Sunday, June 20, 2021

NCAA CWS Game Ends on Force Play Slide Rule DP

NC State vs Stanford's Opening Round College World Series game ended on an interference-aided double play thanks to NCAA's force play slide rule when baserunner Tommy Troy committed a Cardinal sin by not sliding into second base on a ground ball, ruled by 2B Umpire Billy Van Raaphorst as a game-ending double play.

This was the correct call thanks to college baseball's force-play-slide-rule (FPSR), NCAA Rule 8-4, which states, "On any force play, the runner, in the vicinity of the base, must slide on the ground before the base and in a direct line between the two bases. It is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the base in the baseline extended."

Unfortunately for Troy, North Carolina second baseman JT Jarrett ran into the direct line between first and second base in order to field batter Grant Burton's ground ball, meaning Troy altered his base path by running to the outside (to his right) of the baseline in order to avoid interfering with Burton fielding a batted ball, as the fielder has the right of way in a batted ball situation.

Doing so complicated matters for Troy, as he no longer would be able to slide in a direct line between first and second base. Fortunately, the FPSR provides an exception for such cases: "A runner need not slide directly into a base as long as the runner slides or runs in a direction away from the fielder to avoid making contact or altering the play of the fielder," but this does not absolve the runner of the need to slide, for the sake of safety, when a different fielder is covering second base.

As the rule states, "This is a safety and an interference rule. Whether the defense could have completed the double play has no bearing on the applicability of this rule."

Thus both runner R1 Troy and batter-runner Burton were declared out for violation of this safety and interference rule. It is important to note this is a college rule, but the professional level (MLB/MiLB) does not have a force play slide rule. Instead, OBR's "bona fide slide" rule 6.01(j) simply states that a runner who engages in a bona fide slide should not be called for interference, but nonetheless does not require that a runner slide as the lower levels do ("A runner who engages in a “bona fide slide” shall not be called for interference under this Rule 6.01").

High School's rulebook (NFHS), meanwhile, states as a 2020 Point of Emphasis, "Simply stated, the runner never has to slide. However, on a force play when he does slide, it must be legal and in a direct line between the two bases."

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: NCAA game ends on force play slide rule - about the FPSR (ESPN/CCS)


Post a Comment