runner slide within reach of the base without changing his pathway for contact? [YES].

O'Nora gets two outs as Odor looks on.
Conclusion: Simmons' slide was illegal because he was unable or made no attempt to remain on the base after completion of his slide: Simmons slid through second base and seemed more concerned about potentially taking out Odor than running the bases legally. This is interference and was correctly officiated as such. Apparently, the call was so routine that Angels Manager Mike Scioscia didn't even challenge the play.

Gil's Call: It appears we have found the offense's equivalent measure of retaliation as the defensive intentional hit-by-pitch: the illegal slide...and just like a beanball that ultimately harms the defense by putting a free runner on base, the payback force play slide hurts the offense by giving the defense a free out on a secondary player (batter-runner) that would have been safe had the slide been legal.

None of these retaliatory measures are legal and, arguably, both are clear intents to injure, or, at the least, send a non-baseball message to the other team. For what it's worth, the Angels lost Saturday's game in extra innings, 3-2.

Video as follows:
Alternate Link: Simmons speeds into second base and illegally slides past the base (TEX)
Second Video: Scioscia, satisfied with O'Nora's explanation, forgoes challenge of slide play (LAA)


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