Javier Baez shows off his years of intense training with another amazing slide to avoid the tag
Every great martial arts movie (meaning "Bloodsport" and the "3 Ninjas" catalogue) features training montages where the hero blindfolds himself to learn how to avoid contact by pure instinct. At this point, I'm guessing the Cubs' Javier Baez has put in similar work when it comes to his slides. How else can you describe what he did in the fourth inning of Chicago's 4-3 win over the Pirates on Saturday except the result of years of hard work in a blindfold?
Picked off first base, Baez was called out when he slid into second. Not surprising when that's what happens 99 times out of 100.
Of course, this is Baez, who used his years of training to deftly swim around the tag. Once reviewed on video, the call was overturned.
While the slide is nice, he somehow even ends with a couture pose as if he was selling a line of barely there linen shirts.
Baez's approach on the play was simple. "I just think if the ball beat me, I'm not going to give up and just let him tag me," he said.
Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer, who was on the other side of the play, told MLB.com's Adam Berry after the game:
"That was a pretty Matrix slide by him. I've seen it before -- Josh [Harrison] does it pretty well. I just whiffed on it, really. He just made a really good slide. He was able to hang on with his foot at the end, which is pretty incredible, too. What do you do, right? There's nothing you can do. He made a good slide."
Once back in the dugout, Hector Rondon either showed his appreciation or came down with a rare disease where he lost all control of his limbs. We're not exactly positive of which.
It's a reaction that Joe Maddon understands. He told MLB.com's Cody Stavenhagen after the game:
"You don't know (whether he is safe) because it's legs and arms and dirt and whatever … Incredible body control."
He then praised Baez for his aggressiveness on the play:
"I love risk-takers. When you see something, go for it. Don't tread lightly. You'll never win anything by approaching the game or anything like that. I love his musketeer-kind of attitude going about all of this."
It's not the first time Baez has done this either. Back in April, the Cubs infielder did almost the exact same thing. I promise that this is not from Saturday:
Of course, when he was back on field in the top of the sixth, Baez ranged deep into the hole to make a -- you guessed it -- sliding play before firing for the out. We can only assume he did this with his eyes closed, too. You know, just for the challenge.
And how does Baez's teammate David Ross feel about all of this?
"I don't understand it. Mine would be a belly roll if I tried to do that. Something would dislocate. The body control that you have to have to do that running full speed … I have no idea what that feels like."