Josh Hamilton: The Play That Shouldn’t Have Been
I guess I should make my declarations for honesty’s sake. I grew up in Arlington, where Hamilton is the biggest thing to play for the Rangers since Pudge Rodriguez or Nolan Ryan. I also like the guy’s story. And I do have him on one of my fantasy teams that I pay for. So as insignificant it sounds, I do have a financial interest in Josh Hamilton’s performance.
Now, I know you can’t tell from my god-like physique (that god being Buddha), but I used to play baseball back in elementary school and junior high. I also watched it ever since I was a little kid. The popup that had Josh Hamilton ran on couldn’t have been halfway to 3rd base. This was not a smart move and has to quite possibly be one of the dumbest I’ve ever seen in my baseball-watching lifetime. Who really is to blame?
Dave Anderson-He noticed that home plate wasn’t being covered. He told Hamilton to go. As a 3rd base coach, you should know every scenario. One time as first base coach, I forgot an Infield Fly Rule. Not perfect, but it happens. He told his player to go on a foul ball that Little League coaches wouldn’t have gambled. Josh Hamilton is not that fast.
Josh Hamilton-Josh Hamilton is not that fast. Josh Hamilton should know that. I have no idea what he was thinking. Isn’t an AL MVP that way because he knows when to run and when not to? A runner should be able to tell his coach “No, I don’t think I can make it” and not face any repercussions from it.
Brad Penny-How was he not covering home? Again, back to Little League 101, in baseball, you don’t leave open bases, especially in that situation. I couldn’t field or hit or run or throw. But as a player, I knew who to back up and which bases to cover. Tom Emanski doesn’t even do videos about those skills, they’re so basic. (And why shouldn’t he? They’re endorsed by Fred McGriff.)
But please (Sports pundits/talking heads) do not blame this on the head-first slide. The head-first slide is as timeless as baseball itself. Yes, players get hurt, but injuries happen. Pete Rose plowed through many a catchers. My starting line-up Pete Rose action figure is him doing a head-first slide. People didn’t bring that up when he played. Matter of fact, he was christened “Charlie Hustle.” Please don’t talk of banning this. This is baseball at its purest.
Baseball is 162 games in the regular season, plus a minimum of 11 games in the playoffs and Spring Training. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. Dave Anderson made a mistake. Josh Hamilton made a mistake. If you’re lucky, a mistake will cost you an at bat or a run. Here, it cost a team its MVP for 6-8 weeks.