Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Braves Fail to Challenge Bona Fide Slide Rule Play - Was it Interference?

Atlanta failed to challenge a 7th inning play in New York when Mets baserunner R1 Jeff McNeil slid into Braves shortstop Vaughn Grissom, resulting in a wild throw to first base that allowed batter-runner Daniel Vogelbach to reach and R2 Pete Alonso to score. However, with MLB's bona fide slide rule in effect, was this interference on a force play at second base? Was 2B Umpire Adrian Johnson's interference no-call correct? We investigate.

Recall that Official Baseball Rule 6.01(j) is defined as: "If a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, they should be called for interference under this Rule 6.01."

The four criteria with which to evaluate potential violations of the bona fide slide rule are as follows. They are written such that a failure to satisfy any one of the criteria means the slide was not bona fide:
1) The runner begins their slide (makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;
2) Is able and attempts to reach the base with their hand or foot;
3) Is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and
4) Slides within reach of the base without changing their pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

Upon our review of the play, it appears baserunner R1 Jeff McNeil failed to satisfy criterion four (and may have failed to satisfy #2 and #3 as well...the camera angle available isn't as conclusive), meaning this is not a bona fide slide. Thus, had Replay Review been invoked, the proper outcome would have been to overturn the call by declaring both R1 (on the force play) and the batter-runner out (on the interference by R1), and return R2 and R3 to their bases occupied at time of pitch, thus negating the two runs that scored.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Analyzing a slide rule interference no-call and Jeff McNeil's slide (ATL-NYM-CCS)


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