Is sliding into first base a dumb baseball move? Depends on who you ask.
That oft-debated baseball topic came up Sunday after the Boston Red Sox’s loss to the Chicago White Sox due to the decision-making of shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
As Boston trailed 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning and Sandy Leon on third base, Bogaerts chopped a ball to the backhand of Tim Anderson. The shortstop made a nice play to snare the ball and get a sliding Bogaerts on a jump throw to first to end the inning.
The Red Sox ultimately lost 5-2, calling into question how the game may have been different had Bogaerts run out the throw and possibly been called safe, thus tying the game at that juncture.
After the game, however, Sox manager Alex Cora had few qualms about Bogaerts’ decision, and for a pretty good reason.
“You’re asking the wrong guy,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I used to dive. It’s hard to explain. I actually had surgery on both of (my wrists).
“Sometimes it’s instincts, avoiding the tag,” Cora continued. “Sometimes it’s like desperation. You can’t explain it. Like that last part of the 90 feet, it’s like running in quicksand I guess. And you just want to get there.
“People do it. You can tell ’em all you want. And people can write about it and say ‘don’t do it, don’t don’t, don’t do it.’ There’s going to be a point that if you’ve been doing it your whole career, you’re going to dive. Is it great? Of course not. But it doesn’t matter what you tell ’em. I did it my whole career. And I always tried to like not do it and I did.”
Of course, the result of the game ultimately didn’t hinge on that fifth-inning play, but at the moment it didn’t lack in importance.
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