Verdict On Swisher’s Takeout Slide: Not Dirty

I would just link to the video I found on YouTube, but knowing MLB’s policy on videos such as this, it will be down anywhere between tomorrow and four days from now. Therefore, I’ll just stick to screenshots of the video.

I’ve seen a debate going on over whether Nick Swisher’s slide into Tsuyoshi Nishioka was dirty, and I think the fact that a lot of people were blacked out from the game (thanks, FSNorth and Mediacom et. al) and it being an afternoon game has caused some people to assume that Swisher deliberately tried to hurt Nishi. However, I’d like to point out that Swisher did nothing wrong.

Take a look at the picture below.

This is right around when Swisher makes contact with Nishioka. In the MLB rule book, a baserunner is allowed to attempt a takeout slide as long as he can still touch second base with any part of his body. Here, we see that Swisher could almost hug the base with both arms if he had wanted.

Another issue is that Nishioka, in the 7 games we’ve seen so far, will step towards 3rd base when attempting to turn the double play.

Yes, I understand that Swisher’s leg is raised. But he’s attempting a takeout slide. If you go straight for the feet, Nishioka still can make a strong throw to first base. If you hit him a little higher, you not only knock him over, but you can also take away some throwing momentum by knocking him backwards. I’m also willing to argue that this was simply a freak accident. There will be dozens more of these during the season, and rarely will a player be seriously hurt.

Finally, I want to point out one other thing. Remember how Justin Morneau got hurt last season? By doing the exact same thing as Swisher.

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11 Responses to “Verdict On Swisher’s Takeout Slide: Not Dirty”

  1. AW Says:

    You are correct. There are multiple of these slides every game. Although unfortunate, Nishioka should have gotten out of the way or jumped like all other middle infielders. Tough way to learn a lesson, though. I feel bad for the guy; and I have no doubt that Swisher had no intention to do anything other than a traditional take-out slide. Hopefully he’ll be back sooner than later.

    • Andrew Says:

      Agreed, I don’t think Swisher was trying to hurt him. If he wanted to hurt him, he would have made either less of an attempt to touch second base, or he’d be driving his spikes into Nishi’s leg.

  2. m Says:

    The problem with the slide was the lateness of it. In the basepath – yes. But the issue is he started his slide late, which is why he took Nishi’s knee out, instead of his feet. Not to mention the WWE kick. Totally dirty.

    • Pork Chop Guy Says:

      On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “dirty”, this is probably a 3.5. I wonder if there are take out slides in Japan? Was T-nish caught completely off guard? He had plenty of time to move/jump but choose not to. After watching the replay, you can see T-Nish is fully leaning on his front leg to make a strong throw. You’ll see this happen 99 other times this year without an incident. Swisher is not known as a dirty player – at least up until now, so I would chalk this up to a freak accident. If Swisher beaks someone elses leg this season, then I might change my mind.

      • Andrew Says:

        I love that you actually adopted the name “Pork Chop Guy” to comment. Perhaps it’s because I’m not the only person to call you that?

        From what I’ve read, Japanese players do not try to break up double plays. That would explain why Nishioka didn’t bail out when Swisher slid. He’s probably used to guys sliding directly into the base.

        Good point on Nishioka leaning entirely on his front leg. That’s the same way Carlos Santana of the Indians destroyed his knee last season, by attempting to block the plate with his left leg, put all his weight on the leg, and the runner slid right into it.

      • Andrew Says:

        Also, I’d rate it as higher than a 3.5, but only because I’m considering a 1 to be a runner that doesn’t even attempt to break up the DP. I’d call it more of a 5-6, but I still don’t think it was dirty.

  3. Pork Chop Guy Says:

    I forgot to post this earlier – All the best of luck to Nishioka during his recovery. After thinking it over, I could be convinced it was a 4.5 to 5 on the dirty scale, as he did end up breaking a leg As for the Twins, not a successful road trip, but at 2-4 they were only 1 game away from a 3-3 road trip and from what I remember last year they played about .500 on the road. Are you working the game tomorrow?

  4. Charles Jannuzi Says:

    Not dirty because that isn’t what the rules are about. Most likely the umps aren’t going to change what goes on there. But it’s a sloppy slide where Swisher himself could get hurt. Also, there still is the ‘baseline’ rule and I’m not even sure they anywhere close to a 1st-to-2nd baseline here, it looks more like 2nd-to-3rd. It’s goofy baserunning at best, especially with the sweeping leg quick just to make sure contact is made.

  5. MV Says:

    I feel it was absolutely dirty. You are not allowed to slide with your spikes off the ground. That last picture clearly shows the 2nd baseman trying to jump over Swisher, but Swisher not only raises his leg, but kicks with it. The only reason the 2nd baseman didn’t break his tibia is because he wasn’t planted and got off the ground. Just not high enough to elude Swisher’s kung fu kick.

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