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After listening to fans of Usain Bolt talk during the Olympics about using him as a wide receiver or kickoff returner in American Football, it suddenly struck me there may be a better fit for his crossover to commercial US sports:
The San Francisco Giants should hire Usain Bolt to pinch run.
He would never bat, never face a pitch. Why not teach the Jamaican how to position himself, when to run, how to turn the corner and how to slide?
He’d be used in the exact way Bochy used Darren Ford in ’10 and ’11: to manufacture runs in key innings, in late innings and extra-inning games on the road, for our generally run-depleted squad.
Darren Ford’s exploits, which gained him the nickname The Bullet, are well remembered by fans of the current two-time World Series Champion SF Giants.
Most famous was his game-winning run in the 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies in September during our run to the division lead in 2010.
“With the game tied 1-1 in the eighth, Mike Fontenot drew a walk. Fontenot runs fine. Ford, however, might be one of the fastest guys on any big league roster. Ford ran for Fontenot and broke for second, and was standing on the bag, when Colorado‘s Ubaldo Jimenez fielded Tim Lincecum‘s quite average sacrifice bunt.” reads this b/r piece on the play.
But in Spring of the following year, Bochy used Ford to do it again.
Usain Bolt might be a very effective pinch runner if he can be taught the mechanics of base-running. Willie Mays stole home 5 times, Jackie Robinson 9 times … how many do you think Bolt could take if he could be put in position? Think squeeze play.
Bay Area Sports Guy hosted a piece on how important base-running is to the SF Giants just before this season started, but anybody who understands baseball and what just happened with the Giants versus the Tigers will get it, so please comment and spread the discourse.
Here’s the man, doin it:
Usain Bolt as solely a pinch runner – a specialist position. Inexpensive, but possibly very effective in tight games, when you have great pitching and defense. Discuss amongst yourselves.
after I wrote this and a few conversations I realized Bolt isn’t really great off the block, but rather in second half of race … probably another runner of the form would be better. Still why not look for them as pinch runners is the idea.