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Tag:Dave Anderson
Posted on: May 29, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 10:05 pm

Royals Pena says fear didn't back him up

Brayan Pena

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Royals catcher Brayan Pena said he made a mistake at the end of Sunday's loss to the Rangers, but it had nothing to do with fear or Buster Posey or anything like that, it was a simple mistake of not knowing exactly where he was.

"I know you have to ask that question, but no," Pena told reporters, including the Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton, when asked if he had tried to avoid contact on the play. "That's part of my job -- to go out there and get hit. I just really thought I had home plate blocked. But I guess not."

After Nelson Cruz led off the ninth inning with a homer to tie the game, Napoli singled. And with two outs and Napoli still on first, Elvis Andrus singled to right and Rangers third base coach Dave Anderson waved him home.

First baseman Eric Hosmer's relay throw was in plenty of time to get Napoli, who was barreling in on Pena, who then took a step back off the plate, appearing to brace for impact. Napoli slid and Pena tagged him on the chest after his foot touched the plate -- and give a ton of credit to home plate umpire Mike Eastbrook, who made a difficult call correctly at the plate.

Pena slammed the ball down after the call and argued he made the tag -- and it was obvious he thought he did at the time. But then, after the game, he saw the video. See the video here.

"I could tell he was safe," Pena said. "Everything was perfect, too. The guys did a great relay. Hosmer threw a perfect strike. It was on me."

The question, even with hindsight, was there a decision on a subconscious level to take a step back, to brace himself for contact or to try to avoid being injured like Posey? If so, it's natural, but still one that's sure to be frowned up by teammates and fans alike.

As for the Rangers side of the story, remember Anderson was criticized for his decision to send Josh Hamilton home on a pop up last month, which resulted not only in an out, but in an injury to the reigning American League MVP.

"Sometimes you have to be aggressive out there and take chances," Anderson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "How the game was going on, something crazy was going to happen to have this game over with. With two outs, you take a chance."

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:53 am
Edited on: April 14, 2011 10:23 am

Hamilton's slide talk of baseball

Josh Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans

When a MVP suffers a significant injury, it's noticed all around baseball -- and Josh Hamilton's case was no different.

Wednesday several players, coaches and managers made note of Hamilton's "mistake" of sliding head-first into home.

"It's like Russian roulette," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "If you do it long enough, it's going to beat you."

The Braves go as far as fining minor league players $50 every time they slide head-first into home.

Matt Young"I do it all the time," said Braves rookie Matt Young, who slid head-first at home in Milwaukee last week (pictured at right). "I'm not very good [sliding feet-first]. I mean, I can do it, but I'm not very comfortable. I feel more in control [head-first], getting to the bag and whatnot.

"I think if you go about it the right way, you're good. You've just got to go hard."

Reds manager Dusty Baker said he doesn't like his players sliding head-first into home, but he did it once as a young player.

"I had Donn Clendenon with the Mets, he called me over immediately. He said, 'Hey, kid, don't you ever slide head-first into home,'" Baker said, according to "This was a guy from another team that told me this. He told me, 'Jerry Grote, Randy Hundley and Johnny Bench would break your neck.'"

And that's one of the main reasons players are told not to slide head-first into home. The chance of injury against a catcher blocking the plate are higher (although, don't tell that to Robin Ventura) than sliding feet-first. That said, Hamilton's play was different. He was diving to the plate, trying to beat a catcher, also on the run, to the plate. And that catcher, Victor Martinez, was also tried to dive head-first. It seems like Hamilton's head-first slide was not the typical play at the plate, so normal rules don't apply.

"You always hear not to do it, but we've all done it," Granderson told the New York Times. "Everyone in this clubhouse has done it, even though we've been told not to. Your job is to get there any way you can."

And then there's the fact it's faster to go head first, or at least says David A. Peters, Ph.D., the McDonnell Douglas Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, according to this article from Science Daily in 2008 (thanks to Nick Hurm of the Cincinnati Enquirer for the link.)

"It turns out your center of gravity is where the momentum is," Peters said. "This is found half way from the tips of your fingers to the tips of your toes. In the headfirst slide, the center of gravity is lower than halfway between your feet and hands, so your feet don't get there as fast. It's faster head-first."

Hamilton usually slides head-first, so in that situation, isn't his natural reaction safest?

"I remember, with us, he slid head-first a lot. Those things are going to happen," Reds third-base coach Mark Berry told Mark Sheldon of of Hamilton, who played for the Reds in 2007. "All players are aware of the dangers you face going in headfirst, not only at home plate but any base.
"We've always discouraged it. In the years I've been in the game, we've always talked about never headfirst at home. Everybody talks about it. But we all know, most of us that played the game, instincts take over."

In most cases, head-first slides into home aren't the best course of action, but in this one, was it really the slide -- or the fact third base coach Dave Anderson sent Hamilton -- that's to blame? Or is it just an unfortunate incident?

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 7:13 pm
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