I do get why folks wonder how some of us can be so consumed with sports. I am a huge consumer of ESPN Radio while I go about my day. People ask me all the time “how CAN you listen to that all day when they talk about the same topics all the time?” The fact is, I don’t.
I do disconnect when certain topics get drawn out…for hours…when I feel they don’t deserve repetitive discussion.
That being said, I admit Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton’s ill-fated run for a run is worth a dissection today.
Communication is critical in sports…and making connections can be difficult to achieve outside of sports as well.
The genesis of Hamilton’s problem yesterday began with third-base coach Dave Anderson apparently indicating it was “go time” even while Josh’s head said “no go.” If I am Hamilton and to be the one ridiculed for attempting to score on as short a foul ball as was hit…with the entire play in front of him…I could care less what is being communicated in my ear and going with my instincts.
That’s why they pay Hamilton more than Anderson.
I have heard folks today simultaneously praising Josh for running and bashing him for saying afterwards he didn’t want to…the coach was telling him to. Some seem to feel he is throwing Anderson under the bus by admitting he had his doubts on what was being communicated…while trying to assess the situation on his own.
This was not a situation where Hamilton needed to connect with Anderson. All you’re doing here is creating noise for the player processing where the ball is, where the fielders are, etc. Hamilton could clearly see the play in front of him.
It was absurd to tag in that situation and I was as aggressive a base runner as could be back in the day. (Admittedly, I would want the stopwatches turned off if I tried to get from third to home now)
However…equally absurd was Hamilton’s head-first slide. I hate head-first slides. Back in the day (again, quite a few days ago), we practiced sliding over and over again…feet first…and learned the proper way to do it while not harming oneself. We even learned variations to avoid being tagged. Honest.
We can argue who came up with the head-first slide but I believe the risk outweighs the reward. I know it is easier to make that case with this disabled outcome but to me the communication breakdown was not just Anderson vying for Hamilton’s attention while he was trying to determine the correct move to make, but baseball teams not communicating to players head-first is not heady at all.