The Cubs have no shortage of incredible players, among them a young man who keeps making incredible plays at short. Addison Russell’s talent was on full display in the top of the 1st Monday night when he ranged to his right to snag a grounder in the hole. I’ve seen this from him a thousand times, or so it seems, but I continue to be blown by how quickly and smoothly Russell transitions from sprinting to the ball to hitting the ground to rising and firing to first.
The secret to his move is how he slides, right foot out and left knee to the ground. This not only slows his momentum and provides a wide base to keep the ball in front of him, but having his plant foot extended enables Russell to pivot and get enough on the ball to nail the runner. It’s textbook technique and is exactly the way infielders should be taught to make plays in the hole, though there’s a big gap between what Russell does and what mere mortals are able to pull off.
The sheer awesomeness of the play Aledmys to believe Russell had nailed the Cardinals’ Diaz at first, an opinion shared by first base ump Mark Carlson. Replay review, however, said otherwise and the phenomenal play was relegated to afterthought status. Not by me though. Nope, I’m doing my part to ensure Russell’s gem gets five or six extra views.