On Friday night, I was rooting so hard for Yu Darvish. I was watching a game on my TV, laptop, and I put the Rangers/Red Sox game on my phone once I got wind of a potential perfect game. He was a few innings away from a perfect game when the worst person you can think of came up to the plate.
Godammit Big Papi.
I said that twice last night.
Of all the people you don’t want to come up to the plate, David Ortiz is at the top of my list. Frankly, he is the hitter I fear the most (as a Yankees fan, you understand why, and as a baseball fan, I respect the crap out of him). Whenever he comes up to the plate, I hold my breath because I know he is going to mash some baseballs into the middle of next week.
Everyone is talking this morning about the hit Big Papi had in the top of the 9th inning. He was the last hitter standing between Yu Darvish and a no-hitter. My first thought was “intentionally walk him”. If they did that, he would face the much-less intimidating Mike Napoli. But, they had the shift on Papi, so theoretically they should have gotten him out. But nope. He’s Big Papi. Big Papi don’t care about no shifts to cause maximum damage.
But, it was Ortiz who was able to break up the perfect game a few innings earlier. On any other day, during any other game, his bloop to shallow right field would be ruled a hit. But it wasn’t. This hit fell between the right fielder Alex Rios and second baseman Rougned Odor (sweet name), both of whom had shifted for the Ortiz at-bat. As I was watching this ball fly towards them, I sighed a huge sigh of relief because I knew it was an easy pop-fly and Darvish would keep the perfect game going. And then the ball fell. Goddammit Big Papi.
So, we were all sitting here, knowing that Darvish’s perfect game and possible no-hitter was no longer intact. But hark! What’s that I hear? The scorer ruling the play an error? For reals? On what planet would that have been an error? This planet, apparently, and I am sure glad it was called an error.
I have seen so many of those hits over the years, the kinds of hits that could have easily been caught, but no one did. These balls are not hard to catch, so I like to think of this situation as a Team Brain Fart, or a “TBF”. TBF’s are a hilarious thing to watch because of the over-riding stupidity on the part of the players. I would rather see two players run into each other trying to catch the ball than have two or more players run to a perfectly catchable ball and just let it drop. Need I remind you how funny it was to watch Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright watch a sky-high pop fly drop between the two of them in front of the mound? (Here’s a link to a slo-mo video. Pay attention to the look of pure disappointment on Wainwright’s face: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mViXPYhgBNg)
People have been debating since last night as to whether or not this Big Papi blooper should have been ruled a hit. Not surprisingly, all of the Red Sox think it should have been. Also not surprisingly, baseball journalists and experts all think it should NOT have been a hit, but an error. So, I think the official scorer got the call right. It can be hard to assign blame for TBF’s, which is why I think they are not called errors very often. However, that should not stop officials from calling TBF’s errors.
Over the course of the coming off-season, I think MLB should look at this. They have a gazillion other rules to potentially re-evaluate this year, so why not add one more? If a number of players could have made a play but they didn’t, guess what, that should be an error. TBF’s are errors, and should be scored as such.
So, while Yu Darvish can blame his teammates for breaking up the perfect game, the Red Sox cannot blame the Rangers for not allowing a “true” hit. The Sox didn’t get a hit, they got lucky. They were lucky that the Rangers had a TBF in the 7th and that Big Papi can hit against a shift. Other than that, the Sox were the Rangers’ and Darvish’s bitch last night.
And as a Yankee fan, it made me really happy to see that. But it made me even happier to see some of the filthy stuff Darvish can throw, because he is a very fun pitcher to watch. He’s gonna have his no-hitter soon and with any luck, a perfect game is not far off.
Here is a link for Buster Olney’s take: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/buster-olney/post?id=6140