Hustling Down The Line

Manny being manny

It seems today, more and more professional athletes are taking an easier approach to the game we all love, whether it is loafing to field a routine line drive, or taking a leisurely jog to first base on a groundout. What happened to hustling on every play and giving 110%, no matter what the situation? Or do athletes have the right to take it easy at times? On one side of the spectrum, players are paid to play day in and day out for the greater good of their team, while on the other side, Major League Baseball players are expected to play over 100 games in a season alone, so maybe taking it easy once in a while isn’t such a bad thing. Ted Williams, one of baseball’s all-time greats, was known for at times turning his back towards home plate while playing in the outfield, but this was overlooked when Williams would hit the cover off the ball when he came up to bat. As for Pete Rose, each time the all-time record holder for hits was walked, Rose would drop his bat and sprint to first base. The question is, did either of these help or hurt their teams in any way? In retrospect, Williams working on his swing while playing defense, probably did help his team in the long run. As for Rose, sprinting to first base after a walk most likely did not, and the only good that may have come from this was that he had drawn a walk. In either case its apparent that both players had talent, but which would you rather have on your team, the player with talent or the player who gave it their all on each play? Obviously, both. As for Charlie Manuel, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, he made it clear he wanted the hustle, after benching shortstop Jimmy Rollins, for not hustling down the line on a routine groundout, while others played off the antics of Manny Ramirez, including holding up signs, and going inside the green monster during a pitching change, as just Manny being Manny, as he often delievered when he came to bat. As for myself, I want the player who will give it their all on every play, every night, every season. Though sprinting to first after a walk, or hustling down the line on a routine ground ball, may not help, I feel as though in more times than not it’s for the greater good of the team. To be honest, the player hustling down the line on what is clearly just another groundout, or sprinting to first after a walk, or even the player who dives for a ball dropping in the outfield, nine times out of ten is not going to work out the way you hope. The player hustling down the line may still be thrown out, the walked batter may get stranded on the basepaths, and the player diving for a ball hit into the outfield may come up short, but what does that say to the rest of the team? It says that they gave it their all and though they may have come up short and it was all for not, at least they know at the end of the day there were no regrets. As we have all seen in recent years, especially in baseball, the difference in a team going to the playoffs and the team whose season is over, can easily come down to just one run, one win, or one play. Who is to say that the one time that player hustled to first on a ground ball, the defender didn’t overthrow the first baseman, or bobble the ball causing the player to still get on, or sprinting to first on a walk, didn’t motivate the team to rally behind their player for the start of a big inning, or even the player who dove out for a ball didn’t come up with an amazing catch, causing a swing in momentum that would ultimately win them the ballgame. While the majority of the time it may not make a difference, why not give it your all and hope that this one time it will? That is how I feel, how about you, what do you think? Maybe you agree, or maybe you believe players do have the right to take it easy every once in a while, as long as it doesnt become a habit. Join in and tell us all just how you feel.

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