Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar (24) takes issues with Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado (8) after Machado clipped Aguilar's foot on a play at first base.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Bernstein: MLB Needs Safety Base At 1st

There's no downside to this idea that will prevent unnecessary collisions.

Dan Bernstein
October 17, 2018 - 2:28 pm

(670 The Score) This is after the fact, but only after the latest fact. Dodgers star shortstop Manny Machado kicking the back leg of Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar in Los Angeles Tuesday night was just another reminder that MLB should require a safety base at first to take any kind of injury possibility there further out of the equation.

Aguilar shouldn't have been hogging the bag like that, Machado made a lame and dirty move to swipe at his leg with his own foot in a way that could've hurt either of them badly and the opportunity for such a collision can be avoided by having the runner race to a different spot.

Any of us involved in youth baseball or beer-league softball know what I mean, the double-size base with the blaze orange side in foul territory. The runner is directed to run there, while the fielder must make contact with the actual base.

There's no downside to this adaptation at the highest level of the game, particularly knowing the number of collisions, near misses and stumbles we see at that convergence point, often when someone other than the first baseman himself is forced to cover and make the play. The responsibility falls on pitchers more than others in such situations, players who aren't necessarily paid for their quick feet or athleticism.

The game is immediately safer and still called simply and fairly. Any complaints from the umpires about being responsible for a larger visual area -- having to keep an eye on slightly more distant contact points while waiting to hear the pop of the ball in the glove -- are negated by the existence of replay that already overturns numerous mistakes there. Teams or MLB could even use the added and often closely televised surface as inventory, selling ad space to an appropriate client affiliated with safety, health or security.

Do this yesterday then. If there's a valid reason not to, you'll have to help me find one. And I certainly won't countenance any of your tired and expected stupidity about tradition or softness or the wussification of our once-great nation to coddle the millennials.

MLB should improve first base, and step on it.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​​​​​​​​​