We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The NCAA women's softball (fastpitch) world series has been playing on ESPN. I believe there are a few games left and anyone interested in the topic of sliding into bases (or an interesting variant of the game) would do well to watch the ladies perform. You will see VERY agressive and highly skilled head-first sliding, particularly into HP.
They chose the head-first slide into HP because it allows them to come in behind the catcher who is blocking HP and reach out to touch the plate as they go past. Very effective, very athletic.
Keep in mind, however, that 1B and HP are the only bases where sliding beyond the base is OK. For some reason that is beyond my understanding, head-first sliding into 1B seems particularly prone to causing injury.
For 2B and 3B, where contact with the base must be maintained the feet-first, popup slide seems the most useful to me. The speedsters definitely seem to prefer head-first.
Sliding can and should be practiced but few people like to practice it. It causes pain and scratches and bruises and, if you really screw it up, embarrassment and even injury.
I heartily endorse watching the NCAA women's softball (fastpitch). It's great ball, and wises up some male chauvinists, like my Little League son. He no longer makes disparaging remarks about softball or women ball players.
Sliding head-first into first causes injuries because the base is raised - unlike homeplate. Lots of broken fingers and wrists. More painful because they are totally unnecessary as running through first base is just as fast.
With my daughterís softball team, we canít get them to stay in the base paths and run into defensive players blocking the bases Ė thus drawing interference calls. When I told my son (who prefers football) that he can run into players on the other team in his way, his eyes lit up.
While a head first slide into home plate may be faster it is ill-advised in hardball. At 2nd and 3rd the player covering the bag will try to avoid the slider while making the play. At home the catcher, wearing a chest protector and more importantly hard shin guards, will decidedly NOT avoid the head first slider. The result can easily be broken fingers, wrists, arms, and dislocated shoulders. Never slide head first into HP. Never slide into first, period.
And learn how to slide properly into 2nd, 3rd, and HP.
Oh, btw, most players think head first is faster because they never learned to slide spikes-first properly. There are several ways to slide feet first in a way that avoids tags. Head first is pretty much a belly flop and glide straight in. As a middle infielder I would relish someone coming in head first. Of course guys wore steel spikes then.
I repeat my suggestion that you should watch some women's fastpitch to see aggressive, successful, and probably SAFER sliding into HP head first. I assure you the catchers wear the same gear and block the plate the same way. The head first slide, when executed properly. allows the runner to AVOID the catcher's block completely.
The point is to go AROUND the catcher, not through the catcher like Pete Rose and many others. That's not a "head first slide", it is a body block hoping the catcher drops the ball when you launch him into next week.
One thing to consider with this, however, is that the 60 ft. bases in fastpitch mean that a runner coming around 3B and steaming home has a much deeper arc (rounded path) that the corresponding runner with 90 ft. bases.
Interesting to see so many at Maggie's enjoy the FP game.