Baseball Sliding And Diving Rules

To be called safe by an umpire, the base runner needs to touch the bag with a part of their body. Sometimes, running towards a base just won't cut it. Read on to learn about sliding, the rules of sliding, and the various types of slides in baseball.


Sliding

Baseball Sliding

Sliding is a technique that base runners use to avoid being tagged out with the baseball. When a base runner approaches a base and a fielder near them has the baseball, the runner will drop to the ground and slide feet-first into the base using their momentum from running. Although sliding seems counterintuitive since it actually is slower than running, it is harder for fielders to tag a runner who is sliding. Base coaches are allowed to leave the coaches’ box when directing a player to slide.

Can you slide into first base?

Yes, sliding is allowed on first base, but it is not recommended since a runner is allowed to overrun the base, which is faster. When sliding to first base, the runner is allowed to leave the running lane within a reasonable distance for the purpose of getting on base.

Diving

Baseball Diving

Diving is a form of sliding, except the runner drops on their stomach and goes toward the base head-first rather than feet-first. This means they will first touch the bag with their hand. For players, diving often is more dangerous than sliding.

Offensive Interference

Runners are allowed to slide into any base but will be called for offensive interference if they slide with the sole purpose of breaking up a double play. This enforcement of this rule is at the umpires discretion, who will call offensive interference if it is clear that the only reason for the sliding attempt was to interfere with the fielder.

Defensive Interference

Fielders are not allowed to block the base paths unless they have the ball. If a fielder without the ball blocks the base path and makes contact with the runner, the fielder will be called for defensive interference. However, if a fielder has possession of the ball, they are allowed to make the tag in the base path.

Oversliding

Sometimes, a player will have too much momentum or begin their slide too late, therefore sliding too far or too fast past the base and not keeping contact with it. In this situation, it is more likely that the fielders will be able to tag them out. A batter-runner cannot be tagged out if they overrun or overslide on first base as long as they immediately return to the base after the slide. However, this is not the case if the player is a base runner. If the batter-runner chooses to run towards second base, they can be tagged out. Runners can get out from oversliding or overrunning at other bases from a force out or a tag out, based on if there was a force out on the play.

Contact With The Catcher

What happens if a base runner makes contact with the catcher when sliding into home plate? If the runner has their body on the ground prior to making contact with the catcher, it is a legal slide. On a slide, their legs and backside must be on the ground. For a dive, their body must make contact with the ground. It is not the runner's fault if the catcher chooses to block the path to home plate. Catchers are only allowed to block the running path if they have the ball.

Sliding Statistics

When a player chooses to slide, overslides, and is tagged out before returning to base, the official scorer will record a base hit or hit based on the number of bases they reached safely. The official scorer will record a caught stealing stat when a player overslides on a steal. If the player successfully steals a base with a slide, they will record a stolen base in the stat sheet.