The base: Approach at your own risk

"They were definitely softer when I first started," the so-called 'Sodfather' says. "But my father always complained that they didn't hold up as well, and that's why they were changed to the harder rubber. I'm not sure I would be in favor of a new base, especially if it means I'd have to go out there every few innings to reset them.

"But I get what you're saying about a safer base because I had this exact same discussion with Roland Hemond when he was our general manager in the '70s. He thought the bases were a hazard, too, and we talked about changing them. I also understand the concern about them being so slippery -- I have to paint them every day. Here's one solution for the manufacturers from an old groundskeeper: Put an adhesive on top and sprinkle it with white sand, the way painters sometimes do."

As for the worries of umpires that detachable bases might make their jobs more difficult, well, we do have this new thing called instant replay.

Actually, baseball has changed its bases for safety reasons before. According to "A Game of Inches," a seminal history of the game's innovations by Peter Morris, two injuries in an 1858 game between the Niagaras of Buffalo and the Flour Citys of Rochester led to the replacement of sand bags with hair bags.

But that was then. And this is now. The joint safety committee from MLB and the MLB Players Association should take a hard look at the hard base. New versions could be tried in the minor leagues, or, as MLB Medical Director Green suggests, in the Arizona Fall League.

"There's 0 percent that the bases can't be improved," says Rays general manager Andrew Friedman.

So let's go over that list of players who have been hurt because of "bags" again: Harper, Zimmerman, Napoli, Hamilton, Puig, Machado, Bourn, Pedroia, Simmons, Howard, Utley... Now, knock on wood, add such aggressive baserunners as Jose Reyes, Ian Kinsler, Jason Heyward, Trout and Springer. Think of all that money sitting on the DL, of all the WAR numbers subtracted from their clubs, of all the seats that might go empty if they're not playing.

The bases don't move.

Maybe baseball should.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 23658013. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 23658013.
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...