by DOMINICK PUENTE//Staff Writer
Opening Day has come and gone earlier this month for Major League Baseball this 2016 season.
However, it was an eventful day for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Blue Jays kicked off their season on the road against their rival Tampa Bay Rays, but failed to start the season off in a positive way.
As the top of the ninth got under way, the Blue Jays managed to load the bases with one out, and Edwin Encarnacion at the plate to take his final swings of the game. With a 1-2 count, Encarnacion caught a hold of a fastball down the right side of the plate and hit the ball to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Longoria was able to field the ball cleanly and get the throw to the Rays second baseman, Logan Forsythe. As Forsythe began to shift toward the first baseman’s direction, Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays sprinted into second for what seemed like a clean slide into the base and Forsythe, causing the ball to pass Rays first baseman Logan Morrison. Two runners crossed home plate on the bad throw, giving the Rays a 4-3 lead.
However, the play was reviewed by the umpiring crew working the game. The umpires came to a conclusion that Bautista’s slide into second base was illegal because his left arm caught the back foot of Forsythe. Due to the illegal slide, both Bautista and Encarnacion were called out, and the Rays took the win, 3-2.
In the MLB rule book, “rule 6.01(j), a runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”
Even though most professional leagues attempt to establish rules in hopes of having the answers for all scenarios, there always manages to be gray areas in the game.
Many professional players and well known retired players expressed their dissatisfaction with the new rule, due to how easily a runner could be called out if a body part such as an arm or a leg slightly comes into contact with the thrower.
I can understand how the MLB committee wants safety to be a top priority. But if it interferes with the integrity of the game and causes the play of the game to change because a simple arm cannot come into contact with a defensive player, that is somewhat ridiculous. The sport of baseball has become a part of the American culture and has adopted new rules and better safety guidelines.
But I believe there is such a thing as being too safe. If more rules are added such as this one, the sport of baseball will not be baseball anymore. Sliding will become illegal, and batters will have to wear full-body gear because people feel more safety guidelines should be implemented.
Many more rules will be put into effect in the following seasons. But there should be a limit as to how many are implemented in a season, and more people should be allowed to have a say in whether the rule is used in games. The players themselves should have more of a say in the passing of rules since they are the ones who play 162 games a year.
I understand that it is the committee’s job to make the game better. However, they are not the ones putting the wear and tear on their bodies playing baseball.
The game of baseball will never be perfect. But the way the game is played could be headed in a better direction than what it is right now. There is a reason why only a few can make it into the big leagues. This game was not meant for everybody and should not be made for everybody. Different types of rules will be added. However, I think that this rule should be gone.