Hey Blue! Doesn’t the Runner Have to Slide?

By Bob Downey, Hanover LL UIC 2014

Some folks incorrectly believe that runners are required to slide when there is a close play at a base. Perhaps it is from rules that existed years ago when they played the game; hard to tell. Most baseball and softball association rules do not have a mandatory slide rule.

However, there are rules that do cover runner requirements when an impeding tag is possible.

Little League Rule:

7.08 - Any runner is out when –
a. (3) the runner does not slide or attempt to get around a fielder who has the ball and is waiting to make the tag;

ASA Softball Rule:

Rule 8 Section 7- The runner is out…..

Sub-paragraph Q.  When a defensive player has the ball and the runner remains upright and “crashes” into the defensive player.

EFFECT: The ball is dead. The runner is out.  All runners must return to the last base touched.  If the act is determined to be flagrant, the offender shall be ejected.

The key to this rule is that the defensive player must have the ball and waiting to make the tag, NOT waiting for the ball to arrive or “ABOUT to receive” the ball.

A defensive player who is in the way of the runner is guilty of “Obstruction”.  That will be subject of another Hey Blue article.

The only exception to this is if the offensive player maliciously “crashes” into the defensive player.  In that situation, the offensive player is ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.