January 24, 2005

WATCH YOUR MOLARS:

Double (Play) Trouble (Tim Kurkjian, 1/24/05, ESPN The Magazine)

There was a mix-up around second base last June 27 in Kansas City. Royals second baseman Tony Graffanino and shortstop Angel Berroa were confused on who had the bag on the double play, so, both wound up there. No matter. The runner on first, St. Louis' Scott Rolen, took them both out.

That's why he's our choice for the best in the major leagues at breaking up a double play. "He's the best there is today,'' said Brewers third base coach Rich Donnelly, who has been in the National League for the last 15 years. "One of our guys, Junior Spivey, is really good. He and Rolen, they'll try to take out your back molars. And, they do it cleanly.''

Yankees second baseman Tony Womack, who played a lot of games against Rolen, and last season with him, said, "Scott goes in the hardest among active players. Al Martin went in hard, so did Kevin Young. Butch Huskey had that pop-up slide; he flipped me over once. Albert Belle came in really hard. But today, Scott is the hardest. He does that like he does everything else, he goes after you. He will break up two by any means necessary.''

There weren't a lot of candidates. "It's a shame,'' said one manager. "Today, guys peel off or slide early because the second baseman or the shortstop has the same agent as they do. They're friends. They don't want anyone getting hurt.'' Indeed. The days of Frank Robinson, Don Baylor and Hal McRae coming at you are over.


Hal McRae was just scary.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 24, 2005 12:59 PM
Comments

Hal McRae transformed the American Leauge. Before he came to the Royals, it was called the Brother-in-law leauge, no hard slides, no inside pitches.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 24, 2005 1:51 PM

Hal McRae transformed the American Leauge. Before he came to the Royals, it was called the Brother-in-law leauge, no hard slides, no inside pitches.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 24, 2005 2:24 PM

Free agency has transformed baseball. The guy you slide hard into today might be your teammate next year. Also, the injury you sustain sliding hard into 2d, or blocking the plate(another lost art and underappreciated when you hear OJ criticize Jason Varitek) can cost you millions if not tens of millions of dollars.

Only the DH rule has had a more dire impact.

Posted by: Bart at January 24, 2005 4:03 PM

The DH proves the lie about MLB taking steroids "seriously." The DH is the embodiment of juicing the game. The American League hasn't played baseball for 30 years.

Posted by: Palmcroft at January 24, 2005 4:13 PM

Not letting pitchers take batting practice shows what the NL thinks of its own version.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2005 8:29 PM
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