June 30, 2014

Lay down that tag, and leave it on 'em

Let's analyze a tag play at second base that occurred in Sunday's game with the Dodgers.

Admittedly, I only caught the play, and the replay, and the replay, and the replay, and never noticed which players were involved, except that it was a Dodger sliding into second base and a Cardinal attempting a tag.

Doesn't matter for our purposes what else the play entailed.

While broadcasters Dan McLaughlin and Al Hrabosky reviewed many angles, all I kept seeing was a tag and then a pulling away of the tag. Meanwhile, the base runner broke contact with the base during the slide. (I'm kinda surprised Hrabosky didn't mention anything about the pull-away tag.) And to be clear, checking and speculating whether the base runner was safe or out would be higher priority from the broadcasting booth at that moment.

Granted, if a fielder is forced to dodge some spikes or a rather large base runner intent on a train wreck, you might give him some slack.

For tagging fielders: tag and keep applying the tag throughout the play, in case ... you already know ... the sliding base runner over-slides or simply breaks contact with the base.

The play in question, again, was at second base. Breaking the tag early seems to happen at third base at times, and occasionally at home plate, where players seem to be diving and falling and sliding and are generally on the edge of out of control on most plays. First baseman seem well conditioned to applying a tag and maintaining glove (with ball) to base runner.

If there's a recent Cardinals play or strategy to pick on or praise (with analysis), leave a comment.

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