Not too long ago, before the steroid era made the coveted home run a cheap but addictive date and changed baseball forever, the game was littered with Black Knights with speed demon styles like Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Mallex Smith.
Smith isnt your prototypical modern day, metrics-inspired outfielder. Hes almost a throwback in that he doesn’t hit home runs, he bangs balls in the gaps and on the ground through the holes, even bunts. His speed wreaks havoc on the basepaths that can single-handedly win a game for his squad.
@RaysBaseball outfielder Mallex Smith, keeping warm with a face mask, stops by to chat with FOX Sports Sun’s @mmargaux8 after Monday’s series-opening win over the Chicago White Sox. #RaysUp #MLB https://t.co/zCSIE1ei47
The best description of Smith would be “pure excitement and dynamic athleticism.” MLB can use more black players like Smith in marketing the game to the next generation.
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Smith bounced around a few teams in the minors but made a name for himself by wielding a formidable stick and perfecting the lost art of the stolen base. He followed in the footsteps of Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton who once stole a record 155 bases in the minor leagues. Rather than conform to a slugger-obsessed culture, Smith would stand out because of his ability to just destroy games with his legs.
After reaching base five times (a single, double and three walks), stealing two bases, and scoring the walk-off run in a 3-2 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017, teammate and fellow Black Knight Chris Archer coined the term “Mallex Effect” to describe Smith’s wild wheels, hustle and ability to wreak havoc and change games.
TinCaps Mallex Smith Leads All of Baseball In Stolen Bases
The left fielder from Tallahassee, Florida made his MLB debut in 2016 for the Atlanta Braves. He was traded to the Mariners and then to Tampa Bay where he has found a home and is flexing the skills that would make prolific base stealers of the past such as Ricky Henderson, Tim Raines, Vince Coleman and Lou Brock proud. And he’s offering competition to the current sultan of swipes such as Dee Gordon, Hamilton and Jonathan Villar.
Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Mallex Smith assesses how he fared Thursday against the Blue Jays and discusses how his legs are feeling after his speed played a big role in the game. http://www.foxsports.com/florida
Smiths game may be based on speed (he has 35 steals in 172 career games) but through the first 19 games of this season, Smith is sixth in MLB in hitting with a .344 batting average. Hes been a huge part of keeping a rebuilding Rays team respectable at 8-13 in a brutally tough AL East Division.
Mallex Smith’s bat has been on fire for @RaysBaseball over the last 7 games. #RaysUp #MLB
He brings confidence, speed, and personality to the game. His swag is unapologetically black and he admits that his game is different by todays standards.
Center fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays Mallex Smith speaks with ESPN Gainesville prior to the Baltimore Orioles/Tampa Bay Rays spring training matchup from Port Charlotte.
Hes a huge Gators fan and reps his Florida roots to the fullest with a gold necklace with the Florida State emblem swinging proudly.
Speed has always been a deadly weapon in the sport of baseball. There are those who argue that only homers put butts in the seats. From my experiences covering baseball, winning teams bring fans to the ballpark. Losing teams with great tradition bring fans to the ballpark.
We wish Mallex Lydell Smith much success in maintaining his leadoff position with the Rays while executing the fundamentals of the game that are often dismissed cuz baseball digs the long ball.
Mallex Smith leads the Rays’ offense with four hits against the Cubs, including a double in the top of the 6th inning Check out http://MLB.com/video for more! About MLB.com: Former Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced on January 19, 2000, that the 30 Major League Club owners voted unanimously to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations into an independent technology company.
MLBs Hall of Fame is full of players who accumulated championships and were major contributors to legendary teams because they had talents that most other players didnt possess. Smith is one of those players and he is introducing himself to the MLB world one triple in the gap or diving catch at a time.