SAFETY AT SECOND BASE. Every so often when I argue that a rule should be changed, it is changed. I posted here in August, 2013 about how instant replay would change the neighborhood play at second base in double play situations. In the “neighborhood play” the umpires had followed an unwritten rule which permitted an infielder trying to turn a double play to merely be “in the neighborhood” rather than touching second base on a force out.
This article by A.J.Perez in USA Sports Weekly (March 2-8) described the new rule for the 2016 season which will require a base runner sliding into second base on a potential double play “to make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base.” If the runner does not, both the runner and the batter are out—a double play. The new rule is a response to two incidents in important games last year—one in September and one in the playoffs—in which a runner far from second base broke the infielder’s leg.
The change is long overdue. However, there is a problem. The neighborhood play is gone. The fielder will be required to touch second base.
Perez found an apt quote: “‘Somebody is going to get their clock cleaned,’ Mets manager Terry Collins said, moments after the changes were announced.”