Saturday, May 25, 2013

Angelic Ending

Angel Pagan's inside-the-park walk-off home run with Brandon Crawford on second base rescued the Giants from a frustrating afternoon and squared up the series with the Rockies. Home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez made two bad calls that went against the home team: one cost them a run scored and the other wiped out a likely scoring chance. Ol' Boch took one for the team and got booted after angrily re-hashing the two mistakes with the Man in Blue. He missed being on the field for the crazy ending, and if history is any guide, he won't get another opportunity. New York Giants Hall of Famer Bill Terry was the last orange-and-blacker to do what Angel did today, and that was 82 years ago!

Starter Barry Zito got banged around a bit and the Giants were down 4-0 after four, but they strung together a rally in the 6th to get within one. When Buster Posey scored on an Andres Torres double in the 7th it looked like another great come-from-behind victory chance. Alas, closer Sergio Romo coughed up a massive homer to purple nemesis Troy Tulowitzki and the lads seemed done for. But this is a resilient club. Those shoulder patches mean something, and it is "you'll only get that trophy from our cold, dead fingers." We've seen these guys bounce back many times already here in the early part of the season, and each time the drama knob is turned up another notch. I wonder if it will go to eleven!

There's been a lot of call lately for more use of replay in baseball, and it is getting harder to lay out a valid case for sticking with the current system. One thing that seems obvious is to get the umps to talk to each other and find out if another guy had a better look at a play. When Marco Scutaro was called out on the phantom tag, it seemed like the second base umpire had a much better angle even though he was further away. The crew chief could have saved everyone some grief by ordering the group to "huddle up" and talk about the call before giving a final ruling. That change alone, which involves no replay at all, could fix a few broken circumstances. In the end, it is ridiculous that any clown on the street with MLB TV on their iPhone can see a blown call but the guys on the field cannot. Imagine if the crew chief had a radio and could ask an extra official (I think Seligula can afford it) who is in a booth with all the video feeds if a there is a clear look that could overturn the on-field call. It would not take a lot of time if the mandate was for a "clear look" that requires a call to be changed. In other words, assume the guy on the field is right unless the camera shows without a doubt he was wrong. Managers could ask the crew chief for the review on, say, plays at the plate, or some other limited set, that way there would not be too much delay from gamesmanship. You don't want every goddamn close call at first to be scrutinized, that would be torture. But it seems clear that something has to be done to reduce the frequency of blown calls. If changes do come, they need to be integrated into the flow of the game so that baseball avoids the clumsiness of the system currently used in the NFL, for example, which is an awkward, time-wasting exercise that tries the fans' patience.

But enough of that. The Giants won the game, and they won in pulse-pounding fashion. Tim Flannery ('It fly, men ran') is hard-wired to windmill that left arm, I wonder if he knows what the "stop" sign is. Vida Blue on the post-game show said he thought the Giants caught a break that Tulo was not the relay man (it was DJ LeMahieu), and the big shortstop might have made a killer throw to get Pagan. But it didn't happen that way, and we all get to enjoy another remarkable win by the good guys.

Matt Cain goes tomorrow since they are skipping Ryan Vogelsong's spot. There's a good chance I'll miss the action but I will have a report for you nonetheless, so keep your dial set to RMC.




nomisnala said...

I would rather they get the calls correct, and wait a few minutes than get the calls wrong and rush the game. Especially since the giants seem to get more than their fair share of blown calls going against them.

muphry said...

Ironic, isn't it, that in the course of (quite justifiably) criticizing an umpire, you got his name wrong? Let us give discredit where it's due: the umpire was Alfonso Marquez. I suppose you were confusing him with Angel Hernandez - which is entirely understandable, since he's a lousy umpire, too.

Shankbone said...

Great post on the umpires!

Giants didn't catch a break on the relay - Flan noticed Tulo wasn't getting the ball and SENT PAGAN BABY! Like most of what the Gints put up, its by design, not luck.

Great win. Six walkoffs now? 7? I'm losing count.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Thanks muphry, I fixed it. I was taking my relaxing morning bath and it popped into my head that I had confused the two umps--I figured one of my readers would catch it!