On my baseball team nobody slides headfirst.
If I were the manager, anywhere from T-Ball to the majors, that would be the house rule, strictly enforced.
Little kids would be benched, and probably cry. Big leaguers would get hefty fines, and might cry to their banker.
No face-first sliding into second or third or home plate, and, great God in heaven, no swan-dives into first base.
Scientific studies have shown that the fastest way to first is to run to it and past it. You actually are slower when diving.
The big diving splatter looks cool and usually gets a cheer, but it’s actually stupid. Track sprinters who dive at the finish tape are slower than those who run through it.
But science deniers are everywhere, so you have to punish them when they disobey the laws of physics.
You must do this before they punish themselves. Because headfirst slides are flat-out dangerous.
It’s the Cubs Kris Bryant sliding into second on Sunday against the Brewers and then leaving the game after jamming his head into the shortstop’s leg.
It’s the Cubs Javy Baez fracturing his ring finger in June on a headfirst slide into second with the Class AAA Des Moines team against Memphis.
It’s Yasiel Puig, Billy Hamilton, Bryce Harper, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, on and on, hurting themselves during headfirst slides, mainly because a baserunner puts his shoulders, fingers, wrists, and—above all—head and neck in harms way every time he dives toward a base, a tag, a defender’s shoes, knees.
Yes, you can get hurt sliding feet first. But can you remember somebody doing that recently and then missing 116 games like the Reds’ Ryan Ludwick did in 2013 after sliding headfirst into third, dislocating his shoulder and needing surgery?
And tell me this. What do you think a glove man would rather see coming his way: delicate fingers followed by a grimacing face? Or the bottom of a cleated shoe?
Nobody slides headfirst on my team. Or they pay through the nose.