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October 26, 2012

Wezen-Ball

Reminder: Prince Fielder Doesn't Know How to Slide

by Larry Granillo

The second inning of Game 2 of the 2012 World Series gave us all a little reminder of something that is all-too well-known to Brewers and Tigers fans: Prince Fielder does not know how to slide.

And he even admits it! From this past July:

“I just don’t know how to slide,” Fielder said after the game. “I’m trying to get there. I just want to be safe. So, however I can get there, I just try to get it done.”

It's debatable whether Fielder should have even been put in that situation last night—Prince is not the fastest guy to begin with; he wasn't prepared to head home during the play and, thus, was forced to slow down while re-adjusting his feet making the turn at third base; there were no outs and runners on second and third if he stopped at third—but the actual out at home was clearly due to Fielder's poor slide. If he had kept his leg flat on the dirt, or if he had slid in at a different angle, the tag from Buster Posey would have been too late and Detroit would have had an early 1-0 lead. The Tigers didn't lose the game on that play, but it most definitely did not help their cause.

But that's how it is when you're depending on Prince Fielder to get a good slide down. And if you don't believe that, here's a gallery from Dave Brown at Big League Stew showing just how truthful Fielder was being back in July.

14 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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flyingdutchman
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I cannot for the life of me understand what is going on at BP.

"It's debateable on whether Fielder should have even been put in that situation last night..."

How is it debateable? Ben Lindbergh was said something similar in his write-up today, too. It's actually kind of interesting. It seem to me that you guys are going overboard in trying to come off as even-handed...I don't know. Do you believe everything is debateable?

Second inning, scoreless, Prince Fielder running from first base. Sending him was beyond asinine.

I wish Joe Sheehan were still at BP.

Oct 26, 2012 10:27 AM
rating: -9
 
BP staff member Larry Granillo
BP staff

Fielder was out at the plate by mere inches and only because he doesn't slide well. If he had made a better slide - by either keeping his lead leg down or approaching from a different angle out of Posey's reach - he would have been plenty safe. And this after a good relay throw from the outfield grass and a great stretch-and-tag from Posey.

Considering that the play probably should have worked (since Prince beat the ball to the plate), I'd say using "debateable" is fine. If Prince was out by three steps or something, I'd think differently.

Oct 26, 2012 13:07 PM
 
flyingdutchman
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I don't know what else to say. It's the second inning. There's no one out, and it's an absolute rally-killer, that play. You don't play for one run in that situation by sending your rotund, glacial slugger, because you could very well kill a big inning. This is basic stuff, and it's usually pretty much a mantra around these parts.

I can't believe I'm arguing with a BP author about this. It's Prince Fielder. He had run almost a football field and was running in slow motion by the time he reached the plate.

What is your argument here? That maybe it would be a good decision (that is to say, it WOULD be debateable) if the worst base runner in the league were a better base runner and slider? Is this not (yet another) reason that there should be no debate? You think maybe it's in Gene Lamont's job description to know something about his players' abilities?

You need to be reasonably certain that he'll make it in that situation (again, no one out, second inning, slow base runner) if you send him. I don't know what the number is, 90% certain? 95% certain? I don't know. If Gene Lamont felt 90% certain, he's an idiot. If not, you don't send him. Either way, wrong decision.

But I suppose you win, since we're "debating" this. Would love to hear your thoughts on Intelligent Design.

I realize that I'm obnoxious here, but I'm a Tigers fan, and this annoys me to no end. You're just wrong, and it's annoying.

Oct 26, 2012 17:12 PM
rating: -8
 
SC

The argument here is that every human being on earth would likely be safe in that situation, Fielder included. That he was out was not because the 3b coach failed, or made a poor decision, it's because Fielder can't slide worth a damn.

While you may be sure Lamont is an "idiot" for being let's say 90% certain, based on the ball position, the fielder and Fielder, it was more than reasonable to expect him to be safe. He should have been safe.

But continue to excoriate BP staff because you're the only person who can predict the future with any effectiveness. Shame the Tigers haven't hired you, I can't imagine why they haven't.

Oct 26, 2012 21:49 PM
rating: 7
 
flyingdutchman

Again, I wish Joe Sheehan were still here. His write-up on this pretty much explains it. If you don't already subscribe to his email newsletter, I highly recommend it. Why do I get the feeling that if he had written the same opinion here on BP, no one would have stacked up logical fallacies in order to argue against him?

It was a stupid decision. The fact that Fielder might have been safe if things would have gone a little differently does not constitute a good argument, because you're not taking into account the cost versus the benefit. The fact that I'm having this "debate" with BP readers is really stunning.

I've seen Lamont do it all year long. He might be a Shakespeare scholar, and he might do differential calculus to kill time during rain delays, but as a third base coach he's terrible. It's not that tricky of a job.

Oct 29, 2012 09:22 AM
rating: -3
 
gweedoh565

I suspect someone smarter than me has already done this analysis, but, based on Run Expectancies (I'll abbreviate to RE) (http://www.tangotiger.net/re24.html):

DON'T SEND HIM scenario
-runners on 2nd, 3rd, 0 out= 2.050 RE

SEND HIM scenario
-if we assume a 90% chance of Prince scoring:
-scores (90%): (1{Prince's run} + 1.170{RE 2nd,0out} * 0.90 = 1.95
-doesn't score(10%): 0.721{RE 2nd,1out} * 0.1 = 0.07
-total RE: 1.95 + 0.07 = 2.02

I *think* it's safe to say 2.05 vs 2.02 RE is pretty debatable.

And, there are other factors in play: the back end of the Tiger's lineup (Peralta, Garcia, Laird) was due up, no doubt decreasing the RE, also it was a scoreless game at that point, so the value of scoring AT LEAST one run was higher (there are #'s on the linked RE page for that too, but this comment is already too long).

Oct 29, 2012 11:59 AM
rating: 1
 
gweedoh565

p.s. the threshold point in that situation is 92%. If Lamont was less than 92% sure that Fielder would have scored, the RE of holding him would have been greater than that of sending him (ignoring who was up or the game situation, etc.), and so he should have held him.

Oct 29, 2012 12:07 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Joe wasn't exactly infallible. He voted for Manny Ramirez to make the All Star team when he was suspended with PEDs because he, as a rule, always used past performance instead of current season totals to determine his votes.

Oct 29, 2012 12:26 PM
rating: 1
 
ScottyB

The Tiger out on teh pickoff/steal of second would have been saf with a non-sucky slide, as well. Details, Tigers coaching staff, details!

Oct 26, 2012 14:16 PM
rating: 0
 
Ric Size

If Prince Fielder is 10 pounds lighter, he's safe on that play.

Oct 27, 2012 06:19 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

So he was only a few cheeseburgers away from scoring the go-ahead run.

Oct 27, 2012 08:36 AM
rating: 0
 
Ric Size

We all make choices, and live with them.

Oct 27, 2012 09:51 AM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Ok, my turn to take a bit of an offense. Fielder tried to go vegetarian to lose weight and was lambasted in the media and by fans who saw an early season slump "suggesting" his diet was causing it.

We have a World Series with two portly players. Pablo Sandoval gets a neat little Kung Fu Panda nickname and though his weight gets blogged about every spring training, the discussion is almost "cute". It seems more vitrol gets thrown at Fielder.

Besides, just because someone is 10 lbs lighter doesn't automatically make them faster.

As a bit of an aside, Tim Lincecum this year was trying to get away from eating all the fast food he does and some suggest that's why he didn't do well this year because he was so thin and needed the extra weight.

Oct 28, 2012 10:08 AM
rating: -2
 
Ric Size

A few more points on that play. First of all it was a huge play, the Tigers needed that run badly. If they go on to lose the series, which seems likely, that will be a play everyone remembers.

Secondly, it was an outstanding call by home plate umpire, Dan Iassogna. He was in perfect position, and made the right call on a very close play. He also kept his cool when Prince Fielder was arguing the call face-to-face, and when Jim Leyland came out to dispute the call. He easily could have injected himself into the game's storyline by running Fielder. It was excellent umpiring to not do so.

Too often we only notice the umpires for their mistakes. It's only fair to give them credit when they get it right, because it is not an easy job.

Oct 27, 2012 10:09 AM
rating: 10
 
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<< Previous Article
The BP Wayback Machine... (10/26)
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Wezen-Ball: A Few Worl... (10/24)
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Wezen-Ball: World Seri... (10/31)
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Premium Article Collateral Damage Dail... (10/26)

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