By Tom Schad
Adam LaRoche stood on first base Saturday night in the tenth inning of a tied ball game against the Miami Marlins. When he saw Ian Desmond’s single drop into right field, he ran right past second base and slid headfirst into third.
“I mean he’s not your fastest runner,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson joked after his team eked out the 7-6 win. “I haven’t seen him slide headfirst ever, so you know emotions were running high.”
LaRoche was ultimately tagged out at home two batters later, a result of the Marlins’ five-man infield strategy. When asked about his decision to go first-to-third, LaRoche said there was a little extra incentive not only to win the game, but to win it quickly.
“Honestly, my buddies were in town last night at a concert, so we had to win that game in a hurry or we were going to miss that concert,” LaRoche said. “There’s my incentive going around the bases.”
He and a couple other Nationals players had tickets to see country music stars Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan perform at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va. LaRoche was worried they would miss the show when Saturday’s game was delayed for two hours and 33 minutes due to sudden winds and sheets of rain.
LaRoche said Jayson Werth, who hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and send it to extra innings, is also a country music fan.
“We’re like, ‘we need to go win this game as fast as we can,’” LaRoche said. “We had a bus waiting for us, so the whole team could go, so we’re all like, ‘let’s get a W real quick and get out of here.’”
The Nationals first baseman collected two hits in five at-bats Saturday and is now batting .271 in his first full season with the Nationals. While he leads the team in both home runs (29) and RBIs (92), he’s not usually known for his prowess on the basepaths. The Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan concert gave him some extra motivation.
“That was crossing my mind rounding second, which I think maybe gave me an extra mile per hour,” LaRoche said.