Was it a No-Hitter & Week 1 Picks Post-Mortem

Hello again everybody...

Unlike 95% of my fellow Americans, I'm actually at work on Labor Day. I'm not complaining, it's the nature of my job to work some holidays, and the truth is, this is the only one I have to work this year. And I'm feeling better about work now that we're done broadcasting from the State Fair. Of course, that's somewhat irrelevant because now we're broadcasting from the Republican National Convention. But that's only for four days and then we get to take a collective breath.


Anyway, I'm going to make good use of my time at work on a holiday by discussing a scoring controversy from yesterdays Milwaukee/Pittsburgh clash. Then I'll run down my college football picks from Week 1. How'd I do? Here's a hint: I'm doing better than last year so far!

Okay, it's only one week, but I have to celebrate while I can!!!

"You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do."
- Olin Miller

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First off today, I have to address the controversy from yesterday's game in Pittsburgh. Milwaukee's CC Sabathia continued his torrid pace since joining the Crew by one-hitting the Pirates. But it's that "one hit" that's causing all the ruckus.

In the fifth inning, Sabathia crossed up Pittsburgh's Andy LaRoche on a 2-2 pitch and got him to hit a weak ground ball to the 3rd-base side of the mound. Sabathia hopped off the mound and tried to bare hand the ball, dropped it, and LaRoche reached first safely. So was it a hit, or was it an error?

You can watch the replay and judge for yourself here.

I think we can agree - despite what Brewer manager Ned Yost said - that it was close. For those of you not versed in the rules, the key is, had Sabathia not dropped the ball, would he have been able to throw out LaRoche at first. If you think he would have, then it's an error. If, like the official scorer Bob Webb, you don't think he would have, then it's a hit.

I think it should've been ruled an error. It's close because clearly CC felt the need to rush, or he would've fielded it with his glove instead of trying to bare hand it. But I watched the replay several times and the timing of CC first making contact with the ball makes it seem to me like he would've been able to throw LaRoche out. It would've been by a half-step at best, but I think he would've gotten him.

As I said earlier, Brewer manager Ned Yost doesn't think it was that close:

"That's a joke. That wasn't even close. Whoever the scorekeeper was absolutely denied major league baseball a nice no-hitter right there. They threw hit up on the board even before LaRoche hit the bag. That's a play CC makes easily, throws him out by 10 feet -- to me it's a no-brainer. That's sad. It really is sad."

Bob Webb has been an official scorer for 20 years. I doubt he purposefully blew that call in order to deny CC an no-hitter. So as far as Yost's comments go, it's entirely possible that he'll get fined by MLB, and it seems to me it's warranted. If they protect umpires from post-game tirades like that, I don't see why they shouldn't protect other staff.

So the Brewers have sent a DVD with several views of the replay to MLB's offices trying to get the call overturned. There is precedent for MLB to do just that. Teams often appeal to MLB to change calls that affect various hitting and fielding streaks, and on occasion those appeals are upheld. The Brewers themselves had a call overturned earlier this year.

But this is a special case. Because in this case if the call is overturned, the game turns into a no-hitter for Sabathia. Only it wasn't a legit no-hitter.

One of the reasons that no-hitters are as rare and as valued as they are is because a pitcher has to overcome a tremendous (copyright: Tim Brewster) amount of pressure over the course of 9 innings. By the 6th inning, players are avoiding the starting pitcher like the plague, because none of them wants to be responsible for breaking his focus or disrupting his rhythm. By the 7th inning, word is going out across the wires to hundreds of media agencies and a buzz is building in the ballpark. By the 8th inning, ESPN is picking up the game in progress and people in the ballpark are giving standing ovations for every out. And by the 9th inning, everyone involved is losing their mind.

But CC didn't have to deal with any of that. The play in question occurred in the 5th inning. So while he deserves a ton of credit for not giving up any hits for the next 4 innings, he didn't have any of that pressure or anticipation weighing on his shoulders. And to me that means his feat isn't on the same par as previous no-hitters.

So I'm all for getting the call right. If MLB decides that the play clearly should have been ruled an error, obviously I agree. But in my mind, if they do, the term "no-hitter" won't apply. Or at the very least it'll have a big fat asterisk next to it.

Feel free to argue with me if you like...

Finally today, it's time to look back at my college football picks from Week 1. Let's see how I did!

Minnesota -8.5 vs. Northern Illinois: Final Score - Minnesota 31, NIU 27
As I mentioned last week, I attended this game Saturday night. I wanted to do a running commentary, but my pen let me down and I was unable to take sufficient notes. I do clearly remember turning to my brother in the 3rd quarter when the Gophers were up by 11 points and saying, "I'm feeling pretty good about that -8.5". Woops. The Gophers had to rally late in the 4th quarter to regain a lead they'd held most of the game. A very sloppily played game I must add. Tim Brewster will take the win for his squad I know, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. Especially on defense.

0-1 to start. Not good, but I've got chances to catch up!

Hawaii +34.5 at Florida: Final Score - Florida 56, Hawaii 10
Well at least it wasn't the 68-14 that I saw predicted someplace else. But this clearly didn't go how I'd hoped. The Gators dominated from the get go, and Hawaii couldn't even eke out a pair of touchdowns against Florida's 3rd string. Oh how far the Rainbows have fallen already! Florida was scary-good in this game. I won't say that my prediction that Florida will win the SEC is a lock after one game, but I certainly feel confident!

0-2. This is not good. Come on California, I need some help here!

California -4.5 vs. Michigan St.: Final Score - Cal 38, Michigan St. 31
All right! Off the schneid! I like it. I didn't see any of this game, so I can't comment too much on it. Other than to say I'm sure it was loads more entertaining than the Gopher/Huskie tilt that I attended. I thought that spread was awfully low. Turned out it was closer than I thought. But a win's a win baby!

1-2, with my Flyer Pick of the Week to go. Come on NU!!!

Nebraska -14.5 vs. Western Michigan: Final Score - Nebraska 47, WMU 24.
There we go! A double-win for me as I even my Week 1 record to 2-2 and now I've officially become Nebraska's good luck charm. Even if my Husker fan readers won't cop to it (see the comment below that I'm sure is forthcoming). Again, I had no legit reasoning to justify this pick, but I'll take a win any way I can get it.

So the Sports Take officially pushed this week. What happens in Week 2? Find out on Thursday! Did I mention I love this time of year? Yeah, just a little bit!

That's all for today. Hope you enjoyed your holiday. I'll be back on Wednesday with more of the Sports Take wonder you've grown to expect and enjoy. Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that you want to claim being a good luck charm for a Blackshirt Defense that allows 24 points from WMU. Seriously.