Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And Now They Wait

Congratulations Colorado Rockies.

Now we get to see what eight days off does to the otherworldly momentum which helped them destroy the Phillies and then the D-backs. My guess is that they'll be just fine.

And speaking of momentum, the last play of the game, while obviously unimportant in the grand scheme of things, bugged me all the same:

Eric Byrnes followed with a checked-swing grounder that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki charged. His throw beat Byrnes' headfirst dive, and Helton threw his arms in the air, a decade of disappointment finally forgotten.

If I was a manager I'd fine any player who willingly gave up the speed and momentum of a dead run through the first base bag in favor of a dive which, under every single circumstance, adds to, rather than shortens the time it takes a player to get to the bag.


Diesel said...

I'm going to see if I can find it for you, but I read something not too long ago that actually defended the head-first slide and suggested that, if executed correctly, it's actually faster than a dead run. However, Byrnes' "beached walrus" slide was not included in the "executed correctly" portion of what I read.

Shyster said...

I'd be interested to read that. I'll admit, my comments about it above are based more on my reckonin' and the comments of some famous baserunners than anything scientific. My sense was that the only reason for a headfirst slide (or any slide at all) was to avoid a tag.

Brett said...

I believe diesel is correct. I can't find the study either, but my understanding is that under certain circumstances diving can save up to 0.1 seconds. The important points:

- You must have close to perfect technique
- If your natural stride is going to take you over the base, you'll need to shuffle-step or take an extra long stride, neither of which is optimal
- You must have close to perfect technique
- Baserunners generally touch the base near its center; diving to the front edge can save a few inches (baseball is a game of something-something)
- You must have close to perfect technique

In general I suspect that diving can be shown to be technically superior with a handful of athletes in a very small subset of cases, but that it's probably not a bad idea to forbid it rather than suffer through seeing it misapplied.

Diesel said...

Check this out:


That might be what I was thinking of, but I seem to remember it dealing with the subject in more depth. If I find anything else, I'll let you know.