Playing the game the right way.


I was watching the Giants and Dodgers play on Wednesday night and rookie Rajai Davis did something in the game that used to be commonplace: HUSTLE.

What made it even worse is that everybody I was watching the game with and the broadcasters noticed it. His hustle going from second to third and rounding third base so hard, looking like he might go home, stood out like a sore thumb. Shame on us!

Has our level of accepted lack of hustle fallen so much that a rookie made people take notice by doing what used to be the norm? Ernie Harwell, the Hall of Fame broadcaster once said to me "Harold, a good umpire is like a good driver in traffic. You never notice he’s there."

The year was 1975. I was in the eighth grade and just starting to really get into baseball. The Reds were the "in vogue" team to watch. They had Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, you name it. Stars across the board.

As the oldtimers would say, "Now that’s a team that played the game right." They stole bases, hit and ran, hit for power, hit for high average and played great defense: the perfect five-tool team.

One player personified what they were all about, and that was Pete Rose. He had all the five tools like the rest of the Hall of Fame cast. The one thing that separated Charlie Hustle from everybody else was his hustle.

In a generation when hustle was the norm or you didn’t play, Pete made it fashionable to hustle, much like the Pete Maravich behind-the-back pass or the Magic Johnson no-look pass.

Not just sprinting to first after a walk or stretching a single into a double, but rather the head-first slide when he went from first to third on a single or diving head-first stretching a double into a triple with hair flopping and helmet flying for effect.

Every kid wanted to go first to third like Pete or dive head-first with helmet flying, only two things were required: get on base, then hustle. How difficult is that?

Isn’t that the way the game is supposed to be played? It’s a shame that we praise a rookie for playing the game right. If others would play the game the right way, maybe we wouldn’t notice them in traffic.


  1. Jonathon

    I Agree 110% H.R., but as long as things are the way they are. Might as well give props to those who play the game right.

  2. Brenton

    This is an interesting little piece. I think about this everytime someone jogs in slow motion on a double play ball. I’m always thinking, “Make the infield work for it!” But they don’t. The odds of an injury running something out can’t be that high. They’re athletes, they should do what they’re paid so much money to do. Hopefully Rajai Davis and other young guys set the bar for giving full effort.


    I agree… Hustle has fallen by the wayside. For all the money these guys make, they should run out every ground/fly ball. As a Yankee fan, that is why I like D.Jeter- he busts *** every game.


    Harold, thanks for making a point about Rajai. I too was watching that series and was impressed with the rookie. It’s also nice to see somebody say something nice about Pete every once in a while. He was my idol growing up (even though I hated the Reds and Phillies, being a Dodger fan). I played just like him (except I couldn’t hit a breaking ball). I also coached for 10 years at the high school level and preached those same things. Get on and off the field. Get down to first base quickly on a walk or a hit batsman. Always go first to third on base hits to center and right. When you hit a home run, put your head down and get around the bases; act like you’ve been there before (see Morgan Ensberg, a player of mine from H.S.) Play hard, because people are watching. My disgrace with the modern day player is just that: people are watching. YOUNG PEOPLE are watching. They are watching how they play and all their mannerisms. The possibility of getting hurt because you hustle is a joke. Prepare yourself for the grind of a full season and you won’t have that problem. Play like the world is watching…because they are.


    I wish Pete wasn’t on the greenies though. About the DBack’s, it’s not just Byrnes, it is Drew, Hudson, Young, Reynolds, and now Upton. That’s how they are winning.


    Hello HR. I just watched your 5 reasons Craig Biggio should be in the Hall of Fame. The key word you used for him was HUSTLE. That man hustles on every play. He knew full well that his 3000th hit was nowhere near a double. But he ran to 2nd like it was. Now what would have happened if Willy T. had bobbled the ball and Biggio didn’t hustle to 2nd? I’m so glad that Willie Randolph made an example out of Jose Reyes by pulling him out of a game because he didn’t hustle. Run like you’re running for your life.
    By the way, it’s good to see you on


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