“If I were a baseball manager, I would tell my guys batting third, fourth, fifth and sixth never to slide.
Sure, there would be some embarrassing Jeremy Giambi/Carlos Beltran moments, and maybe a few runs would be lost along the way. But in the end, there would be a lot less injuries to my stars.”
The musing by the Daily News’ Filip Bondy appeared in his “The Daily Blahg.”
First of all, thank goodness he is not a baseball manager. The approach to the game has slipped precipitously in the last decade, tolerated by hamstrung managers and loathed by fans.
If you play not to get hurt, guess what, you will get hurt. If you play the game “safe,” your team will be raking leaves in October with the rest of the masses. If a player cannot condition his body to handle a rudimentary play, such as a slide, then let him join a beer league. What’s next, no leaving your feet in the infield? No diving or banging into walls in the outfield?
Baseball can be physical sport and players get hurt playing it. Get over it Flip!
Bondy’s bent is preposterous. The Mets lost the NL Eastern Division by one game each of the last two seasons. Beltran did not slide in a 4-4 game in the 8th inning in St. Louis and was nailed at the plate. The Mets went on to lose and that play did not foster their chances. That is indisputable.
For whatever reason, it was a bonehead play by Beltran. However, when you are leading the league in hitting sometimes you get a pass. He is a better base runner than that ( I think).
When the Mets lost to the Marlins on the last day of the season in two consecutive years who didn’t hearken back and pinpoint a game in April or May, etc, that they let slip away? It’s drummed into our heads constantly by announcers and columnists that games this time of year are as important as those in September.
Moreover, the other day Beltran he did it again and did not slide on a steal attempt. This time Jerry Manuel finally chimed in and said he had to slide. He didn’t exactly admonish him though. This is fundamental baseball, a subject for Little Leaguers. The fact that we are debating this issue underscores how far the game has slipped. Players’ running doubles into singles has sadly become commonplace. It’s also maddening to the fans.
It adds up to lost runs and the object of the game, back to the Gay Nineties, is to score more runs than your opponent. And, winning a baseball game is the culmination of positive plays by one side that equals runs and results in outs.
Maybe Bondy has just succumbed to the fact that players will not hurl their bodies around every game in order to win a single ballgame. He can, I will not.