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Guest Coach Jay

Unsportsmanlike conduct for malicious contact

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Guest Coach Jay

Last evening our opponent’s baserunner stole home on a walk. It was actually pretty ingenious - runners on 1st and 3rd, batter walked, runner on 3B came trotting in. In hindsight, the fact that the runner on 1B didn’t steal 2nd should’ve tipped me off that they were planning something. 

 

My catcher realized immediately and called for the ball back. The runner from 3B then sprinted as my catcher was in the process of making the catch. The runner slid HARD straight into my catcher’s leg, knocking him sideways hard and causing him drop the ball. He then reached back with his right arm and tagged home. Runner was called safe (and the umpire laughed at what I think he thought was impressiveness).  

 

The home plate umpire said it was a legit slide because “there’s no Chase Utley rule  in Little League.”

 

I’m aware there is technically no malicious contact rule, but I feel as though this should be handled under “unsportsmanlike conduct.”

 

The irony is that this particular player NEVER slides. It’s like an ongoing joke. Then the first time he actually slides... he takes out my catcher. 

 

Should the runner stealing home been called out?

 

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I'm still trying to figure out what the runner did wrong aside from pissing you off as the defensive coach because he stole home. Just being honest.

It's one of those, "I'd have to see it." things, but based on what you described, I've got nothing.

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Guest Coach Jay

I’m trying to be partial here because that was the tying run and it rattled my pitcher, who ended up walking in the winning run two batters later. To be honest, it was a pretty smart move and that coach has a reputation for her stunts  

 

I’m more focused on that a) the runner purposely slid into my catcher to break up the play; and b) that he knocked over and injured my catcher in the process. I realize LL doesn’t have a “Chase Utley” rule, but i generally see things like that called for “unsportsmanlike conduct” and blue did nothing but laugh. I feel things like that violates the spirit of the game. 

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A hard/clean slide is not malicious unless the runner does something like raise his foot to hit the catcher.

In LL, if the catcher has the ball and is waiting to make the tag the runner must slide or attempt to get around the fielder.  To me, the runner has a better chance of being safe by sliding into the catcher (hoping for a dropped ball).  Hard/clean slide is the way to go (in my opinion).

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Guest Coach Jay
5 minutes ago, Lou B said:

A hard/clean slide is not malicious unless the runner does something like raise his foot to hit the catcher.

In LL, if the catcher has the ball and is waiting to make the tag the runner must slide or attempt to get around the fielder.  To me, the runner has a better chance of being safe by sliding into the catcher (hoping for a dropped ball).  Hard/clean slide is the way to go (in my opinion).

That’s fair. I guess I’m defining malicious as intentionally trying to break up a play versus intentionally trying to injure a player (which I genuinely don’t think he was attempting to do). I felt the fact that he seemingly missed the plate on purpose and then reached back to tag showed he intended to slide into the catcher rather than around him  

 

I’m probably just bitter, lol. That knocked out of the tournament and their coach is known for her sneaky plays. 

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47 minutes ago, Guest Coach Jay said:

 I felt the fact that he seemingly missed the plate on purpose and then reached back to tag showed he intended to slide into the catcher rather than around him  

Would you  expect him to slide in a place where he could not reach the plate?

 

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Well, a good hard slide into the catcher's legs isn't malicious contact.

Not to mention you have a potential issue of Obstruction, with the catcher blocking the plate before he possessed the ball.

There is no context to whether the runner slid behind the plate or in front of the plate.  And whether the catcher was rooted, or moving to the ball, or moving in general when he realized R3 was going.

Backdoor slides are pretty common and taught by good coaches for scenarios where the catcher is receiving the ball as you approach the plate. 

Too many unknowns here to assess if there's any unsportsmanlike conduct, or if he was just genuinely trying to avoid a tag, or just making a clean hard slide in the vicinity of the plate...sliding past the plate with the express purpose of missing the plate, if the catcher is not blocking the plate, to knock the ball away from the catcher seems a silly way to score your run.  I'm getting the impression that either your catcher moved into the runner's path, or was always in the runner's path.

 

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Guest Coach Jay

Ok, the general consensus is that the slide was clean and I’m just being bitter (which is fair). I’m letting it go and I appreciate the honest feedback! This is a very talented team with a very smart coach so I don’t feel TOO bad about losing to them, lol. Maybe next time!

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The criteria for a legal slide are defined by rule. Illegal slides include a rolling slide, a foot making contact above the knee, etc. 

MC is not defined in HS rules, but commonly understood to involve intent to injure. You say this slide did not exhibit that. There's no "unsportsmanlike conduct" in baseball (that's a football term, and perhaps other sports).

If the slide was not illegal or malicious, R3's contact with your F2 is legal. Legal contact can result in injury.

Without video, we're not really in a position to judge the legality of the slide. But your description so far in the thread has not suggested any way in which it might be illegal. I'd say that explains your impression of the "general consensus."

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Mr. maven, I grant you the OP only alluded to what level of play he was asking about when he stated the following--The home plate umpire said it was a legit slide because “there’s no Chase Utley rule in Little League.”

But you tell us categorically that the rules define what the criteria are for a legal slide and what constitutes an illegal slide. If you are telling us about Little League rules could you give us a citation please—I couldn’t find anything like that in the Little League rules.

Then you tell us that malicious contact is not defined in high school rules—why do you bring FED rules into this discussion? Did you mean FED rules and not LL rules when you mentioned that the rules define legal and illegal slides? Also, even though FED rules don’t define malicious contact their POE do give us guidelines, particularly the 2014 POE.

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Guest Coach Jay
10 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

 

13 hours ago, maven said:

The criteria for a legal slide are defined by rule. Illegal slides include a rolling slide, a foot making contact above the knee, etc. 

MC is not defined in HS rules, but commonly understood to involve intent to injure. You say this slide did not exhibit that. There's no "unsportsmanlike conduct" in baseball (that's a football term, and perhaps other sports).

If the slide was not illegal or malicious, R3's contact with your F2 is legal. Legal contact can result in injury.

Without video, we're not really in a position to judge the legality of the slide. But your description so far in the thread has not suggested any way in which it might be illegal. I'd say that explains your impression of the "general consensus."

This is Little League Majors. Sorry if I did not make that clear. 

 

He slid behind the plate, my catcher was blocking the base path but was in the process of making the catch and in fact had the ball before the runner reached home. Runner would’ve been out had the slide not knocked the catcher over (and thus caused him to drop the ball). We had an incident a couple years back where an overly-aggressive R3 quite literally tackled our catcher to avoid the tag and put him in an ambulance. That runner was called out and ejected. So I am a tad overly protective of my catchers and compared the two in my mind when one is not quite the same as the other.

 

I since discussed the matter with the head umpire (who was the home plate umpire during that game) and he basically said the same thing: unless the runner intentionally tries to injure the catcher, it’s a legal slide. He did admit he shouldn’t have laughed but explained that he anticipated the runner would steal (this particular player idolizes Ricky Henderson) and laughed at the brazenness of him stealing by pretending to walk in. 

 

My catcher also spoke with the runner in question last night and said the kid profusely apologized and asked if he recovered ok. Apparently he also helped him up and shook his hand after the slide which I did not see. Now that I’m a couple days removed I can see I overreacted due to the frustration of losing that night and the runner in question is a decent kid who is just very talented. He’s also the coach’s son so there may have been a personal vendetta there. But I admit I was wrong and I accept my loss with grace. Thanks for everyone’s input!

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"as my catcher was in the process of making the catch."

This part is key as if he had no possesion, then the catcher has no right to the baseline, even if waiting on the ball. No ball, no right.


Sliding is the preferred part of the game for runners (No WWF in little league), my boy was flipped onto his back and was dazed on a play and he waited for a thrown ball to reach him. I asked him what he thought, he said "i guess i should not have been in the way". Ha ha ha.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk

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On 10/24/2019 at 1:33 PM, Rich Ives said:

Would you  expect him to slide in a place where he could not reach the plate?

 

Can always count on you to give me a chuckle.  After Mizzou's game yesterday I needed that.  Thanks, Rich.

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Jay, it sounds like you may need to work with your catcher a little bit.

 

If the catcher, after the catch, would put the ball/glove directly into the sliding players face, it would probably fix some of these issues.

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3 hours ago, catsbackr said:

Jay, it sounds like you may need to work with your catcher a little bit.

 

If the catcher, after the catch, would put the ball/glove directly into the sliding players face, it would probably fix some of these issues.

Let's have your kid be the first to get the tag in the face on a LEGAL slide.   

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39 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Let's have your kid be the first to get the tag in the face on a LEGAL slide.   

Well, it's a legal tag too, so they should just suck it up, right?

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