The "Human Highlight Film" nickname that once belonged to NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins may need to come out of retirement. Cincinnati Reds rookie Billy Hamilton is staking his claim to assume that title on an almost nightly basis, and if so given threatens to take it to all new heights.
That's not hype. That's not overstating his speed, quickness or athleticism. That's just truth. And if you don't believe it, perhaps you should check out his slick baserunning move on Friday night that turned an easy out into a scintillating bunt single.
It happened on the first pitch Hamilton saw leading off the first inning. Hamilton's gameplan was to push the bunt past Pittsburgh's left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke on the first base side, which he was able to do. However, he bunted the ball way too hard, which allowed first baseman Gaby Sanchez to scoop it up and run to the line for an easy tag.
Well, easy tag with just about anyone else running. Hamilton, understanding he's dead to rights if he runs straight through, put on the brakes, which allowed Sanchez's momentum to carry him by. Then, with a quick jump to the left, Hamilton was able to avoid the tag and make a lunge to the bag.
It didn't seem possible four months ago, but Hamilton has managed to surpass the incredible hype that built up ahead of his MLB debut. Granted, his career is still young, but he's already established himself as one of the most entertaining players to watch on a nightly basis. And believe it or not, his production is at least on par with his entertainment value.
After going 3-for-5 in Cincinnati's 6-5 win on Friday, Hamilton is hitting .285/.318/.424 with 29 extra-base hits in his first 88 games. Numbers the Reds have to be overjoyed with. Of course, he's also used his speed to steal 37, which has made him a nuisance to opponents in every way.
It's really a shame we won't see him at Tuesday's All-Star game. Quite frankly, it's a shame the league hasn't come up with any kind of event that features the more athletic type players, because Hamilton would be more than capable of stealing the show if given an opportunity.
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