One of my favorite things to do when it comes to talking baseball is to rag on Dusty Baker. So imagine my glee when on Thursday night I got plenty of fuel to stoke my Dusty-hating fire. Always the good ol’ boy, Dusty is once again out of touch, this time when it comes to the new rules breaking up double plays.
Thursday night’s game between the Mets and Nationals ended with Jayson Werth taking out a Mets middle infielder covering second base and trying to turn a double play. Werth slid late, made direct contact with the Mets player’s knee and drastically altered his throw. Sounds dirty, no?
Of course, the ultra-traditionalists of baseball are furious about this, as they have been multiple times when it’s come to these plays this season. I believe Dusty said something abut how we’re supposed to teach kids to break up double plays with these new rules. Ah yes, the classic “think of the children” approach.
Maybe one day some of these guys will realize that just because something happened in the old days doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Dirty slides have always been dirty. Sliding past the bag and into a player’s knee, putting them at risk of a serious injury, is a pretty heinous sports crime. Just because back in your day nobody cared about safety doesn’t mean that everyone should still think that.
In all fairness, Dusty isn’t the only one who is railing against these new rules, he’s just the easiest target. Jerry Hairston Jr. tweeted out a video of the play, moaning about how it’s ruining the game or some similar nonsense. That was subsequently retweeted by Kerry Wood. There are a lot of people out there who feel this way, but the fact of the matter is that A) rules are rules, and you’re breaking them; B) maintaining the delicate balance between giving your all and keeping other players safe is being met at a fairly happy medium right now with these new rules.
I’m a fairly conservative guy when it comes to some things in baseball (for example, I’d be happy to rid the game of the scourge that is the designated hitter), but this is something that is so foolish to be in favor of. But the game is still full of holdovers from an era when playing dirty was apparently encouraged. Sadly, until all of these people are gone from the game, we’ll be arguing over stupid things like whether it’s right or wrong to intentionally make a dirty play o the basepaths.
But go ahead, Dusty. Keep trying to live in the past. Maybe this year when your team fails in the playoffs you can bitch and moan about the playoff game or something else new and scary.