Before Friday, Boston Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach had gone 464 games without attempting to steal a base — a length of time that qualified for an active MLB record and dated all the way back to the 31-year-old's big league debut in 2005.
Of course, once you see this highlight of Shoppach's first career steal — which took place during a 12-2 win over Tampa Bay in Boston's home opener — his reluctance to take to the basepaths becomes a lot easier to understand.
Watch as Shoppach somehow manages a feet-first slide into second base that ends with him diving head-first into the bag. (Really, you have to see it to believe it.)
Worst slide ever?
Yep, worst slide ever.
The good news, though, is that Shoppach was able to manage more than a few laughs out of his Boston teammates — Cody Ross described the catcher's move as "Wille Mays Hayes-ish" — as well as a few chuckles from himself. Shoppach had a huge day outside of his adventures on the basepaths, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI. He also called a fine game for Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, who pitched eight innings of one-run ball.
Afterward, Shoppach talked of his plans for the base like he was Rickey Henderson.
"It was awesome. I actually have already got a great idea of how I'm going to hang [the base] up," Shoppach said. "Still photo of me sliding, jumping, kissing the dirt, getting the bag up."
Shoppach said the theft was his first on the pro level since 2002, when he was a member of Boston's minor league system. Given that he may never receive another chance at a stolen base, we're glad he made the most of his only chance and got to second safely — by any means necessary.
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