Friday, March 29, 2024

Hoskins' Slide Into McNeil & Obstruction Play at 1B

Following a look at whether Brewers 1B Rhys Hoskins' block of Mets runner DJ Stewart was obstruction or not, we determine whether Hoskins' slide into Mets 2B Jeff McNeil satisfied the bona flide slide rule criteria relative to breaking up double play attempts. Of note, 2B Umpire Jonathan Parra made his MLB debut and was working his first major league game when the benches cleared as a result of Hoskins' slide and McNeil's reaction.

Obstruction: In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Brewers catcher William Contreras threw to first base in an attempt to pickoff Mets baserunner R1 Stewart, with Milwaukee 1B Hoskins receiving the throw and appearing to place his left leg into runner Stewart's path, effectively blocking his access to first base. 1B Umpire Lance Barrett called the runner out, effectively no-calling potential obstruction as the retired runner complained that Hoskins was blocking the bag.

Defined as "the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner," the new obstruction point of emphasis instructs umpires to call obstruction as in Official Baseball Rule 6.01(h)(1) or Type A when a fielder blocks the runner's path without possession of the ball unnecessarily, even if the fielder is in the act of fielding at the time.

The goal is to crack down on fielders using the "act of fielding" defense to blatantly block runners' base paths when they distinctly do not need to occupy that space to receive the throw.

Bona Fide Slide: In the top of the 8th inning, Brewers baserunner R1 Hoskins slid into second base on an infield ground ball and potential double play attempt. Hoskins slid through the base, but was able to keep his hand in contact with the second base bag, making contact with Mets 2B McNeil in the process, who took exception and whose reaction spurred both benches to briefly clear.

After Replay Review, the Mets' challenge that Hoskins' slide was illegal was denied and the original call by 2B Umpire Parra of out and no slide violation was confirmed.

The four criteria of a bona fide slide, as in OBR 6.01(j), are 1) begins the slide before reaching the base, 2) able and attempts to reach the base, 3) able and attempts to remain on the base, and 4) slides within reach of the base without changing pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

Replay conclusively determined that R1 Hoskins satisfied all four criteria and, thus, engaged in a legal, bona fide slide.

Note that in college and high school, Hoskins' slide may have violated the force play slide rule (FPSR doesn't exist in pro ball), given that Hoskins' failed to slide in a direct line between the two bases. NCAA Rule 8-4 governs FPSR cases and holds that "the runner’s entire body (feet, legs, trunk and arms) must stay in a straight line between the bases."


Post a Comment