Now, granted--there are times when sliding into first is a good idea (tag plays) but generally speaking it is not a good idea. Your feet are two quick moving contact points--your front of your stomach is simply a drag-causing, momentum-slowing obstacle. You might think this is obvious. You, probably, do not drive all around town with the parking brake on, under the assumption that it gets you places faster.
Nick Punto is not like you. For Jim Souhan's column in the Star Tribune:
"For some reason, I think it's faster," he [Punto] said. "For all the people who have told me it's not, I still think it is.
"We'll never know. Until there is a swimming pool at the end of the 100-meter dash, we'll never know. Who's going to dive onto a corked field on a 100-yard dash? Nobody."
You know why no one is going to dive onto a corked field at a 100-yard dash pace, Nick? Because suddenly adding that big of a drag onto something moving that fast would fucking hurt. And that pain comes from the sudden addition of a lot of friction; you don't get burn marks from running on your feet. You get them sliding. You get lots of injuries from sliding, and they are all due to the fact that you are putting more of your body mass on the ground. And Punto knows this! Consider this little exchange for the same piece.
"Asked how many times sliding into first base has injured him, Punto said, "'I don't want to answer that.'"
I can't believe I have to root for this idiot.