Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
It was a tough week to have the out of town series report, especially when you have a seventeen-month-old baby who likes to get up at the crack of dawn and start the day at full speed. But it's all about you, dear reader, so I'm drinkin' extra coffee and pushin' on through.

I have an affliction

I'm addicted to the standings. I cannot help myself -- on day two of the season, I actually care about how many games out of first place the team is. Yeah, I know, early in the season it's meaningless. I know that in my head, but in my heart I still care.

As a hardcore follower of the standings, I have to say that it's tremendously gratifying to see the Jays just one game out of first despite the challenges faced by their pitchers -- Burnett, obviously, has barely played (making my Opening Day prediction look pretty terrible in hindsight -- but hey, as a photographer who is known primarily for yelling really loud and having outrageous hair, I'm entitled to be really, radically wrong on the radio when I pretend to be an analyst); Towers was miserable for his first five starts; Chulk and Frasor, two solid components of last year's stellar pen, have both spent time in AAA trying to figure out what's going wrong for them; Halladay has missed a couple of starts with a minor injury, and now Gustavo Chacin looks like he'll miss one or two.

But for all this adversity, the team is still just one game out of first, and that can only be a good thing.

The best baseball website ever

I am not a big fan of MLB.com -- it's cluttered, slow to load and full of flashy things that make my not very old, not very slow computer choke. When a production machine that handles 600mb image files with ease cannot smoothly or easily display your website, you're doing something wrong.

So it is with great pleasure that I tell you about the total opposite to MLB.com -- MLB.com Mobile. I have a Palm TX, a cute little device that has taken over most of the duties that my laptop used to perform. I'm writing this game report on it right now. The web browser, called Blazer, is designed to read regular sites as well as sites optimized for phones or other similar devices -- MLB.com Mobile is one that's optimized for phones.

It's simple, clearly laid out, and filled with tons of easy-to-access content including a stripped-down variant of GameDay. If you surf the net on your phone or other mobile device, I highly recommend it.

The Jamie and Rance show

I have more happy Blue Jays memories of Rance Mullinicks than I do of Pat Tabler, and maybe that's why I prefer Mullinicks to Tabler as the colour guy on Jays broadcasts. That's me trying to be objective, folks -- enjoy it while you can, it don't come around that often.

Really, though, I think I prefer Mullinicks despite Tabler's more polished delivery because he seems to gel so well with Jamie Campbell. Campbell is a real fan of baseball, and when he's in the booth with any of the rotating colour men he tries to pick their brains about subjects that seem to flow out of the game at hand. He has an engaging curiosity, and doesn't try to sound authoritative -- he lets the colour guy, who is the baseball expert, do that. I don't know how many of the questions are planned out in advance, but they sound natural. I find it appealing because I would just love to be able to sit at a game with, say, Rance Mullinicks, and ask him these questions.

Unfortunately, this approach doesn't seem to work half as well with Tabler. I don't know exactly why this is, and I can't speculate on it. But Jamie, Rance and this broadcast approach are a winning combination. I'm hoping that in the future we'll get more Mullinicks, because there's some real magic going on in those games, and it can only get better as the guys get more comfortable with each other.

Meanwhile, how's Warren Sawkiw doing?

I'd like to relate a story that I heard Lyle Lovett tell on Letterman about ten years ago -- he said that whenever he called his mother to tell her that he'd won a Grammy or that he got another gold record, she'd say, "That's nice son, when are you going to cut your hair?" He'd reply that a lot of people have told him that they like his hair, and his mother would say, "Sometimes people will say they like your hair when they have nothing else nice to say."

Then he went on to sing the immortal Creeps Like Me, which has the verse

And I keep my Uncle Leon
In my closet
In my closet
And don't nobody know

Just me and Uncle Leon
And my closet
And they wonder
'Where'd that old man go?'


Just what am I trying to say here? I'm not entirely sure myself.

I heard that a team called the Toronto Blue Jays played some games against the Angels and that maybe you were supposed to be writing about them

I take it you're not a Lyle Lovett fan.

Baseball games fade quickly from my memory, at least the ones that I don't attend in person. As I'm writing this, I'm sitting on the couch watching Lyle Overbay bat in the sixth inning -- Halladay had a rough inning just a bit ago and the Jays are down by a couple, but I don't feel that dire 2004 hopelessness -- two runs are nothin' for the New, Scarier Jays. And as I typed that, Lyle smacked a ball into the gap to drive in Glaus, cutting the Angels' lead to one and bringing up the mighty Alex Rios. And as I typed THAT, Rios doubled to the same gap to drive in Overbay and tie the game. See what I mean?

Okay, how about some more Lyle Lovett then


I met this pretty girl once
She was eighteen... maybe
Well, what's a year or two

And one day when she asked me
If I loved her
I said "Baby,
What's it worth to you?"


It's not even midnight -- I'm going to get another cup of coffee.

It's so much better when it's the other team

First, Donnelly and Quinlan got crossed up at first, allowing Vernon Wells to get on base safely, then Vladimir Guererro let a shallow fly ball clang off of his glove, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Cheap? Sure. And I could try to justify feeling good about it by saying the Jays were pressuring the Angels or something like that... but I really feel good about it because it happens to the Jays, too -- it's nice to see it happen to someone else.

But now they're showing close-ups of a sad Vladimir Guererro. Man, I can't deal with sad players on the opposition, especially players I like. They're not human beings with feelings, they are EVIL ROBOTS. THE JAYS MUST DEFEAT THE EVIL ROBOTS.

Okay, I feel better.

It's J.C. Romero -- get that picture ready


Says Rance, as Romero enters the game, "J.C. Romero has struggled so far this season... struggled with command of his fastball, which he can't throw for strikes."



NAPOLI: Dude, throw strikes.

ROMERO: Shut up and get off my mound!

I've been saving that one.

Of course, Romero gets the out and Napoli hits a solo homer off of Halladay to tie the game as I was writing that. Karma. Bah!

Why the hell does that guy have a radio strobe on his camera

Vlad has just been intentionally walked to load up the bases with two outs, as Halladay tries to work his way out of a jam; Tim Salmon pops one foul on the first base side, and as Overbay runs for it, a press photographer gets out of the way. The guy has a radio transmitter used for triggering a remote flash on his camera -- what the hell is he doing with that? I don't care how powerful your strobe is, a baseball stadium is too big to light that way -- and if you had enough powerful strobes to light the place, the players would kill you because all they'd see for the next week would be blue dots.

I'd say he just came from a hockey game (the NHL allows remote strobes, which are usually in the rafters at NHL arenas), but the Ducks are already through to the next round. Is there any basketball going on out Anaheim way?

Yeah, these are things I notice and obsess about. I remember I was in the middle of practical exams at Sheridan, and I went to see the movie Absolute Power to take a break. There was this magnificent shot of Clint Eastwood in the rain, standing under an umbrella. I looked at it for a moment and then said "There's a reflector inside the umbrella". Everyone with me, who were all in the same program, groaned -- once you see it, you can't un-see it.

Speaking of un-seeing it

Dear Everyone: The DaVinci Code is NOT A DOCUMENTARY. The events in it are no more real than those depicted in your average Road Runner cartoon. Otherwise reasonable grown-ups are reacting to this movie as if it were one of those idiotic NASA-faked-the-moon-landing videos. Just stop it, before I kill one of you.

It was more fun when it was the other team

Dear Karma: please stop hurting me. Vernon Wells just muffed a ball in centre to allow Alfonzo to get to third.

That's better

Napoli popped the ensuing bunt up, leading to an inning-ending double play to preserve the tie.

One way or the other, the end of this game will pain me

I have K-Rod on my fantasy team -- he's in to face the Jays in a tie game in the ninth.

Two flashbacks, both alike in dignity

Frasor, with men on second and third, intentionally walked Vladimir Guererro. The first pitch was a little wild, and I suddenly remembered Terry "Rainbow" Adams and a relief appearance in Minnesota, possibly the worst Jays pitching appearance I've ever seen by a player not named Jeff Tam.

And then, when Frasor heroically defused the threat to take the game to extra innings, all I could think of was that eighteen inning game against the Angels last year, which I also had the pleasure of writing the game report for.

Argh, my fantasy team

How many of those were earned?

The heroes for the good guys

Aaron Hill and Russ Adams combined to knock in three runs (and Reed Johnson added another), and Jason Frasor successfully fended off the Angels in the bottom of the ninth and again in the tenth.

And with that, I can go to bed.
Jays take two of three from the Angels; Warren Sawkiw will not marry Julia Roberts | 86 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AWeb - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 03:19 AM EDT (#147148) #
That was an ugly game, and I was listening on the radio. Misplays, strategic screwups on both sides. Notably:

A squeeze? Did that really happen ? 8th inning, tie game at home, manager decides to try and be the hero. And fails. With a rookie catcher who has hit 60 homeruns the last two years in the minors, plus 2 homeruns in 25 major league at bats, and 4 in 50 Spring training at bats. Genius!  That's what good managers do to win ballgames, play their hunches. Like the bunt happy 7th inning? And the ninth inning too, that bunt worked...The Angels, well, mostly Scioscia,  were determined not to win this game by more than one run. And they succeeded. Good job Angels. Cudos all around.

Followed by the mysterious 9th inning bullpen use by Gibbons. Did that really happen? At this point, I was "watching" on the internet and following the Live chat here (Listening on the radio is nearly unbearable for an entire 9 inning game; by the way, in keeping with the game report, I would like to compliment Sawkiw on his hair), and suffice it to say Downs followed by Frasor raised a few eyebrows. In furious anger. But why use Ryan there? It was the most important situation possible in a ballgame. Oh, right. That seems like a good reason. Unlike Scoiscia, however, Gibbons didn't get burned in the end. And we can all agree that Ryan could not possibly have worked out any better than Frasor did. That doesn't make it a good decision!!  Calm down, "a bad decision is still bad even it it works out" contingent in my head, I agree with you, and BB doesn't need to have this conversation again. Especially with just me here. The wins all count the same in the end. So this one was just as good as yesterday's, if you didn't have to watch.

King Ryan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 03:42 AM EDT (#147150) #
I'm really surprised to read your comments about Mulliniks and Campbell, Aaron.  I like Mulliniks and think he's a fine broadcaster, but I believe that he and Campbell have almost no chemistry at all in the booth.  First of all, Rance appears to have very little sense of humor, which sometimes clashes with Campbell's fun-loving attitude.  Second, most of those question/answer little discussions seem really awkward.  If they don't plan out the questions in advance, maybe they should because usually it seems like Campbell will ask something and Rance will answer as if the question is stupid (and sometimes it is, to be fair.)

The worst part is that often times Jamie Campbell will say one thing, and then Rance will say something completely different and there will just be this awkward silence for about 5-10 seconds as neither really wants to argue.  It's not so much that they are contradictory, even, just that they don't really "flow" together, so to speak.  I'll give an example from last night's game: Aaron Hill hits a slow one to Figgins at third base and hustles down the line for a base hit.  Campbell mentions how quickly Hill was running and how "determined" he was to make it.  Then Rance makes a comment about Figgins waiting too much on the ball and not having a chance.  Jamie tried to steer the discussion back to Hill, commenting again on his hustle, but then Rance, again, went back to Figgins and talked about how he misjudged the ball. 

It wasn't exactly that they were contradicting each other, but it just didn't flow right and didn't sound like they were on the same page.  This happens all the time too.  I like Campbell mostly, and I really appreciate Rance's analysis (analysis != cliches), but I really don't think these two have any chemistry at all and it's sometimes painful to listen to.

As for the game itself.  I was going to talk about how Gibbons brought in Scott Downs instead of BJ Ryan, but quite frankly, even though we won the game, I am still far too angry about that to talk about it rationally.

R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 04:14 AM EDT (#147153) #

Well clearly over the course of 162 games, you need to be lucky as well as good.  The Jays played very poor defence tonight at times. 

Not to rag on Troy because he's a warrior but he looked really awkard at third base, maybe favouring that elbow.  Pretty much zero lateral range and no ability to dive for a ball since coming back from injury.  He was playing in on a bunt situation, was expecting it, and just did not seem to have the flexibility to get down low to pick the ball and make the throw to first in one motion.  Instead he slows up and casually picks it up.  Two on, nobody out.  He may need to spend a few games at DH until he heals completely.

Vernon Wells, determined to hold the runner to a single instead lets it get completely by his glove to allow  him to get all the way to third.  Losing a hand to save a finger.

And then the 9th.  Figgins leads off with a check swing infield single to third, Glaus pulling Overbay off the bag.  Murphy gets a "bunt single" as Troy playing in for the bunt somehow doesn't make the play.  So far Speier hasn't really done anything wrong but with a lefty due up you have a couple of options.  Walk them loaded to set up a force at each base and hope Speier can get a grounder at a drawn in infielder.  Or bring in your dominant closer who owns lefties to a ridiculous degree to face a lefty in a sudden death situation with nobody out.  I mean this is the ballgame, it doesn't get any higher leverage than this. 

But because of some insane, illogical convention about not using your closer in a tie ballgame on the road, you of course use secret third option, Scott Downs, your long man and third lefty.  He falls behind 3-1 to his hitter.  He has to come in with a fastball, he does in a good spot on the inner half and Kennedy makes contact.  It's flared to left but because of the drawn in outfield it's an easy out and Figgins can't come home.

After that first out, bringing in Frasor over Ryan is a bit more defensible as Frasor threw very well in the first game of the series and you have righties due up.  Still, Ryan certainly tends to strikeout a lot more hitters than Frasor.  And I bet he does better against righties than Frasor has even when going well.  Cabrera pops up a thigh high curve over the plate and that one play saves the game for the Jays as it allows them to walk Guerrero and pitch to Salmon who can be handled if no mistakes are made.  Jason didn't make any.

But let's face it, tonight was as much dumb luck as it was a "clutch" performance.  Sometimes you need that over a long season in the face of headscratching moves.  I mean Mike Scoscia won the World Series and he called a suicide squeeze with a young power hitter at the plate.  No-one makes the right call 100% of the time.  And even the wrong call can work out often enough.

Waveburner - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 06:30 AM EDT (#147154) #

Who the heck is this young catcher Napoli? How come all anyone talked about the last few seasons was Jeff Mathis if this guy was in their system as well? I'm not a great judge of catcher D, but if it's even somewhat close to Molina's he should be getting a lot more playing time. Seemed like a very selective hitter. How old is he? Does he have the potential to start? Any info is appreciated.

 

skippy23 - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#147155) #
I enjoy listening to Rance and Jamie. I think the awkwardness comes from Jamie's side. Guys, it's ok to disagree. I think Jamie stops because he realizes that Rance knows what he's talking about.

DaVinci Code thought: Thanks for putting it so bluntly. Too many people are taking a good story meant to SELL BOOKS and feeding their skepticism of church and life etc.
Chuck - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 08:48 AM EDT (#147156) #
Nothing much to add here. So why post at all? Because I stayed up and watched the whole damn game and it is my right!

I agree that I wish Mulliniks showed a bit of a sense of humour. I'm wondering if he think it would be unprofessional or, if he really doesn't have one.

With respect to the "lack of flow" between Mulliniks and Campbell alluded to above, I agree that there are instances of that. But I think it's often Campbell to blame, not Mulliniks. As much as I root for Campbell to make good on this relatively new job of his, he still often reveals some holes in his baseball knowledge. Aaron Hill did hustle on his groundball to Figgins, but Mulliniks was 100% right about Figgins making a mistake by retreating on the ball. And you didn't need the replay to see that -- as the play was developing in real time, it was clear what was happening, that Figgins was mesing up.  Mulliniks often has to "contradict" Campbell because, well, Campbell says a few too many wrong things (things that we'd jump all over Rob Faulds for). To Mulliniks' credit, he's very polite about it.

With respect to the 9th inning... aaarrgggh. Why not Ryan? Why not Ryan? Why not Ryan? Gibbons got lucky, very lucky.

And finally, Napoli. I looked him up in my copy of BP. He hits a lot of homeruns, walks a lot, and strikes out  a ton. And he only hit in the .230's in AA last year. Odd profile for someone asked to lay down a squeeze bunt. As the BP writers pointed out, he could be a Gene Tenace / Mickey Tettleton TTO kind of catcher if he can sustain a passable batting average.

Dave Till - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#147158) #
Hindsight is 20-20, of course, but I'm glad that the Jays brought Frasor in and not Ryan. B.J. worked yesterday, so he was probably not good to go two innings; if the Jays had scored less than four in the top of an inning, they could then have brought him in to work the bottom of the inning and pick up the save.

As it is, things could not have worked out better: Frasor has shown that he can pitch in a close game, and Ryan is rested for the Colorado series.

Craig B - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:05 AM EDT (#147159) #
NFH stole my thunder in the other thread, but since I went to all this trouble I may as well serve it up anyway : it's his birthday and I have a post in tribute to him over at my blog.  Also, I don't need to say this, but this was a funny Game Report.  Good on ya!
Chuck - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:09 AM EDT (#147160) #
In our bizarro world where the Left Behind franchise is soon to spawn a video game (no doubt preordained in scripture), why shouldn't everyone with a quill and some parchment sidle up to the trough and make as much money as they can spewing nonsense?

DaVinci Code, scholarly work or just a page-turning yarn? Doesn't matter. The controversy is hilarious and is making for greater entertainment than I fear the movie itself will. Lots of pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth... and belief systems so easily threatened.

This too shall pass. The world's attention will soon enough be refocused on more productive enterprises, like outing yet another teletubby or muppet.
Named For Hank - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:35 AM EDT (#147161) #
I like Mulliniks and think he's a fine broadcaster, but I believe that he and Campbell have almost no chemistry at all in the booth.  First of all, Rance appears to have very little sense of humor, which sometimes clashes with Campbell's fun-loving attitude.

While I'll agree that there are moments of awkwardness, I think that overall they're doing very well as a duo.  And I think that Campbell is beginning to draw Rance away from that gruffness a little, like with the Gaylord Perry story the other night -- Mullinicks started with a terse, "that's a silly question" answer, Campbell persisted with some potential examples, and Mullinicks relented, saying basically "those guys didn't wow me, but Gaylord Perry did".  I really enjoyed that exchange.

I also like that Mullinicks is unafraid to challenge Campbell about what just happened when they disagree.  A good broadcasting pair do not need to be lovey-dovey.

I think that I basically find myself identifying with Campbell -- I want to be the guy asking all these questions to someone who really knows the answers and is willing to share.
Craig B - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:43 AM EDT (#147163) #

I think that's what makes gv27 so engaging for me, is that he's much more like me than your typical play-by-play guy (as is Mike Wilner), and he lets his personality come out in the broadcast.  It makes me cringe sometimes, of course, because I know how callow it must seem to viewers who know more than me or who are older and less enthusiastic, less of a "fanboy" than I am.  But who cares?  I'd love to be the guy sitting with Rance and asking him for his insights.

It's refreshing to have a PBP guy who doesn't pretend to know it all.  It's even more refreshing to have a color man who doesn't pretend to know it all either.  Rance comments like he played... with humility, with understanding, and with care for the little things.

chips - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:46 AM EDT (#147164) #

For those who watched the game on TV last night may have notice when Halladay almost beaned Vlad in the head (not a purpose pitch). I was anticipating the subsequent pitch a big 12 to 6 curveball starting inside and that didn't happen. The next pitch caught the outside part of the plate and Vlad hit it for a run scoring single. I haven't seen many of those big hooking curve balls coming from Halladay this year. Has anybody noticed the same thing?

Jordan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 09:50 AM EDT (#147166) #
The Angels were not a happy bunch after last night's loss.
Jonny German - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#147167) #
THE JAYS MUST DEFEAT THE EVIL ROBOTS.
 
I know who they need! Yoshimi of the Japanese league!
 
Frasor heroically defused the threat to take the game to extra innings
 
There's something about Frasor that makes me believe in things like clutch performers and closer mentality. I was at an extra-inning game in Detroit last August, and the vibe from watching him pitch was total confidence. Speier is the Jays second-best reliever as far as I'm concerned, but Frasor is balls. Hooray for the successful "find yourself" stint in Syracuse.
 
That said, I didn't experience this particular game live. If I had, I'm sure I'd also have been fraught over the bullpen management.
budgell - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#147168) #

The preacher asked her
And she said I do
The preacher asked me
And she said yes he does too
And the preacher said
I pronounce you 99 to life
Son she's no lady she's your wife

I can see both sides of the rance Mulliniks argument but how can you not like Lyle Lovett?

CaramonLS - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#147169) #
Count me in as loving Campbell/Rance over Tabler.

Rance isn't quite as polished yet, so I think the best is yet to come, I beleive he'll talk a little more on air and Jamie will do a better job of lobbing some nice questions his way.  Sorry, I just can't stand "I love to hear the sound of my own voice Tabler", Rance clearly beats him in terms of content and quality.

Rance will get better, Tabler wont.

Nigel - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#147171) #

I love listening to Rance because he is the one commentator out of the rotating group who really provides some baseball insight.  His discussion of the approach to hitting Rodriguez last night in the 10th inning was fascinating as it played out with first the Rios at bat at then the Hill at bat.   As Rios stood looking at a 2-0 fastball (albeit in a good spot) there was an audible hrrmph from Mullinicks (he'd spent the last 30 seconds saying you needed to be aggressive with Rodriguez's fastball in hitting counts because his curve was essentially unhittable in other counts).  He then praised Hill for his aggressive first swing at a borderline fastball and commented on how that was the right approach - followed by Hill crushing the next fasball.   I felt like I was in the mind of a hitting coach at the time.   It was a very rare window into a true baseball mind as it happened.

Mike Green - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#147172) #

Winning ugly is a mark of a good club.  It is entirely appropriate that the Photo of the Day is a completely unflattering shot of the Cat (who is usually reasonably photogenic). 

It would be nice if Gibbons could give the Dude a little more work, especially in Colorado against the righties.  It is likely that he will be needed later in the season, and he will perform better if he doesn't have to shake off the rust.  On the other hand, the time has come to pass the torch back from McDonald to Adams.  This team's success in 2006 will depend on the growth of Adams, Hill and Rios.  Rios has taken a step forward, and if one of Adams or Hill can, as well, this club has a reasonable chance to be right there in September.

R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#147175) #

Hindsight is 20-20, of course, but I'm glad that the Jays brought Frasor in and not Ryan. B.J. worked yesterday, so he was probably not good to go two innings; if the Jays had scored less than four in the top of an inning, they could then have brought him in to work the bottom of the inning and pick up the save.

As it is, things could not have worked out better: Frasor has shown that he can pitch in a close game, and Ryan is rested for the Colorado series.

See I've never understood this line of thinking.  When is it more important to have your best reliever who has been among the baseball leaders in strikeout rate over the last few years?  In a tie game situation where giving up even a medium flyball means the game is over and you lose?  Or in a situation where you have a lead of 1 to 3 runs and you have some margin for error without losing the game?

In other words, wouldn't you rather have Frasor pitching in a  situation where he can afford to give up a run or two rather than one where he can't afford to have the opposing hitter even make half decent contact?  Who cares if Ryan can't pitch in the save situation if you potentially lose the game before the situation even presents itself?  The Jays would have been fortunate even if they did call Ryan to get out of it as Glaus could not make two plays to lead off the inning.  But just because it worked out against steep odds doesn't make it logical not to call on Ryan there.

5hoursahead - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#147177) #
The best baseball website ever

NFH - I couldn't agree more. As a Firefox user, mlb.com is even more frustrating because half of their flashy gimmicks don't work at all. I have a Blackberry (through work) and mlb.com/mobile is a truly wonderful example of something that delivers exactly what it needs to, really well.

It's particularly good for me as I can see what's happened in the early games and early innings before going to bed (at about midnight UK time).
Hodgie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#147178) #

I find it funny that Gibbons is getting lambasted in this thread over his decision not to use Ryan in the 9th last night. A recent article (I believe over at BP, I will have to try and find it) recently illustrated that over the course of the last two seasons, Gibbons has used his closer in more unorthodox situations than any other manager in the game by a wide margin.

Without the advantage of "Being John Gibbons", and with the question not having been broached, no one outside of the Jays coaching staff probably knows for certain why the Downs-Frasor sequence was the choice du' jour. Perhaps it was based on pitcher/batter splits or perhaps it was just a hunch. Regardless, I have no problem extending the benefit of the doubt to a manager that has proved more innovative than sterotypical with his closers.

Railing against the decision without knowing the basis for that decision is pointless. Would Scioscia's usage of K-Rod in a tie game in the tenth inning be lauded as logical or inspired in this thread; and if so how did that work out for him?

Geoff - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#147179) #
I've learned two things here:
  1. NFH does great game reports after a few days of sleep deprivation caused by west coast games and little early risers.
  2. Lyle Lovett is the rally monkey for the Blue Jays.

rtcaino - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:35 PM EDT (#147180) #
That was such an exciting game. I was on the ceiling when we got out of those jams. And when Hill hit that base hit, wow.

In regards to the Frasor decision, I know at the time it was not a popular choice. Many would call the fact that it actually worked out as a fortunate outcome, or even lucky. And I do see where people who would say that are coming from. If you put Frasor into a game with one out and runners on first and third (though for all intents and purposes, it was second and third), will he consistently be able to pitch himself out of that? I would say probably not.

However on this day he did. In the eternal struggle between batter and pitcher, he won his match ups. I believe it was Craig B who recently mentioned the momentary fluctuations in performance level from day to day, pitch to pitch. Last night, Frasorís performance level was about as well as good as one could reasonably expect Frasorís performance level to be on any given day. It wasnít his greatest outing, but it was certainly above average. And because of that above average performance, we won a ball game.  

However, the thing that really impressed me was not the ďclutchnessĒ of Frasor, or the good fortune the Jays received. But what impressed me was John Gibbons faith in Frasor. If the Jays are going to be successful this year, Jason Frasor is going to have to play in many high leverage situations. Itís inevitable that over 162 games, your third best (non loogy) reliever is going to have to pitch out of some tight situations.   

And I mean that was a ballsy decision. As it stands now, Frasor still sports a WHIP of 1.77 and an ERA of 8.31. That shows a lot of faith on the part of Gibbons. Inside joke for the live chatters: Last night Gibbons was Balls Man.
budgell - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#147182) #

Lyle Lovett is the rally monkey for the Blue Jays.

Monkey might be little harsh but that is one sorry lookin' dude!

Magpie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#147183) #
From his first album, the verses that convinced me that Lyle Lovett and I had a long future together...

And who keeps on loving you
When you've been lying
Saying things ain't what they seem
God does
But I don't
God will
But I won't
And that's the difference
Between God and me

I wanted Ryan in the bottom of the ninth too, to preserve the tie and get the game into overtime. Then we can see Downs or Walker or whoever...

R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:47 PM EDT (#147184) #

If Scoscia believes K-Rod is his best reliever then it absolutely makes sense for him to pitch in a ballgame where next run likely wins.  He did perfectly fine the first inning and could only record one out in the second inning though he K'ed Rios in a big situation.  I don't think it's a bad thing to lose with your best.  Although Shields statistically has been a better pitcher this year and it may have made more sense to go with him for another inning or two before calling on K-Rod.  This wasn't a great game for Scioscia either.

But if Ryan wasn't available to come in then why was he completely warmed up and ready to come in should the game have been a save situation?  Why was he being saved for a lower leverage situation while leaving a more difficult situation to lesser relievers?  I'm just saying this doesn't make logical sense.  Ryan would have come into the game to get a "save" had the Jays scored less than 4 runs.  But why would he be needed more in that situation than in the 9th?

Flex - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:57 PM EDT (#147189) #
You understand that's a distorted photo. Lovett ain't Cary Grant, but he's not that ugly.
Chuck - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#147190) #
Regardless, I have no problem extending the benefit of the doubt to a manager that has proved more innovative than sterotypical with his closers.

His innovation takes the form of sometimes bring his closer (Batista last year, Ryan this year) into the game in the 8th inning. Let's not get carried away here. He's not exactly splicing genes out there.

Would Scioscia's usage of K-Rod in a tie game in the tenth inning be lauded as logical or inspired in this thread; and if so how did that work out for him?

It was the proper move to make since it gave his team the best chance of winning. That it didn't work doesn't change things. Most often, such a move will work.

Last night, Frasorís performance level was about as well as good as one could reasonably expect Frasorís performance level to be on any given day.

Yes, it was the best Frasor could be expected to pitch. The thing is, that's the best any pitcher could be expected to pitch. What should have motivated Gibbons' decision was not whether a given pitcher, pitching his very best, could have succeeded in the 9th. Rather, he should have selected the pitcher most likely to succeed in the 9th, pitching at his norm. And there's no way that's not Ryan.

And I refuse to accept that Gibbons was so in tune with Downs' and Frasor's mental and physical states as to be able to conclude that they, and not Ryan, were the better candidates for the job. It was not a save situation, hence no Ryan. I think it's as simple as that.

And I mean that was a ballsy decision.

Ballsy because it worked. Had it not worked, perhaps a less flattering adjective would be used. You pay a guy $9M a year for 70 innings. Why wouldn't you use him in the highest leverage situation imaginable? Sometimes common sense has to trump ballsy.
jjdynomite - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:10 PM EDT (#147193) #

... Funny Aaron, re-listening to your radio clip reminds me of the painful hours spent in traffic jams on Leslie for two years before I got my downtown job. ;-)

Anyway, William Houston, the Globe & Mail media guy, had a column in Wednesday's Globe (you may need to do a "William Houston" search in Google News instead of accessing the article directly via this link).  Jamie talks about how he views each of his partners: Tabler "the consummate pro", Fletcher "the funny man" and Mulliniks "the deep thinker".

Now, it's great to have booth diversity, but I feel that for all of Rance's knowledge, his humourlessness to me is as tiresome as Tabler's talkativeness.  I know Jamie's still a young guy, but it would be great to bring out some whimsy in Rance, some seriousness in Fletch and some studiousness in Tabler (if the latter is at all possible).  What I love about Mike Wilner is that he brings all three to the table, although in an easier and less-pressurized format (JaysTalk post game and open mike show as opposed to in-game commentary).

BTW, I'm impressed at all you Bauxites who posted at 3:00 AM; I fell asleep on the couch after the Jays scored their 4th run. Thursday's are especially tough during work weeks and accumulated sleep deprivation from the two previous late night games.

Jonny German - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:19 PM EDT (#147195) #
There is absolutely no way dealing with the idiots who call in to Jays Talk night after night  with the same stupid ideas and total lack of knowledge is easier than in-game commentary. And on a couple occassions when there have been technical difficulties with the play-by-play broadcast on the road, Wilner has sounded great calling the play-by-play while watching it on TV.
Jordan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#147196) #

Fun with schedules....

The Jays have lost back-to-back games only twice this season, and not at all since May 1. Imagine if they'd had a reliable strating rotation.

They're just about through their brutal opening schedule, too. Six of their remaining 12 games in May are against teams with better records than them (the BoSox and ChiSox). In June, only 6 of their 27 games are against teams with better records, and I'm not at all convinced the Tigers and Mets are better than the Blue Jays.

The Yankees and Red Sox will have a similar run, of course, but the Jays could still hit Canada Day with a .600 winning percentage by going 24-15 in that span. With 20 of those 39 games against sub-.500 teams, that's the time for the Jays to make a move.

Mike D - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:25 PM EDT (#147198) #

It was not a save situation, hence no Ryan.  I think it's as simple as that.

Chuck, I don't think this is fair or accurate and I disagree strongly with it.  B.J. has been stretched out on several occasions, as you acknowledge, and he's mopped up with some large leads.  But on four occasions already this year, he's been used without a lead -- three times to preserve close deficits (vs TB, BOS and NYY), plus the Boston game in which he pitched the ninth and tenth of a 6-6 game.

Believe me, I also wanted to see B.J., especially when he called for Downs.  And this move is definitely open to context-specific criticism -- hell, it was the wrong move.  But Gibbons has more than earned the right not to labeled too dumb or too encumbered by usage conventions such that the thought of bringing in B.J. Ryan didn't occur to him.  The next time he enters in a tie game, will Gibbons get credit?  And the time after that, when he doesn't enter in a tie game, will Gibbons again suddenly become an unthinking slave to the save?

My point is that Gibby is, manifestly, open to non-traditional use of his closer.  His track record this season proves it.

jjdynomite - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:27 PM EDT (#147199) #
... Jonny, I guess I meant that upon listening to the 29th caller of the night saying "Towers Sucks" and "Glaus can't hit in pressure situations", Wilner can prepare pithy and knowledgeable responses better than Rance hedging awkwardly when Jamie asks him who his pitching idol was.  But for sure, Wilner's in-game work is also great.  Wilner >>>> Sawkiw. 
Jordan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:28 PM EDT (#147200) #

Sorry, they've lost consecutive games three times. But none since May Day.

Jonny German - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:32 PM EDT (#147201) #
Fair enough, JJ. What impresses me is that Wilner never gets too pithy, never lets the callers push him into outright insulting them. I sure couldn't do it.
Chuck - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#147204) #
Mike, I agree that Gibbons has not always shown slave-to-the-save tendencies and I'm grateful for that. I was just talking about last night's game.

Ryan was available, so that's clearly not why he wasn't brought in in the 9th (he was warming up in the pen to "save" the Jays 10th inning lead had it not exceeded 3 runs). And while I concede that I am being more presumptuous about this than I should, what possible rationale, absent the non-save situation, could Gibbons possibly offer to defend his 9th inning decisions?



King Ryan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#147205) #
Mike D:  In all those situations where Gibbons brought in Ryan for a non-save situation, how many times was Ryan "in need of work?"  It seems to me that sometimes Gibbons will bring out Ryan in a non-save situation, but it's always because Ryan hasn't pitched in a week and is "collecting dust."  Last night disappointed me immensely, because it was a true test for Gibbons to show he's capable of thinking logically and not falling back on "conventional wisdom."  A tie game on the road in the ninth inning, AND Ryan pitched the night before, so he's not "in need of work."  Perfect time for Gibbons to show he's a free-thinker, so to speak.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed that he didn't bring out Ryan, and while I don't know Gibbons's motives for certain, I am fairly sure that his decision was based on the fact that Ryan pitched last night so he's only available for "save situations," which of course is silly.

I know I don't need to explain this to most of you, but I'm going to anyways.  Gibbons had two options:  either use Ryan to get out of a big jam in the 9th, and then let Frasor/Downs pitch for the "save" if the Jays take the lead, or do what he did.  Clearly Ryan is a better pitcher than Frasor/Downs, so isn't it better to use him for the tougher of the two situations? Isn't it better to use Frasor/Downs with a lead than it is in a tie game? 

There is no excuse for having your $10M dominant closer sit on the bench in the most crucial part of the game, because you are "saving" him for an EASIER situation that might not even come.

Now, as for Rance/Jamie.  I just want to stress again that I like both commentators, but I don't think they go well together.  I think that Darren Fletcher is a better fit for Campbell, personally.  But of course it's still early.  Rance and Jamie still have time to develop some chemistry, hopefully.

Oh and Waveburner: Mike Napoli can hit homeruns, but that's basically it.  He might develop into a catching version of Rob Deer, or, more likely, he will become Sal Fasano.

R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#147211) #

Rance has always been a serious kind of guy.  I remember games where his teammates would love to give him a hard time after he did something significant and he could sometimes be caught rolling his eyes or staring skywards as if he was dealing with children (though that probably wasn't far off the mark in some cases).  I actually find him the most fun to listen to because he really seems aware of the game situation and makes fairly relevant comments rather than providing the stock baseball answer.  If it means we miss out on a bit of banter I'm willing to live with it.

Magpie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#147214) #
In all those situations where Gibbons brought in Ryan for a non-save situation, how many times was Ryan "in need of work?

Well, that's easy enough to figure out!

Ryan has only made 8 appearances that were not in save situations. I think it's safe to say that roughly half were excuses to get him some work, and half were driven by the game situation. Sometimes both at the same time...

9 April - Get Work/Game - Ryan had two days rest. Doc lost it in the eighth of a 2-2 game, allowing 3 runs and loading the bases with one out. Ryan pitched out of that jam, but didn't come out for the ninth.

12 April - Get Work - Ryan had two days rest. He worked the ninth in an 8-4 win.

18 April - Get Work - Ryan had four days rest. He worked the inth in a 10-5 win.

19 April - Game - Ryan had pitched the previous day, but worked the ninth with the Jays trailing by two runs.

21 April - Game - Ryan had one day of rest. He worked the ninth and tenth in a tie game.

23 April - Game - Ryan had one day of rest. With a run in to put the Jays down 5-3 in the eighth, with two men on with none, Ryan pitched out of the jam, but didn't come out for the ninth.

26 April - Get Work. Ryan had two days of rest. He worked the ninth in an 8-2 win.

14 May - Get Work. Ryan had three days rest. He finished the ninth in an 8-3 win.

As for his nine saves, three of them required that he pitch more than the now customary single inning, two of them required less than an inning. Which leaves four conventional single inning saves.


King Ryan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#147215) #
OK, that's interesting Magpie.  However: conventional wisdom states that it's OK to bring in your closer in a non-save situation if you're at home.  The logic here is that if you take the lead, you win the game, so you don't need to "save" him to protect the lead after.  This is why Mike Scoscia brought in K-Rod last night, not because he was going against CW, but because he was at home, and that's "okay." 

Every single one of those situations where he came into a tie game was with the team at home.  So that still doesn't prove much.  I do applaud Gibbons for the times he let BJ pitch more than one inning, however.

Geoff - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 03:29 PM EDT (#147217) #
As I understood it, Gibbons didn't want to bring in B.J. for more than one inning so as not to overwork him. And somebody would have to come back and pitch the bottom of the following inning if B.J. came in with a tie game.

Joanna put it well above: Ryan is the centerpiece, but he isn't the entire bullpen. If the management decides that Ryan ought to be limited to one inning today, then which inning will he come in at: the one where the Jays must desperately hold off losing the lead vs. Cabrera and Salmon; or the one where they must preserve the lead (and who knows how many innings until that point? As it turned out, B.J. warmed up once they got the lead but wasn't needed after Vlad botched that catch. If Gibbons wasn't trying to conserve the use of Ryan, he would have brought him in with a four-run lead.

Clearly, he wanted to rest his closer until he was needed to preserve a lead. The rest of the bullpen had to do their part, and he probably knew better that Frasor was not the Frasor of April coming into the game but the Frasor of the last half of 2005.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone's noticed but Downs has been fantastic for the last month. Move over, Schoeneweis, there's a new Loogy in town.


R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 03:33 PM EDT (#147218) #

At some point, Frasor would have to face a high-pressure situation, and you'd rather find out sooner than later if he can do it.  It was a crazy game, you'd split the series so far, Ryan had worked the night before, why not throw Frasor in to see if he's got his stuff back?  And if things don't work out and he loses it, well, now somebody else will be your number three guy.

I agree that at some point Frasor will have to face some pressure situations if he's going to pitch regularly.  But there are degrees of pressure situations.  If you're trying to compete against two powerful teams in your division you want to lock up every win you can.  Now is not the time to experiment when you don't have to.  And he didn't go to Frasor first, he went to Downs who was very lucky to record that out the way he did.

One night ago, Janssen had completed 8 innings of two hits, no walks on 88 pitches and had a 3 run lead.  Gibbons could have said "now's a good time to see if this rookie has the stuff to pitch a complete game".  But he didn't.  He played it safe and gave Ryan a save in a relatively easy situation.

One night later in a much more difficult situation, with the game and the three game series on the line, Gibbons decides that Ryan won't pitch in the biggest jam of the game for the Jays?  Probably the biggest jam they've faced all year?  Now is the time to see if Downs and Frasor have the stuff?  I don't buy that.  I think Ryan wasn't in there because Gibbons did not want to use him more than one inning and wanted to save him for a save situation which never came.  Because if Ryan entered that situation and managed to wriggle out, he might have eventually had to give a save opportunity to a pitcher not named Ryan which is apparently unthinkable.  Much better to take an immense risk in losing the game now.

Or put another way, John Gibbons chose to run across a busy highway with both eyes closed rather than choose to do so with one eye open.  You don't want to find yourself in either situation to tell the truth but if you do, I would think you would give yourself every opportunity you can to survive.  Running across that highway with both eyes closed could be considered ballsy or brave but I think most would consider it for what it is...insane.  Whether you actually made it across or not is not the point.

King Ryan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 03:34 PM EDT (#147219) #
That makes no sense to me, still.

If you're "preserving" Ryan, then don't use him at all.  How does it make sense to bring him in with a three run lead (like Gibbons was going to,) but not in a tie game? In which situation is he more "needed?" I think that Frasor could preserve a three-run lead just fine. 

King Ryan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#147220) #
My previous comment was directed at Geoff, of course.

R Billie just posted the analogy of the month.

Geoff - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#147221) #
Frasor probably could have preserved a three-run lead but would have certainly gotten the hook for a one- or two-run lead. But that's the curse the game suffers by being driven by statistics. The image a pitcher gets according two how many saves he has, and if there's an opportunity for a save and Ryan is available, he comes in just for that reason and not because it is a tense situation where he's needed. Ryan was getting ready to go once Lyle lead off with a double (Overbay, not Lovett).

It's probably not sensible to conserve Ryan with a four-run lead when a three-run lead would necessitate his use, but then maybe 'save situation' should be defined as a lead of two rather than three runs, or the stat-loving freaks out there should be abolished from the game. It's a terrible excuse to bring in your best bullpen arm (to chalk up another stat, that is), and if it was only one or two runs Ryan would appear so much more important but in the end, three outs is three outs. They'll come in situations with a lot of pressure, humongous pressure, unbearable pressure, and even deafening pressure, and B.J. can't be expected to do them all.

Gibbons believed that Frasor was back to his old form and was prepared for this situation (though he'll never know if a player will succeed, only prepared). He trusted that Frasor was as reliable as anyone. He's probably got info from his coaches on Frasor's recent work, his make-up, his preparedness. Then using Downs as a Loogy against Kennedy before Frasor enters isn't a bad idea given how he's been cruising. I'm frankly surprised that he stuck with Speier (who is on my fantasy team, which makes me a stat-loving freak) given his uncharacteristic struggles with control these past few weeks. But he has a sub-2.00 ERA so nobody complains about the decision to use Speier.

Gibbons might have brought in Rosario but probably didn't want to put the kid to that pressure yet. But now that Frasor has done something for the Jays lately, will there be a lot of second-guessing when he comes in next? Does he need a couple months of sub-2.00 ERA before he is expected in close situations with a tie game?

Mike Green - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 04:08 PM EDT (#147222) #
You know, with Ryan being "The Man", as well as the closer, perhaps the theme song for today should be Lyle Lovett's version of  "Stand by Your Man" from the end of The Crying Game.
R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 04:21 PM EDT (#147230) #

There is a difference between a pressure situation in a tie game and a pressure situation where if the hitter hits the ball more than 150 feet the game is over.  This isn't about trusting Frasor or Speier or anything like that.  It's about doing the most logical thing to keep your team in the game in any given situation.

There's a runner 90 feet away and nobody out.  If he advances in any fashion the game is over and you lose.  The easiest way to prevent him advancing is through strikeouts.  You have a guy who over the last three years has been one of the two or three best strikeout relievers in baseball.  If this is not his situation then what is?

Let's put it another way.  Instead of that flare out Downs got off Kennedy, what if the ball had arced one way or another and fallen in for the game winning hit.  Are you telling me you would not be wondering why Scott Downs was facing that sudden death situation while the most dominating lefthanded pitcher in baseball was sitting down hoping his team didn't lose the game on the next pitch?  Or if Cabrera had hit that curveball a couple of millimetres higher and and sent it over the drawn in outfield for the game winning hit instead of a pop up you wouldn't be wondering why the Jays best reliever by a country mile was watching while lesser relievers could not get out of an immensely difficult situation?

The Jays got lucky, EXTREMELY lucky that they got out of that situation and the above two questions were not even more front and centre in this topic than they are now.  There was a game situation which cried out for them using the very best pitcher they had and they did not use him just in case an easier game situation came up later on where they WOULD use him.  This is just extremely bizarro logic.

Chuck - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#147241) #
The Jays can't run out BJ every time a game is on the line.  If they do, come September BJ will be tired and the rest of the bullpen won't be battle tested enough to take the reins.

They could save him from being overused by using someone else in games with 3-run leads. Maybe our beloved battle tested Frasor and Downs. Certainly they could by counted on to hold the opposition to an ERA of 18.00 or less for an inning.

But, but, but... what about the save, that ridiculous and arbitrary statistic that is the tail wagging the dog?

The wait continues for the first organization that is progressive enough to no longer employ the self-defeating logic of engineering situations where their closer can accumulate saves, as if he were some crazed PacMan.
R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 04:52 PM EDT (#147242) #

Ryan wasn't tired.  He's pitched sporadically recently with the starters going deep many times.  He pitched yesterday's save and was fully prepared to come in and pitch an inning today if and only if he was going to get an S next to his name at the end of the game.  Why does using him when you absolutely need strikeouts constitute wearing him out in May while using him if the Jays get the lead does not constitute wearing him out?

And as Ryan said, games won in May count equally to games won in September.  Every game you don't win now means another one you have to win later in the year.  Every game you lose now makes your job that much harder as the season progresses.  This is as much crunch time as later in the year is...if the Jays miss the post-season by a couple of games they can easily look back on that 0-7 start by Towers and wonder.

williams_5 - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 05:00 PM EDT (#147243) #

Relief issues aside for a second (BJ should have been strolling out when the door opened and Downs emerged), I enjoyed reading this quote (obtained from the Yahoo recap):

"John was a little careful with the middle of their lineup," pitching coach Bud Black said. "He pitched Troy overly careful and he was careful with Wells also. I think John knew that he was going to be a tight game with Halladay, so he tried to make -- I wouldn't say perfect pitches, but he was really thinking about not leaving the ball in the middle of the plate. And a lot of times when you do that, you end up coming out of your game a little bit."

Wow, he's actually talking about the middle of the Jays lineup. Its been a few years.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/recap?gid=260518103

Geoff - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#147244) #
Since you like the running across the highway analogy.

Gibbons is running across the busy highway and can keep his right eye open for only thirty seconds. And he can keep his left eye open for only twenty-five seconds. At one point, the traffic is coming at him from the left and then it will be coming at him from the right. He'd like to use both eyes all the time, but unfortunately he can only use one at a time and he can't use them indefinitely. When he wants an extra boost, he can raise a spectacle to his left eye, but it's been used a lot lately and it could damage if used too much, which would be a shame because it's such a great asset. Now does he use the spectacle right away to avoid the cars that could kill him on impact or does he wait until he gets close enough to the other side, where he doesn't have to worry about extending its use too far because he'll be close enough to make it to the end?

King Ryan - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 05:12 PM EDT (#147245) #
Well, maybe he shouldn't have wasted his spectacle the night before when it was midnight and there were no cars coming.
Chuck - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#147246) #
John Gibbons isn't Jack Bauer. His life is much simpler. He's got his ace reliever, fully rested, raring to go and he elects not to employ him in an incredibly high leverage situation.
R Billie - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#147247) #

Well if he was smart he'd use the spectacle right away because the traffic immediately in front of him was full speed and dense.  If he doesn't make it past that very difficult traffic flow it won't matter that he saved his asset.  A dead man has no use for a spectacle.  And there's a very good chance that the traffic will be lighter later on...maybe not much lighter but it would be very hard to find another patch just as difficult to navigate. 

Sometimes you have to ask yourself, is it possible to find a situation any worse for me than this one is right now?  It might be ambiguous in the traffic situation but last night was not ambiguous.  Runner on third, nobody out, when that runner means the end of the game with no chance to tie, is the worst tight game situation you are ever going to find yourself in in the game of baseball.  If your best asset should not be used there then I'm very confused about how the game works.

Mike D - Friday, May 19 2006 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#147255) #

This has been an enjoyable discussion.  I still believe, though, that although I thought this was the wrong move, I agree with the sentiment that John Gibbons deserves the benefit of the doubt as a free-thinker.  I can't accept the premise that he wanted to use him but felt he had to save him for a potential save situation.  Gibbons knows better than to fall into that trap, and it's simply not realistic to assume that he doesn't.

By the way, King Ryan, the blame's on me.  I am unfortunately unable to do the Advance Scout column (or any work as a Batter's Box author) this year.  My apologies to the community.

Named For Hank - Wednesday, October 11 2006 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#156858) #
How many months later is it?  I have an answer to my own question:

Vlad has just been intentionally walked to load up the bases with two outs, as Halladay tries to work his way out of a jam; Tim Salmon pops one foul on the first base side, and as Overbay runs for it, a press photographer gets out of the way. The guy has a radio transmitter used for triggering a remote flash on his camera -- what the hell is he doing with that?

He's triggering a second camera in a remote location, likely near the batter, attached to the screen that protects the first few rows of spectators.

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