Former New York Mets pitcher Ron Darling, a baseball analyst for TBS, believes Major League Baseball should refrain from implementing new rules to prohibit takeout slides at second base, he told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney on Tuesday.
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Controversy erupted after Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers. On a potential double play, Chase Utley of the Dodgers slid late into second base as Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada was preparing to spin around for a throw to first. Utley collided with Tejada, who suffered a broken right leg.
The umpires on the field believed the slide was within the rules, but MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre suspended Utley for two games, citing his illegal “rolling block.” Utley appealed the suspension and remains eligible to play.
The game's been around for 140 years. Baseball players can usually police themselves.
The play that resulted in Tejada’s injury was “egregious,” Darling said, but he is skeptical that a change to the rules will do any good.
“I know that it sounds kind of harsh, but there’s no rule you can really make. We’ve seen with replay, and things that baseball has tried to do, the more rules they make, the more issues they have,” Darling explained on Varney & Co. “The game’s been around for 140 years. Baseball players can usually police themselves.”
Darling, who also sits in the broadcast booth for Mets regular-season games on SportsNet New York, added that retaliation may come next season given the importance of postseason games.
“Baseball players, for the most part, have a really good memory about these kinds of things,” he said.
The league has indicated that it will explore new guidelines for slides into second base. As a trial, players participating in the Arizona Fall League will be required to slide directly into the bag.