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.