Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Unruly Ash, Base Running Blunders and $1.00 Hot Dogs


No footage found.

Will we ever see an end to the base running blunders made by professional baseball players?
Professionals? Most of whom cash multi million dollar pay cheques to apply their craft can be found at baseball parks across the Continent botching the most basic base running principles. Principles recently mastered by my own son during a very competitive season of neighbourhood tee-ball.
On Tuesday evening I attend a game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada for a game between the Texas Ranger and the home town Blue Birds. Toronto Blue Jays Second-Basemen Aaron Hill belted a Home-Run in the 5'th inning to go along with a late innings double that kept the Jays in the game despite Cy Young pitcher Roy Halliday less then stellar eight innings of work.
Hill was also left on base three times on Tuesday evening, indicating a complete lack of support from those around him, however Hill had an outstanding game, even flashing some leather brilliance in the ninth to shutdown an eager Rangers attack.
Sounds good right? Wrong!
The truth is, box scores lie and nobody should put faith in these make shift recaps when they could be attend the game and witnessing the event first hand. Aaron Hill may have been the one left on base three times during the Jay's, Rangers game on Tuesday night but it was Marco Scutaro who was left holding the bag. Well not really, check the box score, Scutaro was 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored not exactly a horrible game. I mean the guy could have went o for 4 with three strike-outs and been the box-score villain but that is not what happened. 
What did happen?
Scutaro was all out traveling the base path in the third inning following a one out double by former Home-Run derby contestant Alex Rios when he stopped at third allowing Travis Snider to cash, well Scutaro held up at third base. Despite happening in the third inning this very well could have been a crucial moment in the game, a turning point perhaps that sealed the faith of both teams, however Vernon Wells hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field allowing Scutaro to trot in from third. The throw from Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was a cannon shot and almost caught Scutaro at the plate.
Now I was there at the game and I'm not exactly sure why Scutaro, who has decent speed held up at third base, down a run in the bottom of the third with Jays ace Roy Halliday on the mound. What I am sure of is that Scutaro would have had an easier time scoring on the Rios double then he did on the Well's sac-fly.
Perhaps the Jays could use the services of former Center-Fielder Devon White who is applying his trade as member of the Washington Nationals coaching staff. DeVo is currently the Nats Outfield Coordinator. Combining DeVo's services with those of Nats first-base coach Marquis Grissom the Nats have become one of the only teams in professional baseball who look competent running the bases. 
Unless the Jays and other big league clubs are prepared to be patient with my developing six year old (who already has this base running thing down to an art) it would seem to make a lot of sense for teams to hire guys like Marquis and Devon who can show some of these rich young men just how to behave well on base.  
Zoltan Black
Sad/Side Note:
Tuesday nights game at the Rogers Centre also featured one dollar hot-dogs, thankfully that meant my better half had already been shipped off to concession row at the top of the sixth inning when Home-Plate Umpire Kerwin Danley was struck in the side of the head by a wayward bat that had been sawed off at the hands of Texas Rangers batter Hank Blalock.
Danley was transported to Mount Siani Hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a mild concussion.
We all wish Mr. Danly and family nothing but the very best moving forward.  

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