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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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

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.

“I don’t wanna say ‘hurt.’ It feels like … backyard football? You ever play backyard football? It just feels like playing backyard football,” Maybin said.

But I don’t play backyard football. Not at 29 years old.

“When you think that, your feet are on hard ground. You’re not really thinking about the grass. You’re not diving in here, you’re on grass,” Maybin explained from Yankee Stadium’s carpeted clubhouse.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 09:17 AM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: kevin kiermaier

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 14, 2020 at 09:27 AM (#5982936)
Eric Hinske had one with the Red Sox that included a full on face plant. I can't find video of it anywhere but man, it was sensational. I don't know how he didn't break his nose.
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 14, 2020 at 10:27 AM (#5982948)
Diving on AstroTurf always seemed particularly insane to me.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2020 at 10:32 AM (#5982952)
From my experience, they don't. Obviously if you land wrong they can, but a straightforward diving catch is pretty painless. Honestly, it was my favorite thing to do on a baseball field.

   4. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: October 14, 2020 at 10:54 AM (#5982957)
Since it's Arozarena time, here's one that doesn't look fun.
   5. salvomania Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:05 AM (#5982958)
When I was a kid we used to throw long tosses to each other designed to make the other guy have to make a diving or leaping catch. As I recall we would do this for quite a while and I don't ever remember it hurting.

If I were to do the same thing today somehow I don't think that would be the case.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:10 AM (#5982960)
If I were to do the same thing today somehow I don't think that would be the case.


Undoubtedly. I assume most MLBers don't have that issue, though I imagine that guys in the mid to late 30s probably begin to feel it.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5982961)
I don't think it would hurt, but I can't imagine anyone sane diving onto those concrete floors in multi-purpose stadiums of the 1970/80s.
   8. Rally Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:15 AM (#5982962)
Undoubtedly. I assume most MLBers don't have that issue, though I imagine that guys in the mid to late 30s probably begin to feel it.


Maybe, but they are probably OK on this as long as they stay in practice. If I tried to do a diving catch that I could have done 30 years ago my body is completely out of practice and unprepared for that. So I would end up doing something wrong, and that is what's going to lead to hurt.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:18 AM (#5982966)
Maybe, but they are probably OK on this as long as they stay in practice. If I tried to do a diving catch that I could have done 30 years ago my body is completely out of practice and unprepared for that. So I would end up doing something wrong, and that is what's going to lead to hurt.


I think the older players could avoid injury (unlike you or I), but I wouldn't be surprised if they feel it in a way they didn't when they were 22.
   10. Astroenteritis Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:19 AM (#5982967)
Like others here, my favorite thing when we were kids was hitting fly balls to each other and making the occasional diving catch. It never hurt, it was fun. Of course I was the very definition of all glove, no bat, so I had to catch everything.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:20 AM (#5982969)
Not at 29 years old.
29? Yeah, just wait.
   12. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:48 AM (#5982982)
Diving on AstroTurf always seemed particularly insane to me.


That new field turf looks nice but is brutal as well. I was playing goalie while my son kicked penalty shots the other day, and just kneeling quickly, not even diving, skinned my knee. Of course, the skin on my knees is about one cell thick from years of playing softball, so maybe that had more to do with it.
   13. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5982984)
And I'll echo others - my favorite part of baseball practice was live BP on the back field my freshman year (we didn't get to use the cages). Not so much because I enjoyed hitting, but because I loved shagging balls in the outfield where I could dive all over the place. There might have been some skinned elbows depending on the quality of grass, but it didn't hurt otherwise.
   14. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:54 AM (#5982985)
The worst case scenario is Eric Davis lacerating his kidney diving for a sinking line drive in the World Series. It was fortunate that was the final game of the series because he would not have been able to continue. We're actually less than a week away from the 30th anniversary of that game.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 12:16 PM (#5982992)

Yeah, I think as a player you develop a technique for doing this and 90% of the time it hurts a bit but you just get up and dust yourself off. And every once in a while you dive awkwardly and it really hurts.

I'm always impressed, however, when players full-on dive into the stands in an MLB or NBA game. That looks like it could really hurt.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 14, 2020 at 12:20 PM (#5982994)
Has a fan ever been injured by an NBA player diving? Most of those guys are huge, and the courtside seats offer no protection.
   17. asinwreck Posted: October 14, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5982996)
We went 16 comments in without this? Really?
   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5982997)
It happened in Cleveland a few years ago, the fan went to the hospital but it doesn't sound like she was seriously injured.
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 14, 2020 at 02:07 PM (#5983010)
My recollection may be flawed, or perhaps there just wasn’t enough baseball on TV back then, but when I started paying attention to baseball, the state-of-the-art defensive play for outfielders was the shoestring catch. They weren’t diving all over the place back then, or at least that’s my recollection. Could be due to better athletes these days, or higher expectations & motivation for multi-millionaire employees than the working stiffs of yore. Maybe both.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2020 at 02:16 PM (#5983011)
My recollection may be flawed, or perhaps there just wasn’t enough baseball on TV back then, but when I started paying attention to baseball, the state-of-the-art defensive play for outfielders was the shoestring catch.


The shoestring catch is a vastly better play to the most overrated (and typically counterproductive*) defensive play, the sliding catch.

* The exception being when the player is sliding to avoid contact, with a wall or another defender.
   21. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 14, 2020 at 02:19 PM (#5983013)
When I was a kid we used to throw long tosses to each other designed to make the other guy have to make a diving or leaping catch. As I recall we would do this for quite a while and I don't ever remember it hurting.
My brother and I did the same thing, and we both got very good at diving. I also got good at the Robby Alomar kick-slide-and-pick move where you popped back up ready to throw. For most of my life, all of that was relatively painless, and fun when done right.

I distinctly remember the first time there was a ground ball that I didn't instinctively dive for because I knew it would hurt. It was a heartbreaking realization. I hate getting old.
   22. Lassus Posted: October 14, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5983019)
The big five-oh. Welcome to the next stage of life. The best stage of life. It only gets better. I'm seven months short of 60 and can't wait.
Some imbecile someone quoted on my FB feed. I have no idea WTF these people are talking about.
   23. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 14, 2020 at 03:29 PM (#5983022)
Every day is a day closer to death. And after a while you start wishing it would hurry up already.

But yes, diving for fly balls is fun when you're 22 and invincible.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: October 14, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5983026)
To an extent, I think we are confusing the sliding catch from the true diving catch. The true diving catch is when you launch yourself, full speed, parallel to the ground to catch the ball. At that point there's nothing to do but belly flop onto the ground. That hurts.

Dave Martinez once broke his leg making a diving catch on the old Expos turf ... and the end result was a Dawson ITPHR because eventually the ball trickled out of his glove. (Rules have changed since I believe.)
   25. Ron J Posted: October 14, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5983027)
#21 I know what you mean. I can recall the first time I realized that I was going to go the long way rather than jumping down from a modest height. Sigh.

Not sure how much of my current financial situation I'd give back to have the body I had when I was young and not making much money.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: October 14, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5983030)
To an extent, I think we are confusing the sliding catch from the true diving catch.


I'm not, and it doesn't sound like anyone else is. A diving catch is a wonderful thing, both to watch and to do (and, no it didn't hurt when I did it, though that was all before turning 20.

A sliding catch is usually dumber than sliding into first base.
   27. bunyon Posted: October 14, 2020 at 05:31 PM (#5983037)
A diving catch doesn’t hurt.

A diving miss hurts like hell.
   28. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 05:34 PM (#5983038)
To an extent, I think we are confusing the sliding catch from the true diving catch.


I was not. Diving catches are incredibly fun, and weren't painful until a several years ago when I got way out of shape (I'm 38). I will still attempt them in slow-pitch softball, though I feel like they're more crouch-and-extend moves rather than true dives any more, since I've lost all of the speed and grace I ever had (which wasn't much).

If you're diving full-out on dirt or on a non-grassy surface, yes, that can hurt. But if it's decent grass and you're not old and fat and broken like me, it's not painful if you do it properly.
   29. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 05:45 PM (#5983039)
Looking back at the excerpt, I don't understand this line:

But I don’t play backyard football. Not at 29 years old.


First, is "backyard football" a defined thing beyond just, you know, football in the backyard? Does it mean playing tackle football with friends and family in a non-formal setting? My friends and family and I still play football (again, I'm 38), but we play touch or flag. However, I definitely will lay out for a catch if the opportunity presents itself. It does hurt now, but didn't 10 years ago when I was the authors' age.

I'm just struggling to find the analogy between diving and backyard football. Does it mean getting tackled without pads? Because I played some un-padded tackle football in college, but haven't since and definitely would not now. But that seems to be much riskier on a pain scale than a non-contact dive onto the ground.

If "backyard football" is just referring to touch/flag football, I'm really confused as to why the author would think that 29 is too old for that. Heck, my Dad is 61 and we went to throw the frisbee around with my kids last weekend and he was diving to catch it along with the rest of us. Although maybe all that's telling me is that the impulse to dive for a moving object is an inherited genetic mutation.
   30. Ron J Posted: October 14, 2020 at 06:06 PM (#5983043)
#29 No lie. When I was in my teens we played tackle football on concrete.

It makes me hurt to think about playing football now.
   31. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 14, 2020 at 06:07 PM (#5983044)
It's a strange premise for an article. As many posters above, the point of a lot of the games we played as kids was to make the best diving catch you could. So no, it never really hurt.

Now I'm 55 and I'm sure if I tried to lay flat out and snare one just out of reach, yeah that would sting a bit. Of course the recovery period would be like 3-4 weeks because when you get old, the issue is not that everything hurts, it's that when you do injure something, it seems to take forever to recover.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 14, 2020 at 06:18 PM (#5983046)
A sliding catch is usually dumber than sliding into first base.
Both have been reported to cause diarrhea. When you're sliding for a catch, and the smell just makes you retch...
   33. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 06:45 PM (#5983052)

Has anyone laid out for a catch at the annual BBTF softball game? I can't remember it happening at the 2 or 3 games that I attended.
   34. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 14, 2020 at 07:58 PM (#5983070)
#29 No lie. When I was in my teens we played tackle football on concrete.


I never did that - we always played on grass - but I did play a ton of roller hockey on concrete without pads. I left a lot of skin in that Church of Latter Day Saints parking lot.
   35. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:24 PM (#5983083)
Has anyone laid out for a catch at the annual BBTF softball game?
Does tripping over one’s own feet count?
   36. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 14, 2020 at 11:43 PM (#5983084)
I remember when I was around 27 years old I doing a full out, parallel-to-the-ground, diving catch on a sinking liner that was fading away from me...during a softball game between insurance companies.
It was easily the greatest defensive play of my entire life, and I didn't feel a damn thing when I slammed into the ground. I popped up immediately and threw it back to the infield.

Twenty plus years later, I can pinpoint the different joints/bones in my body that would ache for a day or two (or possibly tear/crack) if I tried something like that again.

I mean, I cringe at the pain I would feel if I did something like what Jonathan Davis did in 2019. He landed on the warning track. There is no give there.

As Trent Thornton can be seen saying at the end of the video, "Holy ####!".
   37. TJ Posted: October 15, 2020 at 07:41 AM (#5983089)
Did a lot of diving back in my playing days, and all I can say is A. Dives done poorly hurt immediately and B. Dives done well didn’t hurt until the next day...but they all were fun in the moment.

Still feel the cumulative effects at times today. When my wife asks why I did them, I reply, “Seemed like a good idea at the time.”
   38. Belfry Bob Posted: October 15, 2020 at 09:45 AM (#5983096)
After the pounding of high school and college football, countless volleyball dives, and decades of hardtop basketball, at 67 it hurts getting out of a beanbag chair. I live vicariously through those guys flying all over the place, and I wish it were still me. Good times, good times.

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