Simmons slides late, and the already cranky Nats get miffed

The ball is already out of Yunel Escobar's glove, and Andrelton Simmons still isn't on the ground. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

The ball is already out of Yunel Escobar’s glove, and Andrelton Simmons still isn’t on the ground. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

The ball is already out of Yunel Escobar's glove, and Andrelton Simmons still isn't on the ground. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

The ball is out of Yunel Escobar’s glove, and Andrelton Simmons still isn’t on the ground. (John Bazemore/AP photo)

They’d lost a sixth game in succession and looked awful doing it, so the Washington Nationals scarcely needed a reason to be upset. They found one anyway.

Andrelton Simmons’ fifth-inning sliding kick — or kicking slide, depending on your perspective — that dislodged the ball from third baseman Yunel Escobar’s glove and removed several hunks of skin from the former Brave’s left hand left the Nats in a snit. Never mind that they lost 8-4 to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field to fall to 7-13 and eight games out of first place. Never mind that they made four errors. The team projected by many as baseball’s best sat in its clubhouse Monday night filled with what the Nats deemed righteous indignation.

Said Bryce Harper: “Andrelton plays with a lot of energy, but that was a B.S. play. That slide was definitely uncalled for.”

Said Ian Desmond: “He really didn’t slide at all. It was a pretty ugly slide. You’ve got to be way smarter than that. There’s a right way to play the game, and that’s not the right way.”

Said manager Matt Williams, who was demonstrably angry when checking on Escobar, who was removed from the game: “My initial reaction was that (Escobar) was pretty cut up.”

Did Williams believe the slide was clean? “I’m not going to comment on that,” he said, although the look on his face was comment enough.

Said Dan Uggla, now a Nat but once Simmons’ teammate: “Look at the facts. One of our guys got hurt. You can call it a late slide, a clean slide, a dirty slide — who’s to say what’s what? … It’s unfortunate the way it happened.”

Simmons would say afterward that he expected to be plunked on his next at-bat, and sure enough … Rafael Martin hit Simmons with a pitch as the shortstop led off the seventh, prompting the Braves’ Jonny Gomes — who wasn’t even playing — to be ejected for stepping out of the dugout in protest. (Freddie Freeman had been tossed earlier for disputing a checked-swing strikeout. It was that sort of night.)

Said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez of the play in question: “It was a late slide. I was worried about Simmons getting hurt. But there was nothing malicious about it.”

Later Desmond would break up a double play by taking out Jace Peterson. Williams saw that as an example of his team playing, to borrow Desmond’s phrase, the right way. “The slide into second base by Dezzie is clean,” Williams said.

This was the first of a three-game set, the first of 19 meetings between the teams that have won the past three National League East titles. With the Nats buying Max Scherzer and spending twice as much on payroll this season as the downsized Braves, the rivalry figured to cool this season. We all might want to rethink that one.

Here are two views of the slide:

Slide3

Simmons slide

From myajc: The touted Nats gaze upward at the Braves.

Reader Comments 4

71 comments
Bogey
Bogey

Baseball has interesting "unwritten" rules.  If Simmons went into 2nd base the same way, it would be considered OK.  Fact of the matter is Yunel was straddling the bag and Simmons had no clear path....actually the safest path was right down the middle (otherwise would've slid into either ankle, and a broken ankle would've been lots worse than a cut on the hand).  If that had been decades ago and it was Ty Cobb sliding, Yunel would've had a broken jaw.


They plunked Andrelton the next time up....case closed.  And Bryce Harper commenting on anyone not playing the game the right way is quite laughable.

RangeRover
RangeRover

There's not a doubt in my mind that Simmons intentionally meant to dislodge that ball from Escobar's glove thus the late, high slide.  Frankly, it was an excellent strategy that worked as planned.

Likewise, there's not a doubt in my mind that Simmons in any way willfully intended to hurt Escobar...it just happened.  Had Escobar thought otherwise he'd have been all over Simmons.

And Harper just needs a good slap in the chops every day...such an whiney, unlikable dude.

58Supersports
58Supersports

Thanks Mark for pictures and info... Nationals not what they believed they would be and making excuses... Go Braves and kick A@@ Jonny, love it.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Like I am going to lose sleep over what the Nats think....

NormanWhite
NormanWhite

I guess Bryce Harper knows a thing or two about BS, doesn't he?

oledawg
oledawg

Apparently Simba (aka The New Georgia Peach) for got to say "May I."  Come on people...please stop the wussification of our country and our sports! 

unbridled
unbridled

Nothing wrong with the slide.  Simmons slide was directly to the bag.  Hard slide, yes, but he wasn't going after Escobar.


John Hirshbeck , tossing Freddie:

Another example of a long-time umpire who has a huge ego.  Sad.  Good umpires, you don't even notice during the game.  The Hirschbeck's, Joe West s, Angel Hernandez, Bruce Freomings..The super arrogant ego guys think they are the game.  Hirschbeck not only got the call wrong, he tossed Freeman, and used the F-bomb.  Guys like him are no credit to baseball. 

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Everything tick off the Nats, they think they are above everyone. Pout on Harper Pout on Nats. Pay everyone the same salary like a normal job we work with chance to advance to a top pay and cut out a lot of these self made egos.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

I freakin love Gomes man, they better shut their traps up or JG might have to put the hurt on somebody!!


GO BRAVES

SeanLB
SeanLB

Just more of the Expos being the Expos...nothing to see here.  

tmc
tmc

i don't see the "dirty" side of the play the Nats are talking about. It was a late slide, but a late slide is not dirty. It's rough, but he did not raise his cleats high or go after a body part with his cleats. In any close play where a slide is involved, you should try and dislodge the ball from the glove. That's baseball.

Btw, the check swing by Freddie Freeman was not a swing and complete joke to be called a strike. That ump should be repremanded for that horrible call.

Terrytime
Terrytime

Esobar didn't play the play correctly...wah wah wah  wahsington...lol.......haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Terrytime
Terrytime

wah wah wah Washington..lol...not a dirty play at all! wah wah wah Washington..lol.....ha ha ha ha ha..Go Braves! pluck BH tonight, the right way...wah wah wah Washington...lol......

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

Lets hope everyone keeps beating the Nats before that pitching of theirs gets going, as it will at some point. If we can push them far enough down until then it won't matter.

Acworthdon
Acworthdon

I played in the 40's and 50's and we didn't have video replays so it is interesting to be able to see the "play" over and over again. The way I see it is the 3rd baseman set himself up to guard the bag and tag the runner before he could touch the base. That's okay! However, he must be ready for whatever happens if the runner comes right at him. The slide..."late" well maybe but he can do that and he made no effort to kick at the ball or the player...so... no problem with me on that.  The call, well what happened happened!  That's the game. Oh, one other thing... the announcers are all commenting about the new speed of the game and that it is about the same....well... I suggest  the stupid time wasted to review several plays a game on strikes, etc. etc.  Gee whiz....we were able to live with no replays for all of baseball until now... soon we'll have 3 hour games again and load up on the drinks and food courts cause we'll need them!


reckingball
reckingball

All that whining and crying by the Notionals, is that what they call Natitude?

reckingball
reckingball

/That slide by Simmons brings back to mind, Deion Sanders slides when he was a Brave, which were the exact opposite. 

Neon would start his slide about fifteen feet from the base and had lost almost all momentum by the time he got there, happened many, many times.

odelljones
odelljones

The Nationals are a bunch of whiners not winners....

CouchPotato
CouchPotato

Personally, I enjoy the heck out of watching the Nationals self implode!!!  Do it some more little boys


#Natitude by butt

reckingball
reckingball

It was a late slide and could have resulted in an injury to Simmons, but it didn't. He did not kick it out of Excobar's glove.

Nat's plucking of Simmons resulted in a Braves run, would have been funny if the Braves had won by one run.

reckingball
reckingball

Yunel proved that he had a low IQ while he was in the Braves organization, but he should have at least learned not to stand over the bag on a play such as that one, by this point in his career.

Hammerman
Hammerman

I like our chances in a brawl,now that AJ,Gomes,and Grilli are on the team.The Nats are nothing but a collection of over hyped bitchboys that think everyone should lay down for them.They are more concerned with payback than being 8 games back already.GO BRAVES!

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

Bryce Harper criticizing somebody else's 'style of play'? That's gotta be the the most ludicrous of all. The little punk does something every game that a Bob Gibson would have 'put one in his ear for'. There was nothing dirty about the slide. In fact, it may have been a perfect slide...the glove was, virtually, on the bag and so was the slide...right into the glove. That's baseball, dammit.

On the negative side, I don't get the fans booing Dan Uggla. Yeah, he didn't do what we, and he, wanted him to do here, and he certainly didn't earn the money the Braves paid him (and are still paying him), but it wasn't for his lack of effort. The guy was a great teammate, enjoyed being a Brave, and unlike so many of the Braves players and management, didn't buy a home OTP...he lived in a Buckhead Condo and loved the City. He should have been applauded.

CouchPotato
CouchPotato

@DirtyDawg  Very much agree on Uggla - I can only hope the boos were because fans were upset the Braves are paying for him to play for the Nats - but I doubt it.  The guy gave 100% while here and kept his mouth shut during his epic collapse.  Gotta respect that

LegalBeagle3
LegalBeagle3

@tmc @DirtyDawg This mentality is why Atl sports suck--fans don't hold underperforming players accountable.  Guys come here to collect their big payday and stop trying and caring bc they know we the fans will go easy on them.  Red Sox nation would have burnt his house down for such clownery!! And before you ask "how do we know we wasn't trying?" I would simply say the proof is in the pudding.  Freaking Rafeal Belliard was a more productive hitter for Atlanta!  I mean seriously..we should applaud the idiot for buying a condo in Buckhead with the money he stole from the Braves?!?!?  Good lord!!

LegalBeagle3
LegalBeagle3

@NormanWhite @CarrollSanders @tmc @DirtyDawg More "inane" than saying we should cheer one of the worst players in franchise history bc he purchased a Buckhead condo?!?! Not to mention the fact that he basically pushed one of the better players we had (Martin Prado) out of position and eventually off the team.  And dude its called hyperbole...google it.  But if you don't believe players up north have extra motivation to win the adoration of die-hard fans and to avoid their wrath, you're seriously naive.

tmc
tmc

@DirtyDawg agree on the Uggla comments. The fans should be boing the Braves front office cause it was Wren's (and teflon john schuerholz) decision to sign him to a huge extension. Not Dan's.

NormanWhite
NormanWhite

@CarrollSanders @tmc @DirtyDawg Mr. Sanders, that is possibly the most inane comment I've read in quite some time.  How does the average fan hold an underperforming player "accountable?"  And no one in the Red Sox nation or any other sane nation, would have "burnt his house down for such clownery."  You need to take a chill pill, it's just baseball, not life. 

someonesdad
someonesdad

That's a good way to break an ankle.

sbreslin
sbreslin

Yunel Escobar wants to comment on someone playing dirty? Now I've heard everything.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@Hot_Harley_guy He's a silly little B___ troll people...leave him alone and he will go away like he did last year

Kaytee
Kaytee

Boys, Boys, Boys!

ElStinko
ElStinko

When a player stands across a base to make a tag then he should expect just want Escobar got. 

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

It was clean, hard baseball. The slide was late, but it was directly into the glove. No raised cleats. Escobar is OK. No broken bones. Maybe the Nats will retaliate and it will fire up the Braves.

forexbomb
forexbomb

Good win for the Braves...  Keep it up guys...

Joe Tess' Mom
Joe Tess' Mom

Would it have been a "good/clean slide" if Simmons was on the receiving end?? I don't think so, we would have been pissed as well. Now, let's go swat the (g)Nats again tonight!!


Go Braves!!

We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again
We_Will_Get_Fooled_Again

Hey, Nats, here's an idea: Instead of making yourselves the self-appointed arbiters of baseball morality, perhaps you should worry about fixing your historically bad defense, which could very well keep your all-world pitching staff out of the postseason. In case you haven't noticed, you're already 8 games behind a Mets team that looks for real. I might concentrate more on that than whether or not the Braves "play the right way" according to your arbitrary standards.

Buckhead Vol
Buckhead Vol

Nats: whining losers.


Fredi: doesn't support his players.  Fans don't believe in him.  Ump's don't respect him.


Braves: something like this incident may inspire them.

GT71
GT71

@Buckhead Vol  Or inspire the Nats...but who gives a rat's patootie about how any Nat feels.  Just plunk Harper tonight - an old-style Bob Gibson ear-hole shot will do.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

@Buckhead Vol Just shut up already with the Fredi crap dude, I bet you're one of the idiots on here who somehow thinks Bobby Cox can't coach either.  Keep your negative crap and go away buckhead troll.


I believe in Fredi G so dont speak for us all DB!

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  1. […] plays with a lot of energy, but that was a B.S. play,” said Yankees and Cowboys fan Bryce Harper, the Kardashian of ballplayers. “That slide was […]