Sorry for the week off folks. Had a slightly minor computer problem this past week. Apparently laptops do not work well when the battery no longer works. Who knew? This weeks winner of the best beard goes to an AL player. Finally! Truth be told I didn't even look for one in the NL this week. I believe that Jose Valverde would have won even if I did. Ever since Horace Grant I have always loved the "rec specks." Match that with Valverde goatee straight from my freshmen year of high school and warrior cry we have a winner. If you have a beard pic send it my way via Twitter (#BestBeard).
I am going to preface this with I don't that Nick Swisher or Bill Hall are "dirty players." Now I don't think that this would be as big a topic if they didn't happen within a week of one another. (To see either highlight you have to go to MLB.com. They are tyrants and remove all videos from youtube immediately.)
Lets start off with Swishers slide. He starts his slide at a normal distance away from the bag but outside the base path and clips Tsuyoshi Nishioka while still within arms reach of the bag. Apparently ball players in Asia are too considerate because all I hear is that this is Nishioka's first year in the bigs and isn't used to base runners trying to take out middle infielders.
Now my biggest peeve with this story isn't people who disagree with me it was Skip Bayless's comments on First Take. Skip seems to think that Swishers slide was inappropriate. Why didn't he slide into the bag like normal? That Swisher had no business sliding outside the path and a slide goes directly at the bag. Got to love a grumpy old man who may or may not have played baseball thirty years ago telling a big leaguer what a real slide is. I may not have played at the highest level of baseball but I played (as a middle infielder) enough to get a metal cleat dug into my shin a few times and I still have scars to prove it. Skip that is what the baseball types call a back door slide. It is used to avoid a tag or break up a double play ball. And is completely legitimate. If Nishioka's leg doesn't break and he walks it off this wouldn't have even been discussed.
Hall's slide is a completely different situation all together. Like I said before I don't think that he is a dirty player but that slide was the dirtiest slide I have ever seen. Hanley Ramirez is lucky he didn't sustain a much worse injury from this play. I watched this play way more times then the Swisher incident and every time I believe more and more it was intentional. His slide is almost after the bag. When Hanley comes off the bag to make the throw Hall changes his path to continue at Hanley. And the most damning piece of evidence in my opinion is how regretful Hall looks immediately after the play. He has that "Oh crap. I'm in trouble" look we have all had growing up when we did something right after our parents told us not to. When it is all said and done baseball is a contact sport (even though baseball haters claim its not). Injuries are going to happen whether it comes on a clean, dirty, or borderline play. Glad to see that the MLB isn't going to over react to these two plays like all the major sports have been doing lately.
Why do topics in sports seem to snowball at one given time? Josh Hamilton broke a bone in his arm this past week sliding head first into home. And then goes and throws his third base coach under the bus TWICE. I understand maybe once because of frustration but come on. This is 100% on Hamilton. Anyone who has played baseball at any level will tell you you're taught to never slide head first into home. Hamilton claims that it was too aggresive. You know that same aggressive style that got them to the World Series last year? Run like a deer? Seems Hamilton looked more like a baby deer learning to walk.
Good news for CC Sabathia. It seems all the home jersey pants from his uniform from last year will not go to waste just because he shed a ton of weight in the off season. It seems that he actually sold them to Phil Mickelson just in time for the Masters. Did anyone tell Phil that the Masters is televised and the most watched tournament all year?
Lastly lets not forget that two years ago this past week Nick Adenhart was killed in a drunk driving accident. Such a sad and unfortunate event that could have easily been avoided. Not to get all emo but its so easy to get a DD or a cab. Just don't drink and drive.