Smith a magnet to inside-the-parkers
Third-base coach's wave home hasn't always been successful
DENVER -- Steve Smith estimated that Jayson Werth's dash around the bases on Monday was the "third or fourth" he's seen as a third-base coach.He better remembers the unsuccessful ones. Those came May 24, 1999, and July 12, 2002, while coaching with the Mariners and Rangers, respectively. Both involved catchers, which he jokes may have been the problem. Both also happened while Smith's team played at the Metrodome in Minnesota, where 30 inside-the-park home runs have been hit since the park opened in 1982. The first involved Seattle's Dan Wilson and taught Smith a lesson. "I can always remember getting Dan Wilson thrown out with no outs," he said. "I didn't like that. I was young and wanted to get him an inside-the-park home run. The crowd was going crazy, and I became a fan over there and sent him. [After that], I thought no more. I can't get emotional about sending him." Smith was unsuccessful the second time with Ivan Rodriguez. When Werth led off the fifth with a drive that caromed away from center fielder Willy Taveras on Monday, Smith knew the speedy baserunner had a shot. In the high altitude, Werth scored on a closer play than it should have been. "It was intense," Werth said. "They had to bring out the oxygen tank." Teammates had fun at his expense. "Werthy was gassed," Geoff Jenkins said. "He could barely breathe. It was unbelievable. He didn't know Chase [Utley] hit a home run [as the next batter]. He didn't know there was a pitching change. But you'll give up being gassed for an inside-the-parker."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.