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Harold Reynolds: diving head first into first base is faster

Apr 11, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

Harold Reynolds

I can’t find video of it, but know that MLB Network host and future Fox A-team color commentator Harold Reynolds was asked about Josh Hamilton‘s injury last night and said  “I don’t have a problem with it” and “It’s faster to dive than run through.”

Which is why you always see sprinters slide head first into the tape during the Olympic 100 meters.

I don’t mean to cause too much FRICTION here because Harold Reynolds is a nice guy and I won’t wish to cover him WITH DIRT. Indeed, anything that SLOWS the baseball commetariat’s creep into constant arguing over what A PLAYER does is something we should not be DOWN with at all.

  1. metalhead65 - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    right anything that a former player says is wrong and what you saber geeks say is right even though you never played the game and do not know more than do. have you ever slid into first base? how do you know it’s faster to run? and if sprinter were not running on a hard surface who is to say they would not slide if it got them across the finish line sooner/ ok go back to your metrics and come up with some things to suck all the fun out of the game with. we need more brilliant logic like saying how RBI’S do not mean anything or how Joey votto should swing at bad pitches to drive in runs instead of taking a walk,good sound logic like that sure improves the game. there was nothing wrong with before you geeks decide it needed improving.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM

      Um, because anyone who graduated High School understands two fundamental principals. That a) sliding causes friction, which slows objects in motion, and that b) By sliding, you are no longer accelerating by running, thus slowing. It’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp. And yes, I have slid into First Base. It’s slower, and it’s risky, and it’s dumb. There is only one reason to slide into first base and that’s to avoid a tag that pulls the baseman off the bag, which A) happens very rarely, and b) happens so fast it’s near impossible to pull off properly. It’s also accepted knowledge around the sport that sliding into first base is generally a bad idea.

      But yea, go ahead and blame “saber geeks”.

      I’m sorry if my punctuation, capitalization, and 3 syllable words confused you.

      • metalhead65 - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        please go f–k yourself. I do not go to sports sites for grammar lessons. I will blame saber geeks for anything I want. you enjoy the game your way and I will enjoy it the way it was intended to played and watched the way it was before you geeks decided it needed changing.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Apr 12, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Pure class right there.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      how do you know it’s faster to run?

      Physics, math, you know that stuff you don’t believe in.

      or how Joey votto should swing at bad pitches to drive in runs instead of taking a walk

      uh, what? Us saber nerds are the ones arguing the latter. The luddites are arguing the former. Don’t get them confused.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        The commenter has a handle called metal head, likely alloyed sometime around 1965. Need I say more?

    • bcopus - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      I’m having a hard time understanding why the saber-geeks both think RBI’s don’t mean anything and yet they urge Votto to swing at bad pitches to produce RBI’s. That’s some serious cognitive dissonance. Those saber geeks, with their maths and their googly webs.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        I don’t think saber geeks think Joey Votto should swing at bad pitches. Saber Geeks just think Votto needs someone good hitting behind hime to drive him in after he reaches base 41% of the time.

    • adenzeno - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      David Neville, 2008 Olympics, agrees with Harold….

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:53 PM

        OK Aden, I watched that video several times and it is not at all clear whether he deliberately dove or simply fell while in his lean to the finish. The fact that commentators say he dove does not mean he did. After a 400 meter sprint, runners are exhausted. He may well have been luckier than he was brilliant. Bronze medal either way.

    • dolphinfan1326 - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      actually, the show mythbusters proved that sliding is slower than running full tilt…and why in the hell would you slide into first anyway when you can over run the bag with out being called out…

  2. timmmah10 - Apr 11, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Actually, Craig, if you watched Reynolds comment, he said that you have to dive correctly for it to be faster. Additionally, he said it was also to be done to avoid a possible tag.

    Additionally, he pointed out that the slide should not involve much if any contact with the dirt before hitting the base. Instead, saying that they don’t have to stop at the bag, the can just tap the outside of the base at the beginning of the dive. Therefore your passive aggressive attempted to argue that point is moot.

    He also showed the same guy run down the line and showed that he reached the base faster diving.

    Actual video evidence means more to me than your (and other WRITERS) opinion.

    • tfbuckfutter - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      “Correct diving” involves jet engines strapped to your ankles.

      So, technically he is accurate. It’s just he has an esoteric interpretation of the term.

      • sumerduckman - Apr 11, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        Yes, Acme rocket powered roller skates.

      • tfbuckfutter - Apr 11, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        What makes that comment funny is that Josh Hamilton basically Wile E. Coyoted his season.

  3. mikhelb - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    Unless the player slides “Pete Rose style” using the speed he built running to jump towards a base.

    In ‘Mythbusters’ they tried to find if it was faster to run than to slide, but as with lots of others experiments, they trials were done poorly, with people who had never played baseball (nor sports) thus their technics were non existant (same with tests with a corked bat).

  4. ironcurtin64 - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    Sometimes I feel bad for Harold because he’s wrong 95% of the time when he’s arguing with Brian Kenny on MLB Now. Sometimes I get the feeling even he knows he’s wrong.

    • yahmule - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      I think you may be on to something there.

  5. mikhelb - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    With the new rules for catcher then MLB has forced runners to get late to the plate when there is a play at home because now they have to slide, and as we saw in a NYY vs TOR game last week, the catcher can stand between 3rd base and the plate since the ball was batted as long as his legs are spread open to give the runner a space to slide and it wont be considered illegal even if he blocked the path before a throw is even made to homeplate.

  6. mikhelb - Apr 11, 2014 at 4:13 PM

    Besides what is it with those dumbs slides where a player slides 3-4 ft away from the base by one said, his feet pass the base without touching the base because they’re separated one meter from the base to one side, and then try to tag the base with their hands? they are not taking advantage of the slide tagging the base five feet after their bodies should have crossed over the base.

  7. twinfan24 - Apr 11, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    I don’t think it is faster to slide, and may not make a difference at the MLB level, but at lower level (high school, rec league, etc), I think it can give the appearance of hustle and being faster and can occasionally get you a call from an ump on a close play. I have seen some guys get the safe call when they really didn’t beat the throw, but the slide can sway some umps to give them the call.

  8. redandgoldhitman52 - Apr 11, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    alot of geeks on hbt. i’ll take harolds word over internet dbags who never attempted a slide into 1st

    • tuberippin - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:28 AM

      Seems like you’ve never slid into first base if you’re just “taking harolds word.”

  9. vegasshawn - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Just to clarify the argument:

    Harold: Apple is faster.
    Craig: You fool, Orange is definitely slower.

    Harold is talking about a dive, in which you launch yourself toward the bag and touch it on your way down. There is no dirt and no friction involved in the process. Your momentum may continue past the bag and cause you to slide, but that is after the fact.

    Craig is talking about a slide, where you launch yourself several feet before the bag and use momentum to carry you along the ground to reach your target.

    There’s a good chance that Harold’s argument is correct, while Craig’s argument is really off point.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Apr 11, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      Risking repetition here, but again, once you switch from running, which is your only means of forward propulsion, to anything else, your speed immediately begins to decrease. Not by much mind you, but nonetheless. Nothing else you can legally do in a baseball game can possibly produce the same degree of propulsion as running. Unless you are wearing a cape and really are from another planet. Harold may well be a swell chap, but, sadly, on this he is quite wrong.

  10. chadwalters425 - Apr 12, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Players and physicists (and Mythbusters) are all over the place, but even with a small savings here or there is it worth the risk of injury?

  11. albie300 - Dec 6, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    There are major differences between the two slides. But, not in real time in getting from first to second, second to third, third to home! The differences lie in the injury risk factors: Catastrophic injuries ranging from paralysis to serious upper body ones such as cardiac arrest are more likely than sliding feet first. Second, the runner has no choice but to slide in one direction—what if the ball is at the take-off point for the head first and the runner’s face or head is whip lashed in contact with a solid leg or some body part when the throw is on the first base side of bag? If one leads with a straight and bent-leg, the advantage or angular momentum is back but the movement or force into the solid leg or other body part will protect the runner and take out or cause the infielder to go down. And, if the runner sees he has to avoid or go around the fielder, he can execute a bent-leg fadeaway and tag the base or home with a hand.

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