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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Missing The Point

Hey, I don't care if Josh Paul caught the ball or not. The fact of the matter is, if it's close, you tag the batter. They teach you that when you're 13. You don't hot dog it and toss the ball into the infield, especially when noone called anyone out. I don't care what the ball did, who called what, who thought what or who said what. If you, as a Major League catcher, think there is any chance the ball hit the ground then you do what's right for your team, you simply tag the batter. Or, you can throw it to first if you want.

Imagine a shortstop, who thinks he caught a liner just above the ground, not waiting for an out call and just tossing the ball toward the mound. Wouldn't happen, would it?! Exactly. The fielder throws a ball that's even close, just in case, to first.

If the manager, the Angels players, the media or anyone else wants to blame anyone at all, don't point your finger at the umpire, point it at Paul. He made the boneheaded play. He didn't cover his team's back. He failed to do what he should have done, and Crede made them pay.

And, don't blame the call for the game. It's like blaming Bartman for the Cubs not making it to the World Series. There were other plays after the asshole interfered with the game. And, such was the case in this game. If the "fantastic" and "unstoppable" bullpen of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, just north of San Podesta, south of Disneyland, west of Nevada, north of Mexico, actually got Crede out, then this discussion never happens. But, since the 'pen couldn't hold down the White Sox, and since Paul hotdogged it instead of doing the right thing, it's tied 1-1 and we have ourselves a Series.

And let's not forget that Mark Buehrle is a stud, going 9.0 innings allowing only one run on five hits and four K's, without surrendering a single walk. Amazing.

I'm ready for some more baseball!


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Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

But what if Josh Paul actually believed to his soul that he caught the ball? I ask not idly: I have a videotape of the game, have seen it live and on quite a few replays, and I have rolled my tape back and watched it over several repetitions, slow and normal speed alike, and it can be called as

a) either the ball hit the ground at the precise moment Paul's upside down-turned mitt met it on the dirt; or,

b) the ball hit nothing but the web of Paul's mitt. Paul clearly enough believed option b) had occurred and, believing that, would not have considered making a tag he was absolutely convinced he did not have to make---especially because, if you watch the play closely, you can see clearly enough that Eddings is making his familiar (if you've seen him before) double-clutch, two-fist strikeout call.

Even A.J. Pierzynski did not seem to know for dead last certain if Paul had caught the ball. And Paul himself said after the game that he did not hear any "no catch" call, such as a catcher might expect to hear on such a pitch play; Eddings, for his own part, said, too, that he made no "no catch" call.

That said, it is true that the Angels had opportunities to make and stake a lead in the game, even with Buehrle portraying Sandy Koufax on this night; it is also true that a completed third strike would have sent the game to extra innings in which either team might have won. But, that also said, may we ask whence the "hotdogging" charge? Again having seen the play perhaps a couple of dozen times on tape, I saw nothing in Paul's action catching the pitch or making for his dugout, believing the third strike consummated, and tossing the ball back onto the infield toward the mound, for the White Sox pitcher to use in a tenth inning, that could have been deemed "hotdogging" by any objective viewer.

2:21 AM  

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