Opinion: Why Jose Bautista's Play Was Illegal
Clear Photo of Bautista grabbing the leg of 2B Logan Forsythe to break up a double play. (credit: Kim Klement, USA Today Sports)

Tampa Bay fans rejoiced all around the city earlier this week when the Rays picked up their first win of the season, and a historic one at that; while Toronto went on a rampage. With the bases loaded in the 9th inning, and a 3-2 Tampa Bay lead after an 8th inning Logan Forsythe two-run homerun off of relief pitcher Brett Cecil, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion grounded to 3B Evan Longoria, who sent the ball to Forsythe to get Jose Bautista out at second, and when Forsythe threw the ball to 1B Logan Morrison, the ball was charged as an error, in which scored Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson with 2 outs into the 9th.

The score was set as 4-3 Toronto, who was looking to take their third consecutive game of the four-game ball series.  However, that wasn't the case as the play would go under review, and subsequently end the ball-game. With the ire growing of Jays' fans, and rightfully so, rules are still rules, and it's as simple as that. 

Why Bautista's Play Was Illegal

When Bautista slid into the bag, he broke two rules, both may have not been visible to somebody who wasn't paying much attention whilst watching the broadcast or is a common viewer who didn't keep up with the additions of the new rules during the off-season after the slides by Chris Coghlan into Jung-ho Kang and the now-infamous slide from Chase Utley into Ruben Tejada during the 2015 playoffs.

With that being said, the new rule is that if you overslide the bag heading into second, then you've not broken the double play, it's now an automatic double play. There's also been an interference rule in tact, which clearly states that "a player can't change the course of a play from what is expected." When "Joey Bats" did that slide, it wasn't at all dirty, but it did just that, change the course of a play to where Forsythe threw it away causing Encarnacion to be safe.

Though it wasn't visible to most at first (due to the fact Bautista quickly took his hand back), it did happen, and clearly at that in the replay shown. It isn't necessarily the way you want to win,  a win is a win and a clean, but Busch League play by their clubhouse leader cost Toronto the ballgame. 

credit: Grant Bisbee
Credit: Grant Brisbee

Jose Bautista not only clearly held Forsythe foot causing him to miss on the throw to Morrison, but also slid past the bag, which is another broken rule. The reason it seems to be overturned is him sliding past the bag, as that had happened to Nick Markakis earlier in the week during a game against the Washington Nationals. Jose Bautista's slide was illegal in more ways than one and that's why they lost the game. The Rays would go onto win the next ballgame and both are 2-2 and tied for third in the AL East.

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