In New Jersey, a former high school baseball player is suing a coach who told him to slide on a play after it led to an ankle injury.
That’s via Mike Deak of My Central Jersey, from whom we also learn that while the case was originally dismissed, an appeals court has sent it back to the original judge for further consideration. The facts of the case are fairly straightforward:
According to court papers, Maser, a freshman, was at bat in the second inning of the game with runners on second and third base. With Bound Brook ahead 6-0, Maser hit a long drive to the gap in left centerfield.
After Maser rounded second, he decided to leg out a triple. Suk, who was coaching third, knew there was going to be a “bang-bang” play at third, because the outfield was throwing the ball to the base, so he instructed Maser to slide.
That’s when the injury occurred.
The injury required surgery, but it’s notable that the player graduated high school two years ago, and this reportedly happened when he was a freshman. That’s about 6 years ago! And it’s in the court system now. How does any of this make sense?
More broadly, it seems like it’s an issue of liability. Sliding is pretty clearly part of baseball, as much as running is, and an ankle injury can happen at any time. It seems unlikely that a coach can be held responsible for an injury like this one. Were it some kind of over the top practice drill, then sure, there’s a conversation to be had. And while it seems like there’s pretty much zero chance this ends up being the result, if the coach is somehow found liable, it could have major repercussions for youth sports across the country.
But that’s probably not going to happen.