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This is how you play the game the right way—literally and seriously.

By Jon Tayler
September 25, 2017

"Play the game the right way" is a troublesome and problematic phrase throughout baseball, most times acting as a barely disguised dog whistle with regards to the negatively perceived attitude and showmanship of players of color in contrast with the much-lauded "grit" and "hustle" that stereotypically belongs to white players. The invocation of "playing the game the right way" usually precedes a lecture about respect and working hard; it's as tired as tired gets.

Here, then, is an example of the right way to use the phrase (and yes, I'm aware of the irony of declaring a right way to say "the right way to play the game"). This play by Andrelton Simmons on Sunday night against the Astros is the kind of thing that makes the heart of every baseball coach swell and Tom Emanski swoon, and it should be shown to every single Little Leaguer from here until the sun burns out. Here's the best defensive shortstop in baseball putting on an absolute show on the field by showing a tremendous sense of heads-up play and fundamentals. Simmons was in all the right places at all the right times, and he even did it with a sense of style; check out that incredible deke as he cuts off the throw to third base and fires it to first to begin the rundown.

Forget your performative demonstrations of hard-nosed play and red-assery. Andrelton Simmons shows how you play the game the right way.

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