GOODYEAR, AZ (WOIO) - Major League Baseball has expanded the role of instant replay for the 2016 season and is cracking down on slides that could cause injuries.
Players must now make a bonafide attempt to slide into a base, instead of sliding to break up a double play.
Players had been allowed to slide anywhere near the bag and many used that strategy to aim their slide more towards a defender than the base, hoping that disruption would interfere with their ability to turn the double-play.
A player charged with breaking this rule will be called for interference; both the runner and batter-runner could be called out.
The change was made to help prevent injuries.
"Our goal in amending the slide rule was to enhance player safety, reduce incidents of injury and to do it in a way that respects and preserves the bonafide hustle plays that are integral to our game," Tony Clark, the executive director of the players' union, said in a statement. "I am optimistic that this new rule will accomplish those goals."
The league is also targeting the "neighborhood play." This is when a defending player is awarded an out for simply getting his foot near the base on the first out of a double-play. The play had never been able to be challenged by managers before, but it will be now.
Terry Francona likes that move.
"I've never understood the neighborhood play. If you're supposed to step on the bag, you're supposed to step on the bag."
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