Friday, May 26, 2023

Seattle's Slide Rule Interference Confusion On Rule Sets

After Mariners shortstop JP Crawford caught Kolten Wong's throw to force out Pirates runner R1 Jack Suwinski at second base, his throw to try and retire batter-runner Tucupita Marcano hit Suwinski's shoulder and flew into the stands, resulting in a throwing error and extra base for Marcano on the force out.

Seattle manager Scott Servais argued with 2B Umpire Marvin Hudson that Suwinski should have been out for violating MLB's bona fide slide rule 6.01(j) because he failed to slide into second base. With replays indicating that Suwinski didn't slide at all and instead ran directly to and through the base, we have to examine professional baseball's slide interference rule to determine whether Servais was correct or not.

Official Baseball Rule 6.01(j), sliding to bases on double play attempts, states that interference occurs under the following circumstance: "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."

However, replays indicate that while baserunner Suwinski didn't slide, neither did he initiate contact with the fielder. Under OBR, a runner is not obligated to slide on force plays. Instead, the only rule to get a double play here would be OBR 6.01(a)(5) and interference for retired runners: "Any batter or runner who has just been put out, or any runner who has just scored, hinders or impedes any following play being made on a runner. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of their teammate."

However, the comment to the rule also states, "If the batter or a runner continues to advance or returns or attempts to return to his last legally touched base after they have been put out, he shall not by that act alone be considered as confusing, hindering or impeding the fielders."

Thus, under OBR, Suwinski's shoulder-ball interaction is not illegal and an interference no-call is the correct call.

Under NCAA, however, Suwinski would be guilty of interference and if this was a college game, Marcano declared out for a double play: "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 them through the base in the baseline extended."

As for NFHS, the high school rulebook states, "Simply stated, the runner never has to slide," going onto state that if the runner does slide, said runner is bound by the force play slide rule in use under NCAA's ruleset.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: R1 Suwinski hit by throw when he doesn't slide on force that interference?


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