Manager Ron Washington has spoken with Hamilton about diving into first.
"Just keep telling him not to do it," Washington says. "When a guy smells a hit, he reacts. Yes, we want him to stop doing it. But if he does it, I'm not going to pull him out of the game. I just hope he doesn't get hurt.
"We do tell him to stop doing it. We don't need him to lose a finger. But when you're competing and you're smelling things, you do what you've got to do."
Washington recalls that he once threatened Hamilton with the notion of being benched for a game if he didn't stop with the the diving.
"Didn't work," Washington says.
The skipper says he threatens Hamilton often.
"Every day," Washington says. "Stop the diving into first base. But when he smells a hit, that's what he does. 'I'm just playing the game, Skip.'...
"There's a lot of poundage hitting the ground at first base. ... When you smell a hit, that's what you do. Do what you've got to do."
There is some scientific evidence to suggest that head-first slides MIGHT be faster than feet-first slides (convincing, I know), which is countered by some studies that say that there is a negligible difference between the two methods. Whatever. The most interesting thing on that first link, though, is this:
Peters notes a growing number of players who will slide into first base, despite conventional wisdom that running through first is the faster way.
“Mathematically, you might think there’s an advantage, but leaving your feet is actually a detriment because you’re no longer pulsing (pumping your legs) and you start to decelerate,” he says. “When you’re running, your get your feet out in front of the center of gravity, so you’re getting maybe three or four steps of an advantage.”
Peters says the only advantage of any slide into first base is to avoid the first baseman’s tag when he has to come off the base to spear an errant throw.
“In general, most agree to run through first, but you’ll find people who will swear it’s better to do it the other way.”
I know, I know, this is the age of "doing whatever it takes" and letting your natural instincts take over and blah blah blah. Just because you're doing whatever you think is necessary to gain an advantage doesn't mean that it's a good idea, though.
It's all fun and games until he breaks himself again doing this, right?