Josh Hamilton and His Head-First Sliding: Super or Stupid?

Categories: Texas Rangers

Josh Hamilton - Tigers.jpg
Didn't see this with my own eyes, but apparently around 1 a.m. this morning the Ranger who just spent six weeks on the disabled list with a broken arm suffered in a head-first slide ... slid three times head-first in one memorable, moronic trip around the bases in Texas' weather-ravaged 8-6 loss to the White Sox.

I ask you, what the hell is Josh Hamilton doing?

Some of you will say that's his style, and you're willing to accept the injuries that accompany his 110% play. If so, I say you are more Josh fans than Rangers fans. Because as we just witnessed as the team went 15-22 in his absence, the Rangers need Hamilton if they expect to return to the World Series.

And repeating the same process that got him hurt in the first place is no way to stay healthy.

I've talked to Ron Washington, third base coach Dave Anderson and general manager Jon Daniels, who all say "in a perfect world" Hamilton would never slide head-first again. During his rehab stint in the minors Hamilton suggested he might "tweak" his style.

But last night was seemingly a head-first middle finger to those of us who prefer discretion over valor when it comes to the Rangers' best player.

I also talked recently to Rusty Greer, a former Ranger who never met a slide he didn't like. He says asking/telling/forcing Josh to alter his style of play would be to threaten and even diminish his performance.

But perhaps there's a middle ground?

In last night's 8th inning Hamilton beat out an infield hit with a head-first slide, stole second base with a head-first slide and moved to third on a wild pitch with, yep, another head-first slide. He almost stole for the head-first cycle.

Impressive? Absolutely. Smart? Not even a little bit.

I don't want Josh Hamilton to be baseball's most balls-out competitor, I want the Texas Rangers to be baseball's best team.

But despite the obvious danger and the desires of his coaches and management, Josh isn't going to throttle back.

"If I stop doing that," says Hamilton, "then I won't be true to myself as a baseball player or true to my teammates or the fans that watch me play the game."

Asked what the sliding proved, Josh responded "That I want to win. Isn't that what I get paid to do?"

Answer: A big part of helping your team winning is staying healthy.

Hamilton is a five-tool player. But because of that stubborn mind-set that will get him hurt again at some point, durability isn't one of them.

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22 comments
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Anemic
Anemic

Top seven in lineup generate one base runner today.

snow monkey express
snow monkey express

Richie is right - it was a stunningly dumb act on Josh's part last night.  Did anybody watch the game?  Even Tom Grieve, Mr. Ranger Pom Pom Man, said that it's "not good."  On advancing to 3rd, they had him thrown out by a mile but the 3B didn't tag him.  If that had ended the inning I don't think there would be so many people here giving Josh a free pass today for the slides.  That's not smart baseball, and Josh needs to adjust his style if he wants to stay healthy and quit getting injured.

corby's backpack fullaweed
corby's backpack fullaweed

Better not play Hombone today, he might get a hangnail. Seriously Whitt, quit trying to draw people offsides and just give your real opinion. Anybody who doesn't want every player going dick deep on every play has never played sports on any level. I'd be more concerned about Kinsler's golf swing than Hamilton "hustling too much". This blog is a daily case of "what-the-fuckery" and I'm close to giving up.

corby's backpack fullaweed
corby's backpack fullaweed

The good news- my phone misspelled Hambone in my previous comment which gave me a new nickname for Richie. Autocorrect- It's unwanted, unnecessary and usually incorrect.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Dont give up, just join us in our little conversation, let richie write the articles and then discuss with us our thoughts.

Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett

Since when is durability one of the 5 tools? Look, I know what you're getting at, but that's the kind of player he is. Take away his freak injury in Detroit, I can't recall another player getting hurt sliding head first. I'm 100% positive it's happened and I'm sure some of you could name some, just saying I can't think of any. Playing ball in high school, I saw a teammate snap his tibia and fibula and blow his knee up sliding feet first.

mike
mike

The week Josh got hurt, 3 other MLB player were injuried sliding head first (two went on DL).  But as this article talks about, it may not be best idea to try to have MLB players switch to feet first.  Now sliding into first is a stupid decision unless you are avoiding tag.http://sports.nationalpost.com...

Baseball Intelligence
Baseball Intelligence

I tend to think Josh's injury was the result of an AWKWARD headfirst slide as opposed to a head first slide in general. Granted if all a player does is a headfirst slide then all awkward slides will be awkward headfirst slides, thereby slightly increasing the players chances of getting injured. All that said...I don't want Josh to change the way he plays the game. Balls out is all he knows, and that's one of the reasons he can win an MVP even after missing a month of games during a stretch run. Freak injuries are gonna happen to anyone, I mean he could take a fastball off the wrist today and be out for another 6 weeks with a broken wrist. As tired as the Wash cliche has become, that is, in fact, how baseball go. Just let the man play the game. Oh and, agreed...as a former catcher and generally slowest man on the field, even i know that sliding into first slows you down. THAT is a dumb play...

Abc
Abc

If you're going to try and say it's stupid for him to slide head first you need to come with some statistics showing that his last injury wasn't a freak injury because as far as I can tell it's extremely rare for someone to get injured doing so.

Tom1960
Tom1960

whitt, you contribute to the pussification of america every day.  whatever it takes to get the job done.  the guy would run through a wall to make a play.  

MB Tankersley
MB Tankersley

I would tend to side with Mr. Greer. I think he knows from balls-out play.

ThongNCheese
ThongNCheese

In SFBL news, I had a pretty good hitting night, 16/37, 6R, 2HR, 6RBI, 3SB and a .432 average, yet I still didn't gain any points. I've been stuck in 4th place for about a week now so I'm starting to make some roster moves. I hope they work out...

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

So, I had 4 pitchers yesterday, got one win, lost De la Rosa for the year, Garza to the DL and my ERA got lit up again.  Thank goodness for the dispersement draft, hopefully Harrison can make up for my De la rosa loss.

ThongNCheese
ThongNCheese

Pitching wise I wasn't too bad either, 8.2 innings, 0W, 4K, 3.12 ERA, 1.27 WHIP. Once Mauer, Sandoval and Victorino come back I'll be in business. Trade lines are still open.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

I saw that last night TnC, big night for the old ball squad..12 rbi's for TRDP1..and the TKR's gained 5 points..8ip=1 win and 2 sv and 11k's..without a manager and with 2 injured players in the starting linep.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

It's not a mindset, it's instinct. Did you play any baseball at all, Richie? Sometimes you just do things. And that includes slides and dives. It isn't a conscious decision, you don't make a pro/con list as you're running, it just happens.

The best players rely on baseball instinct. You can try to beat the message into their head all you want outside of in-game action, but sometimes a dude is going to dive.

linefourguy
linefourguy

Agreed.  Josh has been playing ball since he was a kid. You don't just turn it off.  Just like a hack blogger can't help himself from typing "what the what" and using that idiotic strikethrough font.

Betomolinar
Betomolinar

I watched live in disbelief! MLB's Com On MAN!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I dont like the headfirst into 1st but got no problem with it in other spots.   Look, he is a ballplayer, instincts take over and he isnt going to slow down bc he might get hurt.  You gonna bitch too when he pulls up on a fly ball bc you dont want him runinng into walls full speed, the ball drops in, a run scores, the rangers lose the game and miss the playoffs by 1 game?  Its part of the game, and those of you bitching about his sliding probably bitch about concussions in football and hits/fights in hockey.  Im tired of the pussification of America.  jeezus the way things are going now, by the time I have kids, the way I acted (well bahaved, slightly mouthy) when I was a kid would be considered bullying with the way we coddle and expect people to be.  Fuck the 4th place medal, fuck the participation ribbons, fuck not keeping score in little league games. ***steps off soapbox***

Richie's high chair
Richie's high chair

***hands soapbox to Richie so he can look taller at vandergriff honda***

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

As Ranger and Josh fan #1, I think he's lost his mind..nobody but Josh thinks that sliding into first is faster than running it out.  Surpised he didn't try to throw the 3b coach under the bus again and say that he was told to do it...guess he only says that when he gets injured. C'mon Josh, get your head out of your ass...check with RW, I think he found a doctor that performs a head out of your ass surgery or some such.

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