The always delightful Jim Souhan penned an article in the Star Tribune today about Nick Punto’s affinity for sliding into first base. Head first. First off, Souhan compares this to some sort of drug addiction, which probably isn’t cool. However, I’m not here to critique Souhan’s writing ability. I’m here to discuss why Punto slides into first. The answer is simple: he is an idiot.
Punto isn’t so sure. “For some reason, I think it’s faster,” he said. “For all the people who have told me it’s not, I still think it is.What does that even mean. He has had experts from two different organizations show him on a watch that it is faster to run through the base. How on earth does he think its faster when science tells him otherwise. Does he not believe in dinosaurs either? Maybe him and Carl Everett should hang out and burn people at the stake or something.
For those of you who can still put up with Rick Riley, he wrote a pretty standard puff piece today about role models. The basic premise was athletes are role models to young people even if they don’t want to be. Punto is setting a bad example for little leaguers. Most young people probably look up to Nick Punto because he isn’t the biggest guy on the team, but he tries really hard. Or some such nonsense that children believe. Can you imagine a team from Minnesota in the Little League World Series, and all the players are sliding head first into first base? Our state would be the laughingstock of the country, not only have we had a pro wrassler as a governor, Stuart Smalley (probably the most unfunny character in SNL history, but that is neither here nor there) as a (potential) US Senator, and a bunch of kids who think sliding into first base is faster. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live with that.
Punto’s coaches have tried to get him to stop. To no avail. I don’t care if this act gives off the appearance of his trying harder. Plain and simple it just isn’t a good way to do things. So we have determined its slower. That isn’t up for debate. However, Punto “firmly believes” it is faster.
So not only does he choose to do something that is slower than the mainstream method, it is much riskier. If he were to catch him thumb on the bag, he could easily dislocate his shoulder. In fact, it happened to Nick Punto, Jr. (Matt Tolbert) last season. It also happened to Glenn Williams a few years back.
Is there anyone out there who likes that Punto does this? It doesn’t mean he is “trying harder”. If it were faster, Mr. Punto, why are you the only one who does it? There are many things about Punto that infuriate me. But two stand out. 1) Casual (and sometimes serious) fans’ irrational love for him despite his being a sub-par baseball player. 2) Sliding into first base. 2a) would probably be: Not only does he slide into first base but he is convinced it is the right thing to do. That is just being ignorant. Maybe one of the team leaders like Cuddyer or Mauer can address it in a serious fashion. It seems like everyone says “that is just Nicky, nothing we can do to change it”. I say fine his ass in kangaroo court (or with a legitimate team fine) every time he does it. Hopefully that will teach him.
Sorry for the rant, but it needed to be said.8 comments