KC Royals: Was Brett Lawrie Slide Into Escobar Really Dirty?

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Jun 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) tags out St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports


Along with the lost craft of sliding, today’s middle infielders don’t know how to protect themselves.

Guys like for KC Royals designated hitter Hal McRae, George Brett, and Kansas City Royals/Oakland Raiders legend Bo Jackson routinely slid hard into second base to break up the double play.

It was how the old school KC Royals played baseball.

Heck, Hal McRae used to cross body block middle infielders, hitting opponents with his shoulder or the side of his body.

Take a look at this play from the 1977 ALCS:

Thus, middle infielders practiced how to avoid collisions out of self-preservation.

Former Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg (he resigned Friday), who was a Hall-Of-Fame second baseman during his playing days for the Cubs, told Kurkjian:

"“I watch guys take ground balls, and for three days in a row, they don’t even work on making the double play [under fire]. We did that every day!” Bowa said. “Look, when Lou Brock came into the bag that hard, you had to learn to get the ball and get out of the way. You have to practice that. You had better have some diversity on your turns, or the runner will be right on you.”"

Kurkjian attributed the Lawrie/Escobar collision to the perfect storm of a base-runner that didn’t know how to slide, an infielder playing out of position due to a shift, and a ball hit in an awkward position.

I’m not so charitable. As I explain on the next slide:

Next: Why I Believe Brett Lawrie Knew What He Was Doing