SCENARIO: In the AAA division the runner comes from third to home and there is incidental minor contact with the catcher who made the catch after the runner touched the plate. There was no slide attempt and the umpire called the runner safe at home. The coach on defense was upset because in an earlier game the umpire called their runner out for not sliding.
QUESTION: Is there a mandatory slide rule in Orem Youth Baseball?
SIMPLE ANSWER: No! They can also slide in feet first or even head first without penalty.
RULING ON THE FIELD: The runner was ruled safe at home even though they did not slide.
WHY THE CONFUSION?: A few years back Orem Youth baseball was affiliated with Little league and they have several sliding rules. Little League requires a slide when there is a close play at any base but first. Little League also does not allow head first sliding. But now Orem Youth Baseball is affiliated with Pony League International, and Pony has no specific sliding prohibitions. Orem Youth Baseball also has no specific sliding rules. This means that the rules of Major league baseball govern our games as it relates to sliding.
MYTH: The runner must always slide when the play is close.
REALITY: According to the rules of MLB there is never a time a runner must slide, but there are times if he does not slide he will be called out for interference. The runner also has the option of giving himself up, trying to avoid the tag by going around or over it, and reversing directions to avoid the tag.
PURPOSE & REALITY: The umpires want to prevent any malicious contact that would cause injury to either player. Incidental contact is part of the game and neither the runner or the defender should be penalized for incidental contact. If there is hard contact when the runner is sliding, then the runner would not be penalized. However, that same level of contact may be deemed malicious if they did not slide. This is an umpire’s judgment call, but to be safe the players should just make it a habit of sliding and removing the judgment from the call. If there is no slide, then the “Interference” rules must be factored into the call.
KEY TO BASE RUNNING SUCCESS: The runner should always slide and eliminate the umpires need to impose their judgment.
SPECIAL NOTE: MONDAY NIGHT LIGHTS - This is a competition league and there is a special sliding rule regarding double plays. “A must slide rule will be in effect when an infielder is attempting to turn a double-play at any base. The runner will be called out only if by his not sliding affects the defensive play.”