Check out the 10 most jaw-droppingly crazy slides from the 2017 season
We all know that an effective slide can be the difference between a player being out or safe. Not only does the baserunner have to reach the desired base, but he must also contend with outside factors such as a defender's tag or positioning. At times, he must also contend with imperfection -- an initial attempt that goes awry -- and recover from a misstep to reach his destination.
What follows are the most fun slides of the 2017 season. While not all of them achieved the runner's desired outcome -- safe at the base -- they all reveal humans using their athleticism and improvisational skills to interact with a defender committed to thwarting their efforts.
10. Ronald Torreyes avoided Jedd Gyorko's tag on a bloop double
Often on bloop hits, fortune favors the bold. When Torreyes hit a blooper that landed in shallow left field, he boldly tried for second base. Thanks to a swimming, corkscrew slide, fortune favored Torreyes. He later used his improved station to score and help the Yankees to a narrow 3-2 win over the Cardinals.
9. Alexi Amarista ended up with a mouth full of dirt
Not all fun slides end in success. Amarista learned that when he tried to stretch a double into a triple against the Cubs' defense. Thanks to an early slide, Amarista ended up with a taste of Coors Field dirt. Upon finishing his meal, Tommy La Stella's glove was waiting to wipe his face clean:
8. Alex Gordon tumbled into home
Gordon topped off a four-run eighth inning for the Royals with this rumbling, tumbling slide-stand combo. After coming around from first on a Whit Merrifield double, he couldn't decide whether to slide or run through home. In the end, he did a little bit of both.
7. Dee Gordon stole second base with his batting gloves in his mouth
It's probably not advisable to attempt a slide while one's batting gloves are dangling out of one's mouth. Gordon avoided that potential choking hazard and swiped second base for good measure.
6. Darwin Barney crawled into third base
Barney may have run out of gas on his way to third base in the final month of the regular season. At least that's what his manager, John Gibbons, suspected. Part of a fun slide is playing with the cards you're dealt. Barney was dealt a slide that put him a couple feet from third base. So, he extended it with some creative crawling and swimming moves.
5. Matt Joyce snuck past Doug Fister to touch home
After sliding into home on a Jed Lowrie double, Joyce thought he missed the plate. So, he played it cool, waited for Fister to let his guard down and crawled his way back to touch the plate. The sneakiness paid off, even though it probably wasn't necessary since it appeared that he touched home on his initial slide.
4. Josh Harrison stopped mid-slide
Harrison has developed a reputation for his ability to avoid tags with his slides, so the trickiest thing he could do was avoid a tag by pulling up in the middle of a slide. His hesitation move left Wilmer Difo reaching to tag something that wasn't there.
3. Brian McCann stopped on a dime and reached back
On a close play at the plate, the catcher expects the runner to slide. So, facing a close play, McCann deked Martin Maldonado by running right past home. He was only able to pull this off by stopping on a dime to execute a perfect reverse slide toward home. Now that's a crafty veteran move.
2. Merrifield's feet touched first on a head-first slide
Merrifield led the American League with 34 stolen bases in 2017 thanks to a combination of speed, good jumps and evasive maneuvers. The latter was on full display when he avoided Giovanny Urshela's tag with a head-first slide that ended with his right foot holding contact with second base.
1. Chris Coghlan hurdled Yadier Molina
Coghlan only scored seven runs in 2017, but didn't skimp on quality. With Molina perfectly positioned to tag him out about six feet from home plate, Coghlan attempted a tactic of last resort: jumping clear over the catcher and landing perfectly on home plate. He nailed the landing and the slide of the year.