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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Diving catches are amazing baseball highlights ... but don’t they hurt? We asked.

Skipping ahead a little….

Or, that the most impressive part of a diving catch is not the catch but the dive and the fact that they do it at all because: Doesn’t that hurt?

“Yes,” said Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward.

“It’s not as bad as you think,” said Yankees center fielder Cameron Maybin. Except that’s not saying much because I think it seems really, really bad.

Think about it: Do you ever land face first on the ground as part of your job? And if you did, wouldn’t that be the end of strenuous physical activity for the day, if not the week? I don’t mean that facetiously or as part of a self-effacing punchline. I’m used to seeing all sorts of athletic feats beyond my personal capabilities on a professional stage. But it’s not that I can’t imagine what it would feel like to belly flop onto the unforgiving earth — it’s that I can. Which is why I never do it, at least not on purpose.

Something to consider in parallel with the Kris Bryant piece.


QLE Posted: September 24, 2019 at 12:18 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catches, fielding, ouch

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2019 at 02:07 AM (#5882477)
I dunno, I've dived a lot (in baseball/softball, football, occasionally basketball) and there's only one I recall genuinely hurting (and I knew it was going to) and that was just for a bit. On grass/ML-quality dirt, at least you slide. Now I'm moving a lot slower than Jason Heyward, I've never done it day after day for many years and I probably care less about the outcome (so don't do it as balls-out probably). It's not so much him and Maybin I'm questioning here, it's more that the writer seems to think they're writing for folks who've never played sports.

The main difference between low-level and pro-level sports is the level of speed, strength, agility not so much the ... opportunities for amazing stuff to happen. I've seen a SS in rec league softball completely laid out on a mid-air dive, parallel to the ground (that one probably hurt). Same in an intramural touch football game by a receiver. At 1B, I had to stretch straight down the 1B line, caught the throw then had a choice of flipping the runner through the air or taking his knee to my face (guess which I chose).
   2. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 24, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5882496)
(guess which I chose).

Ball to the groin for $100,000?
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 24, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5882511)
My experience is that diving and sliding on grass feels just fine. Sliding on infield dirt on the other hand can hurt and cause some gashes.
   4. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 24, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5882512)
You want to know what hurt?

I was playing for our high school team in DC, which at least BITD meant we played our games on multipurposed fields that were always surrounded by a cinder track. I can still picture one of our more fearless outfielders taking a headlong dive on one of those cinder tracks while trying to catch a popup down the LF line. His entire forearm was a bloody mess, but he just washed it off, taped some gauze on it, and kept on playing.

   5. SoSH U at work Posted: September 24, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5882516)
Making a diving play was the thing I loved most about playing baseball, and I never hesitated to do it.* I can't recall it ever hurting.

However, I also did all of my ballplaying before I turned 20. I'm positive that by the time I was 25, I would have felt the effects. Obviously, Heyward and Maybin are amazing athletes in top-notch condition, but I wouldn't be surprised if their bodies at their age are a little less receptive to the jarring that comes from contact with the ground at full speed than when they were teens.

* Interestingly, my ballplaying son, despite being a much more talented player than I was, has not been keen on diving for balls, and pretty much avoided it until the last few weeks of his most recent high school season.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2019 at 06:23 PM (#5882718)
Sliding on infield dirt on the other hand can hurt and cause some gashes.

In the real world for sure. On finely manicured ML fields, probably not so much.

On Heyward, he made a catch in SF a couple of years ago that I consider one of the finest I've ever seen (statcast wasn't nearly as impressed as I was). He raced back into that little triantle area they have as you head towards RCF, fully laid out on the warning track, caught the ball, hit the ground and his momentum slammed his head into the wall. He missed a few games after that.
   7. JAHV Posted: September 24, 2019 at 08:26 PM (#5882743)
I skin my hands and knees diving on the terrible infield dirt of the local softball fields, but it doesn't hurt much. Diving on nice outfield grass feels awesome if you do it properly and assuming quality grass, which every major league field has.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 24, 2019 at 08:34 PM (#5882746)
On Heyward, he made a catch in SF a couple of years ago
I pictured the exact catch you were talking about after reading only this.

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