The takeout slide is one of the more inconsistent rules in Major League Baseball. In less than 24 hours, MLB had two different outcomes on similar plays.
The first came on Saturday night during the Angels 15-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Toronto center fielder Jonathan Davis slid into second base hard to breakup a double play, and accomplished this by tripping up Halos shortstop Jose Iglesias. He clearly affected the throw, and after further review he was called safe.
Next comes Sunday’s game between the Cubs and Pirates. Catcher Willson Contreras went into second base hard in the same situation. Contreras never actually made contact with Pittsburgh shortstop Kevin Newman, but after further review he was called out.
Angels: MLB is inconsistent with takeout slide rule.
The full video of the Contreras slide can be found here.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with an aggressive slide in baseball. These guys are competing, and at the end of the day they should be doing whatever it takes to win, so long as it’s within the rules and they’re not buzzing and banging on trash cans or anything like that.
So why is it MLB had two different calls on similar plays with one more aggressive (Iglesias-Davis) than the other (Newman-Contreras)?
Both runners can make their cases for following those ‘guidelines’, but the difference is the contact that was made on Iglesias.
This rule was first instilled after former Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley took out former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in game 2 of the 2015 NLDS. The infamous slide resulted in a broken up double play, and a broken leg for Tejada.
It’s limited the amount of traditional hard take-out slides, but that won’t stop players from making the competitive play if they have to.
The same can be said with the catcher collision rule. Angels fans remember this far too well when Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick barreled through Halos catcher Jonathan Lucroy in 2019.
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It’s impossible to eliminate this rule completely, so if MLB is going to ‘enforce’ it, they need to be more consistent with their calls.