Take-Out Slide Takes Out Pirates Shortstop Jung Ho Kang…For the Rest of the Season (Video)
There’s nothing in the official MLB rulebook that specifically says a base runner is allowed to try to slide into a fielder and knock him down to prevent him from throwing another base runner out. There are simply rules about running the bases, about sliding, and about tagging. And so long as you follow them, “coincidental” contact is perfectly acceptable.
Of course, in reality there’s nothing coincidental about a take-out slide. And it’s not just an accepted part of the game. It’s an expected part of the game. If you don’t try to break up a double play with a take-out slide, you’re not doing your job.
Don’t get me wrong. There are rules. You’re not supposed to go in spikes up, a la Ty Cobb. And you’re not supposed to veer too far off the base path, or stick your leg or arm out as you go in. But so long as you follow the basic unspoken rules, the opposing team won’t take offense. Because they know it’s just good hard baseball.
Unfortunately, this particular aspect of baseball is pretty dangerous. And on Thursday, the Pirates were reminded of that the hard way when they lost starting shortstop Jung Ho Kang for the remainder of the season thanks to a take-out slide by the Cubs’ Chris Coghlan.
Take a look:
It really is a devastating blow for the Pirates, as Kang will now miss six to eight months after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus and broken tibia.
However, while the South Korean media has been quick to tar and feather Chris Coghlan—one outlet called the play a “murderous tackle”—Kang released a statement expressing a very different opinion:
“It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury. That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played. I’m confident he meant me no harm. I appreciate everyone’s support.”
Of course, some folks might worry that MLB will outlaw the take-out slide after this incident. And if the Pirates shortstop was named, say, Buster Posey, they probably would.
As it is, this will probably be classified as an unfortunate fluke that’s just part of the game. As it should be.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]