Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Bae Ji-Hwan Bae is in full agreement with team mentor Andrew McCutchen.
In an interview reported by The Athletic on March 23, McCutchen argued that defenders should be banned from blocking bases on stolen base attempts.
His argument was that the same rule should apply in a stolen base situation, just as the catcher is not allowed to block the runner’s path when the runner is sliding in from home.
“I totally agree,” said Bae, who met with McCutchen a day later.
Bae, who is in a position to steal bases as a runner on offense and as an infielder on defense, said, “If a runner comes in with his legs, it’s hard to stop him, because he’s going to bleed (from the spikes). When stealing, a lot of times they come in headfirst, and if you block it, it’s the same as being blocked by the catcher at home and not scoring,” he said.
Major League Baseball is encouraging runners to steal more aggressively this season by increasing base sizes and limiting the number of pitcher’s strikes. Defenders have responded with defenses that completely block runners when they attempt to steal.
“After the basecar got bigger, there were more of them. I’ve been blocked one to three times,” Bae said, agreeing that the rule change has increased the number of such plays.
The biggest concern is injury. When a full-speed runner slides in headfirst and collides with a runner blocking the main path, injury is inevitable.
As McCutcheon said in an earlier interview, “It seems inevitable that someone will get hurt. All we can do is go in feet first and hope the fielder gets hurt or both,” he said in an earlier interview.
Major League Baseball previously instituted a home-run rule after Buster Posey’s injury and a second-base interference rule after the injuries to Jung Ho Kang and Ruben Tejada. It’s a bit like the barnstorming that happens when someone gets hurt. We can’t afford to make the same mistake again.
Bae, who currently has 14 stolen bases, emphasized the need for a rule to prevent injuries, saying, “If you get hurt, you’ll fight again, and it’s best to prevent it.”
Major League Baseball isn’t sitting on its hands. Citing sources, The Athletic reported that a joint labor-management competition committee discussed the issue during the offseason. The committee plans to monitor the impact of increasing base sizes to give runners extra room and then discuss whether further action is needed after the 2023 season 먹튀검증.