So, about that no-hit bid …

Brad Penny (AP)I’m not looking to start an argument here about thankless jobs. I know a lot of people who would give just about anything to get paid to watch a ballgame. This isn’t about that. But when it comes to people in a baseball press box during a game, the official scorer has one of the more thankless jobs.

The pay is nice, but it’s not like you can make a living doing it. Above all, people do it because they love baseball. They’re generally good at scoring games, and they’re very good at remembering the scoring rules, because there are a lot of them. And if they’re good, they’re able to take the rules that they read and apply them to what they see on the field. But they generally don’t get a lot of credit for it.

Which brings us to Saturday’s game.

I’ve never heard a crowd react to a call as loudly, or as immediately, as they did to Ron Kleinfelter’s call that Brent Morel’s sixth-inning grounder was a hit rather than a Brandon Inge error. I mean, the words were barely out of his mouth when about 35,000 fans booed. I can’t imagine what that’s like, to hear that many people react at the same time, in the same place, to a decision you make. I have a nice, loyal Twitter following, and they’re only about one-seventh of that crowd size. Besides, you don’t hear noise on Twitter.

But here’s the thing: For all the second-guessing this call is going to get, it’s more of an interpretation than a decision. The borderline on a play like that is reasonable effort. And while we’ve all seen Inge make plays like that down the line often enough that it seems like an ordinary effort for him, I have a hard time calling that a reasonable effort for most third basemen. And that’s the criteria.

I look at the replay, and I see Inge make the stop with enough time to set his feet for a throw, but I don’t see him able to get his weight behind it. For a throw that far across the infield, that seems key.

Inge didn’t want to make an excuse, but he also hinted it was a factor.

“If you can plant there, you get all your weight transfer going, and then the ball comes out fine,” Inge said. “But when that back foot falls out, you have to use all arm, so then maybe it tails a little bit on you.”

When asked if that was the case, Inge said, “My foot slipped a little bit when I went to plant, and maybe that had something to do with it. But I don’t like using anything as an excuse. I still had plenty to get it over there. My aim was slightly off.”

Inge said third-base umpire Fieldin Culbreth told him just three third basemen he knew could make that play. Inge was one of them. But there’s a difference between could and should, and where Inge’s expectations lie compared to those of others.

“It’s not an average play,” he said, “but I should’ve made the play.”

And there’s the problem: It’s hard to call an above-average play an error if it isn’t made. I can think of some decidedly average third basemen in the big leagues, and I imagine you can, too. No need to name names, because that’s a whole other discussion. Now think: Could they make that play?

“It’s a fine line. I can imagine it’s tough on a scorer,” Inge said. “They do a pretty good job. I know I’m not helping them, saying what I’m saying, but I’m always going to be honest.”

Here’s another way to look at it: Take the situation out of it. Think of it in the first inning of a scoreless game, or the eighth inning of a 12-3 game. Don’t think of it with a no-hitter riding on it. If that’s called a hit, are you still disagreeing so strongly. Because like it or not, you can’t factor the game setting into the ruling. Some argued otherwise on Twitter, and I strongly disagree.

As for the call itself, I agree that it was a hit. I can understand those who say it should be an error, but the more I replays I watched, the more comfortable I feel about it being a hit.

15 Comments

It’s history now. We all know the official scorer’s at other teams’ ballparks often make decisions in favor of their own team.
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The ball was thrown way in front of the base in the dirt instead of the 1st baseman’s mitt. Too far away from the base to pick it and tag the runner. Just watched replays from other games on MLB Network and the 3rd baseman throws that ball directly into his 1st baseman’s mitt. But, it doesn’t matter how I see it, because I’m not the official scorer and probably will never be asked to be one, either.
Thank God we don’t have Juan Pierre as our LFer, although he does have other assets.

Again, I see it as Jason does and, as he says, it’s an interpretation by the official scorer. Just as it’s an interpretation by each of us who saw the play. This would have stung quite a bit if it had been Verlander pitching, but I really doubt Penny could have remained strong through the 9th. He’s still getting his pitching legs under him. I think there may be some wounds from the Galarraga game being opened slightly, too.
Anyway, two in the books over Chicago, eight (I think) in a row, and a total of 18-3 in the two games. Raburn has 7 RBI in the the series and continues to be the Sox Killer. Jackson had a very nice bunt single and I hope he continues to recognize that situation and lay ‘em down.
It’s hard to be unhappy with things at this moment in time. They’re playing over Victor’s absence very well, and getting by without Maggs contributing a whole lot.

As much as we all like to see the no hitter pitched the bigger priorety is that of the team and putting a win on the books. That was accomplished today. Enough said.

I understand Beck’s position about the call being a hit. Generally speaking, I think too often balls that should be outs but aren’t converted are called errors in baseball. However, when I mentioned this on Twitter today, one of my followers (or someone I follow) pointed out that any uncertainty is supposed to go to the runner. I don’t know how many third basemen in the league can make that play, but I know it’s a play Inge makes easily a year or two ago (other than when his knees were hurt). The ease and regularity that he makes plays like that are part of the reason I think it should have been an error. I also think I would have thought that at any point in any game. Inge had enough time to collect himself for the throw. If Cabrera fields the ball, he makes the tag, so even though the throw was off line, if it’s not in the dirt it’s an out. A side note: I thought the Tigers had a poor defense coming into this series. The outfield for Chicago is absolutely horrendous (or at least has been for the first two games of this series). Juan Pierre is pretty much a one tool player, with no power and no arm from left field.
I know that in the end the guy who made the scoring decision is doing the best he can, and will never have everyone agree with him. His job isn’t easy and only gets attention when he gets things wrong. I’d love to get paid to watch ball games, but don’t really envy his job.

Oops, didn’t mean to make half of my comment bold. I got confused on my HTML tags. I was thinking b=br. My bad.

I think it was a tough call. I can see how you could go either way. Does anyone else think that Miggy should of been able to scoop that? And if he had, he would of been able swipe tag him?

I was blacked out from the game, but did listen on xm radio. Jim and Dan both called it a hit before the scorer made the decision. They also said the scorer was taking longer than normal to make the decision due to the circumstance.

What everyone is overlooking is that the baserunner was CLEARLY running inside the baseline. He was NOT in his running lane along the outside of first base. Go watch it again. With him running on the inside of the baseline and the throw being where it was, it should have been called interference on the runner. If that runner had not been running directly at Cabrera, he has a much better chance of making that play. It really is almost a textbook definition of interference.
Go watch again…pause it.

Did anyone else think back to Morris’ no-hitter against the Sox? That was on the Saturday before Easter as well, I believe. Ironic that we perhaps were looking at another one but we’ll never know. I’m with you, Larry, the W against a division rival is the important thing.

Morel was indeed running inside the baseline and his approach could have effected Cabrera, who was straddling the baseline. I think that’s something that’s rarely called and even then, it’s limited to throws from the catcher. If Morel slammed into Cabrera, then what have we got? It looked to me, however, like Miggy was trying to make the tag before he had the ball.
And hey, isn’t this a good reason to NOT expand instant replay? Once we start picking these plays apart, all kind of things get noticed. The game would never end.

Just wondering why Cabrera isn’t weighing in on the play… this is a play many first basemen make on a regular basis. Mr. Inge is yet again taking one for the team but the other participant in this, Cabrera, hasnt said a word about his end of the bargain. What say you Cabrera? Do you think that is a play you should have made??

Cabby isn’t going to throw his 3rd baseman under the bus. Bet Polanco doesn’t throw that ball in the dirt.

Besides the throw controversy, Brandon made a great scoring run to home. Had it timed perfect. A younger and less experienced player probably gets thrown out.

It was the 7 th inn. . Normal 3b players are watching the line to avoid the extrabase. So any 3b ( but CW`s 3b who was not doing his jobe on fridays`s game) would catch it.

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