The Houston Astros lost for the 100th time Tuesday night, reaching the century mark for the third straight season. The front office already has gone back to the drawing board, rebuilding the franchise from the bottom up with a revamped farm system.
That doesn't mean players on the major league squad don't have stuff to work on. Sliding, for example, proved tough for Jonathan Villar in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds. His team trailing by four runs already, Villar tried to stretch a single into two bases and failed — thanks to a strong throw from the outfield by Shin-Soo Choo, an unorthodox, back-facing, between-the-legs blind tag at second base by Brandon Phillips, and a bellyflop slide that ended with Villar's face nearly stuck up Phillips' tush.
Some are calling it the "Buttslide" and it certainly will be the top (and bottom) highlight in the Astros' video yearbook. Though the published quotes ignore the elephant booty in the room, Villar's slide seemed to be the talk of both clubhouses afterward. Via the Associated Press:
''That's the way I play,'' Villar said. ''I'm aggressive. I was trying to make something happen, motivate my team. It's hard to change because that's the way I've always played.''
Phillips said he wasn't trying to showboat, and he initially didn't realize that Villar was coming.
''The crowd let me know that he was coming to second base,'' Phillips said. ''I just had to quickly put the tag between my legs. That's the only reason I tagged him. If I didn't hear the crowd, I would have just caught it and looked around and he would have been safe.''
However, he probably could have tagged him in a less showy way.
''That's me,'' he said with a laugh. ''I do things off the wall, yes.''
Baker laughed when asked about the play.
''Ask Brandon,'' he said. ''I think he gets bored sometimes.''
Or, this time, gored.