Nick Markakis involved in first application of the new “Chase Utley” rule
In February, Major League Baseball added more specific language to its official rules in an attempt to better protect middle infielders from sliding base runners attempting to break up a double play. That was a result of Chase Utley’s slide into Ruben Tejada during the NLCS last year, which resulted in a broken leg for Tejada.
Braves outfielder Nick Markakis had the ignominious honor of being the guinea pig for the application of the new rule. Markakis was on first base with one out in the bottom of the seventhwith Hector Olivera facing Nationals starter Max Scherzer. Olivera hit what seemed like a sure-thing double play ground ball to third baseman Anthony Rendon. Rendon whipped the ball to Daniel Murphy at second base for the first out, and Murphy tried to avoid a sliding Markakis but was too late on the throw to first base. However, the Nationals got credit for the double play after Markakis was called for an illegal slide.
Markakis slid past the second base bag. The new rules say “the runner is to slide so that he is able to or at least attempt to stay on the base”. Seems like the ump got this one right.
Here’s the link to the video on MLB.com. It’s not yet embeddable so you’ll have to watch it there for the time being.