Rule 2, Sec 32, Art 2(f) says that a slide is illegal if "the runner, on a force play, does not slide on the ground in a direct line between the two bases."  However, Rule 8, Sec 4, Art 2(a)(b)(2) states "[r]unners are never required to slide, but if a runner elects to slide, the slide must be legal."

The spirit of the force play slide rule is player safety.  I get that, but runners are never required to slide.  Here is the specific situation.  6-4-3 DP potential.  GB to 6, 4 crossing pattern over 2B dragging toe.  R1 comes in jogging and standing up.  BR has wheels and is at 1B when 4 throws to 3.

My ruling was R1 out at 2B, BR safe at 1B, no interference because the R1 did not interfere with the throw and BR was already at 1B and R1 did not make contact or alter the play of the fielder especially since 4 was crossing the bag with a toe drag.

Does anyone see this any differently?  The rules quoted are from NFHS 2018.

Original Post

Except that on a force play slide rule violation the location of BR doesn't matter.

I had a play on which the SS fielded a ball deep in the 5-6 hole, moving toward 3B. His only play was to attempt the force at second. The second baseman fielded the throw like a first baseman, right foot on the bag, left arm extended to receive the throw. R1 beat the throw but slid past the bag and initiated contact with the second baseman beyond the bag.

The contact made the slide illegal. And because it was a force play--not a force out, but a play on a runner forced to vacate his base--that illegal slide invoked the force play slide rule and made both R1 and the BR out for the interference. 

BR was probably already at or beyond first base--I don't know for sure because I was watching the play at second--but it didn't matter. Second baseman didn't attempt a throw or look like he would have attempted a throw if not for the interference. None of that mattered. It was a force play. It was an illegal slide. R1 and BR were out. It's harsh, but that's the rule.

So yeah, you probably got your play right, but if it had been interference, you'd have been obliged to declare the BR out, too, even though he was beyond the base.

 

Bill Townsend posted:
 I get that, but runners are never required to slide.

Correct -- but if they don't slide they must run in a direction away from the play.   That can include running straight through the base if the fielder moves off the base -- that was your play.

 

I agree with swampboy that BR's location doesn't matter -- somewhere (and it might be NCAA, who has a similar rule *except* NCAA allows pop-up slides on the base and sliding through the base), there are words to the effect of "the location of the BR, whether BR would have been safe or out, and whether the defense attempts a play are not factors in making this call."

 

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