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The Braves slicked down the infield to mess with Jose Reyes

Jun 15, 2011, 8:25 AM EDT

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Well, we don’t know for sure that they did that, but it seemed kind of obvious that the infield dirt was overly moist and muddy last night as the Mets-Braves game got underway. The reasonable inference: that they did it to slow down Jose Reyes, who said that he had never seen infield dirt that wet, “not even close.”

Of course, it didn’t work: Reyes stole two bases anyway and reached three times. Given the struggles Jair Jurrjens had, maybe they should have slicked down the ball to help the movement on his pitches a bit.

As ineffective as the Braves’ bit of gamesmanship turned out to be, the Mets lodged a complaint with the league over the infield. Which I would have too, because such wet dirt could possibly be a safety issue, and is definitely a laundry issue, and neither one of those things is good for the game.

  1. steve keane - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    Braves Ground Crew Sucks

    • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      I just left the Braves Ground crew. I was full time this season up until a few weeks ago. No way it was intentional. The crew are creatures of habit who don’t divert from what they are supposed to do every day. And they do a damn fine job. I actually texted my buddy on the crew still still and he confirmed that there was nothing sinister. He said it looked fine even when they dragged both times.

      It was crazy hot here yesterday. You have to throw a little extra water down so the field doesn’t crack over the three hours of heat. Sometimes, you throw a little extra down. The Braves Field Director is a lot of things that I won’t go into, but the dude knows is stuff and is widely regarded as one of the best in the biz (he also does the Super Bowl every year).

      I’m guessing that Reyes doesn’t know the least bit about field and turf management. He should stick to getting on base and being speedy.

  2. bleedgreen - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    Can we force the Braves to forfeit the next 3 games the Phils win?

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    “Somebody tell Jose how Jose supposed to keep playing hard for Jose’s next contract if they gonna keep the infield dirt so wet?” – Jose Reyes after 4-2 win in Atlanta.

  4. mercyflush - Jun 15, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    So it’s not just the Braves hitters that are swinging and missing. Now its the grounds crew too – Reyes was dominant last night.

  5. cur68 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Those cheeky Atlanta Braves. The real question is; what will they do for a follow up? I suggest KY on the dirt. He’ll slide right over the bag, like a greased piggy.

  6. The Baseball Idiot - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    If the Braves are supuposed to keep the infield dry so Reyes can still bases in a visiting ballpark, shouldn’t the Mets have to pull in then fences when the Braves come to town so Chipper can hit homeruns in New York?

    I think this would be a textbook example of ‘home field advantage’.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      Well, it didn’t work.

  7. Alex K - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    Can we blame the grounds crew if team management asked them to treat the field that way?

    • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      Team management never gets involved. It’s all on the Field Director.

      • Alex K - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        I wasn’t saying they were involved, just that there may have been other factors.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        And what would those factors be? Fans clamoring for ice cream on the field instead of cake (bc cake is better).

      • Alex K - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        There could be countless other factors. Like a grounds crew member with a hurt arm that can’t control the hose well enough.

        Ice cream is way better than cake. It’s science.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:54 PM

        You’re the only one who can’t control his hose well enough. You think they’d really send out a guy with a broken/hurt arm over and over again?

        Ice cream has an awful UZR rating. Cake is way more rangey.

      • Alex K - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        Wow, way to be mature. No wonder you couldn’t hack the grounds crew.

        Ice cream has a great +/-. UZR doesn’t have enough of a sample size for ice cream’s to be accurate.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:06 PM

        Ground Crew couldn’t contain me. I was too creative for them. They didn’t appreciate me wanting to change the outfield grass pattern into a large picture of Greg Maddux. They said it was unrealistic and ridiculous. So I left them for greener pastures.

        I’ve had plenty samples of Ice Cream. And all of those samples together equal a large sample size. And it’s just inferior. It melts under the pressure.

      • Alex K - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:54 PM

        I’m sure from the grounds crew you could move in to a much better job, like being a bar keep.

        While I admire the idea to have Maddux mowed in the grass, it doesn’t change the fact you couldn’t hack it.

        Ice cream is the Ruler of Dessertland. It will be around long after cake goes stale.

  8. henryd3rd - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    This type of gamesmanship has been going on in MLB for years. Giants did to the Dodger back in the day when Maury Wills was stealing bases. Cubs did it to the Cards when Lou Brock was at his prime stealing bases. This is the absolute compliment when you opponent resorts to these types of tactics. By the how many bases did Reyes steal?

  9. henryd3rd - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    This type of gamesmanship has been going on in MLB for years. Giants did to the Dodger back in the day when Maury Wills was stealing bases. Cubs did it to the Cards when Lou Brock was at his prime stealing bases. This is the absolute compliment when you opponent resorts to these types of tactics. By the how way many bases did Reyes steal?

    • dohpey28 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:52 AM

      I agree, however when it’s done to such a degree that you are risking injury to players on both teams then it’s going way to far.

    • ditto65 - Jun 15, 2011 at 9:54 AM

      *By the way*

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        My guess is that “way” and “how” were switched there.

    • professor59 - Jun 15, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      Ashburn used to tell the story over and over about how opponents would actually shape the dirt on the baselines so his bunts would roll foul. He didn’t mind because the Phillies crew would shape them the other way for him.
      Part of the game, I say.

  10. Jonny 5 - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    The Braves are terrible people!!!

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      Why you gotta talk bad about Native Americans? The Braves are a good, gentle people with great cultural traditions.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:52 AM

        Their fans are even wayyyyyy more terrible than the Braves themselves are.

        One thing we can all agree on though. Pie is just *^%$#ing awesome.

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Jonny, do I have to tell you where to stick that pie of yours? Cake rules, and there’s nothing you mere piebabies can do about it. Besides, you’re cavorting with a Bravos fan, there, buddy. Not good, man.

        Uh-oh…there’s that CAKE vs. pie thing again—sorry, spindervish, for getting peanut butter in your chocolate.

  11. newpairofsox - Jun 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    I think the same thing occurred in the Rays/Sox game last night. After Gonzalez made that diving catch and toss to Wakefield, he was looking at his muddy hand and muttering something…maybe just a coincidence, or maybe Ellsbury and Crawford’s speed?

  12. addictedzone - Jun 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    If their intention was to slow him down with water, the grounds crew needs a little better understanding of soil dynamics for what works. Next time use a rototiller on the basepaths and they’ll be able to stop Reyes in his tracks.

    • cur68 - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      addict; I like it. In fact I suggest we extend this one a bit further. Change speeds on him like a really good pitcher. Rototill the first 90, KY the 2nd, water the 3rd and back to rototill the last. No matter what happens the fans will be on the edge of their seats.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      The idea is to clog his cleats so he can’t push off on his jump.

  13. Chris Fiorentino's Rash - Jun 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    Holy shit what a stupid topic. At least questioning foul play is…

    Did for one night only the Braves played without a Shortstop? No? Ok so Gonzalez would have been affected by the wet dirt as well.
    Did they wet the dirt slow him down on the base paths? Do players like Jordan Schafer and Matt Young have genetic ties with Jesus fn Christ and can run unaffected by excess water? No, and No.

    • tsi4431 - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:37 PM

      Apparently you have no idea what this article is about. The terrible part of the field was the on the base paths near 1st base, not at the SS position.

      Reyes alone slipped 3 times before the crew fixed this issue. Since he was the first batter no one else had to deal with it.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      Geeze, the least you can do is read the freaking article. You are doing a disservice to us both when you write dumb uninformed crap like this. For that, I will be rubbing Gold Bond cream all over you when I get home from work.

      • Chris Fiorentino's Rash - Jun 15, 2011 at 6:15 PM

        I watched the game and saw Reyes slip twice on plays to second.

        The point of my comment earlier is that BOTH teams play on the same field. Reyes is simply a bitch.

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