Ever run into an old friend at the ballpark? It's not as much fun when you're trying to score a run and the friend is your third base coach.
But someday, Phillies slugger Hunter Pence and coach Juan Samuel will look back on their get-together at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night and laugh. Well, maybe not Samuel, who looked quite mad, like a human hornets nest that had been messed with, after Pence ran him over on the way home in the second inning of Atlanta's 6-3 victory. The Phillies have lost nine of their past 10 games and they're 14 games behind the Nationals, so there's not much for them to laugh about.
For those wondering if Pence should have been called out because he made contact with a coach — yes, that's in the rule book, and Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez questioned umpire Bob Davidson about it. But the rule is there only to prevent the coach from helping the runner. Clearly, Pence just ran into Samuel because someone messed up and Pence is generally awkward and maybe both. And umpires allow the base runner plenty of leeway when rounding third. There's almost no such thing as "out of the baseline" in that situation.
Still, it was someone's fault, and by the look on Juan Samuel's face, you probably know who he'd blame. Still, my rule of thumb is for the coach to make sure he doesn't get run over.
But don't tell Samuel that. He'll just give you The Look. Nobody wants that.
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