Mets, Brewers benches clear after Jeff McNeil takes exception to Rhys Hoskins slide

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Benches cleared for the first time in the 2024 MLB season Friday when Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins slid a little too hard into New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil, trying to break up a double play.

Up 3-1 with one out in the eighth inning, Brewers shortstop Willy Adames hit a ground ball to third baseman Brett Baty, who threw to McNeil at second. However, a hard-charging Hoskins started his slide a little late, crashing into McNeil’s legs as he lost the ball on the transfer.

McNeil was visibly angry at Hoskins, and both benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. There was no pushing and shoving as the teams stayed separated, but Hoskins rubbed his eyes as if to call McNeil a crybaby, and McNeil cursed at Hoskins from across the field.

New York challenged the play for slide interference, but the call on the field of no interference was upheld.

After the game, Hoskins told reporters that McNeil, “just seems to be complaining when things aren’t going well. I think that’s kind of one of those moments. Maybe lost in the heat of the game.”

The Mets have been at the centre of MLB’s rule changes regarding slides at second base over the past decade. In the 2015 NLDS, Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley received a two-game suspension for a slide into second base that broke New York shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg.

Utley was ruled safe because Tejada didn’t touch the base, and the Dodgers scored four runs in the inning to win the game. Ultimately, the Mets won the series in five games.

The following year, MLB implemented a new rule, banning the “roll block” slide where players try to break up double plays. Now, players must “make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base.”

The rule states that “Runners may still initiate contact with the fielder as a consequence of an otherwise permissible slide. A runner will be specifically prohibited from changing his pathway to the base or utilizing a ‘roll block’ for the purpose of initiating contact with the fielder.”

The Brewers held on to win Friday’s season-opener without tempers flaring any further.

— With files from The Associated Press

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