Monday, October 24, 2005

World Series: Murphspot Coverage, Post Game 2

The Dye thing.

It didn't hit him. He knows it didn't hit him. He admits it didn't hit him. It nicked the bat. It should have been a foul ball, rather than a hit by pitch.

For those of you that didn't watch last night's game, IT was a pitch by Dan Wheeler in the bottom of the seventh, with two on and two out.

It's such a big deal because on the next pitch (from Chad Qualls), Konerko gets one of the 18 World Series grand slams in history.

Controversial call? Not nearly so controversial as the Game 2 Pierzynski call. For a number of reasons.

1) Pierzynski's call results (if it's made correctly) in an out, sending the White Sox on to the field for extra innings. Dye's call (if made correctly) results in a foul ball. The count remains full, and Wheeler is still stuck with runners on first and second with Jermaine "I can't get a hit when Ryan's playing MVP 2004 [Clarification: He was on the Athletics for me, not the Sox] but sure I'll do whatever in the actual World Series" Dye. While there's no guarantee that he'll walk (at least somewhat likely considering Wheeler's lack of control in that at-bat) or that he'll get a hit (scoring at least one), there's also no guarantee that the pitch would have resulted in an out.

2) This call was decisive. In that it was made, and everyone knew it was made, and that was the end of that. Eddings' call was controversial because Pierzynski got to first by noticing that the Eddings hadn't actually done his job to give a clear indication of what was going on in the play (yes, I know a "no catch" call isn't mandatory, but it's expected), forcing Eddings to make up his damn mind about whether the inning should be over or not instead of standing around like a fool. The Dye ball was decisive. "Take your base." No second guessing. He thought it hit him, and whether he was wrong or not, he was doing what he was supposed to do. Make the call.

3) The whole Dye thing doesn't matter if Qualls doesn't hang the most hittable pitch ever in front of Konerko. This is important, because bad calls happen in baseball. The Iguchi pickoff in the bottom of the fifth, for example, in which the replay clearly shows that he's safe. To be a good team is to take that into consideration, take what you can if a call goes your way and bounce back when a call goes against you. This is why I don't get the whole "Bartman Ball" thing. Yes. It could have ended the inning, but Steve Bartman didn't give up 8 runs immediately thereafter, nor did he lose Game 7 of the NLCS. The Marlins still needed to score the runs and win the next game. Having Dye on first is meaningless if Konerko doesn't do something (in this case, with the very next pitch). And, once again, the right call isn't an out.

4) It didn't hit him. Ok. Even Dye admits it. But for all the calls of "cheating", I don't think I can recall a single ballplayer getting a favorable call and replying "No, sir. That didn't hit me/I wasn't safe/I didn't tag him. Please don't award me the base/call him out." The call of the umpire is interesting in that respect, as it not only states a case, but makes the case exist. In a post game interview, Dye said he knew it hit him and was prepared to get back in the box for the next pitch when the ump said "Take your base." Find me a ballplayer that'll argue with that, and I'll be willing to take the cheating thing seriously.

That said, Podsednik's solo walkoff blast in the ninth was ridiculous, if only because a)hitting a walkoff homer in the World Series just isn't done that often and b) Podsednik didn't actually, technically have a homer during the regular season. At all. I'm concerned for Brad Lidge's personal well being (after giving up the Pujols jack in the NLCS and the Pods homer last night), but I think he'll pull through.

Series goes to Houston, where the sun shines bright. Except when Minute Maid's roof is closed. In which case it doesn't. Inside. It probably still does outside.

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