Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Burying the Lead
2007-10-02 12:47
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Here's why you shouldn't write game recaps immediately after returning from jubilant playoff-clinching celebrations: you forget to mention, like, the biggest play that happened in the whole game.

On the subject of the Matt Holliday play at the plate: My opinion isn't worth much. I was sitting in the right-field boxes, so while I had an excellent angle to see Brian Giles release his throw (a bit of a lollipop, but it got there), I had no perspective at all on Holliday and Michael Barrett meeting at home. The first thing my dad said when I called him walking to my car, before "hello" even, was "He didn't touch the plate!" Having seen the replay from all... two of the angles those crack TBS camera teams captured, I can't tell either way. It doesn't look like he got in there, but maybe he tapped the dish with a fingertip or something. The umpire sure seemed certain, but there are a lot of theories raging out there on the blogosphere; some blame home-field psychology, some blame conspiracy. But if the umps were really afraid or instructed to let the Rockies lose at Coors Field, why did they squeeze their pitchers on the strike zone calls and take a homer away from Garrett Atkins? It's silly.

Plays like this are, I think obviously, exactly why it's great that baseball doesn't have instant replay. As a lot of people who called me jealously this morning reminded, (regular season) baseball might be the last American team game that hasn't completely sold its soul as a live experience to the TV gods. The game was grind-your-teeth tense for 13 innings and then it ended suddenly with an explosive play at home plate. That's how it ought to be. It would have been a disservice to how perfectly fate shaped the Rockies' season to end it with a 15-minute delay.

2007-10-02 14:18:58
1.   Jon Weisman
I sort of felt bad that Holliday's daze tempered the celebration.
2007-10-02 14:27:58
2.   Ali Nagib
1 - Yeah, in the time it took the umps to go under the hood, Holliday could have gotten patched up and actually participated when they came back and said "after further review, the play stands" and the party started.
2007-10-02 14:38:38
3.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Yeah, the late call and Holliday being out of it and bleeding kinda put a damper on the all-out free-for-all I was expecting, but still better than waiting for a replay.

Meanwhile, it's "lede" not "lead" in proper newspaper parlance.

2007-10-02 14:56:40
4.   Xeifrank
Was Atkin's hit really a home run? From the replays it looked like it hit the yellow line/padding on the top of the wall, which must have had something hard underneath it and carromed the ball back onto the field. I read on another blog that the ball hit a wheelchair and bounced back on the field. I must admit I didn't study the instant replays really well, but it looked like it hit the yellow line and bounced back in play. It looked like the granny that was standing next to where the ball landed, placed her finger on the top of the yellow line, as if to show where the ball hit. Did others really see it as a clear home run? I am not trying to argue, just curious.
vr, Xei
2007-10-02 15:08:50
5.   blue22
4 - It appeared to me that it hit a short pole just behind the yellow line. I don't remember whether it bounced first on the line, and then hit the pole, or the pole directly on the fly. It appeared to be pretty obvious to me that it went over the fence and came back though.

Is it a park-specific ground rule as to whether the yellow line is a homerun or in play?

2007-10-02 15:19:01
6.   Xeifrank
MLB needs to do something about these ballparks that have these confusing home run markers. By confusing I mean yellow lines with obstacles right behind them. And don't make it so the fans can reach over and interfere with a ball hit off the top portion of the wall. vr, Xei
2007-10-02 16:05:48
7.   dzzrtRatt
6 How come a virtual golf setup in a sporting goods store can tell you where your drive landed, but we can't electronically determine if a ball is on one side or the other of a line?

But Mark, overall I agree with you. Compare it to the Cal/Oregon game last Saturday, during which neither team knew what to feel until a laborious "review" of the Oregon fumble was completed. Baseball is in the moment.

Besides, instant replay would destroy the manager-arguing-with-the-ump theatrics. I saw a doozy in Baltimore in a meaningless game. Instant replay would've meant the ump could have just sat in the dugout and make a signal to request a replay. The decision would have been made and he never would've had a chance to perform.

Notably, in this case, Bud Black not only didn't argue, he agreed with the ump's call and said so.

2007-10-02 16:11:23
8.   bhsportsguy
Congrats, no matter what happens from this point on, you will always have last night to remember.

Right now, Trevor Hoffman would trade everyone of his saves for just one pitch on Saturday.

2007-10-03 00:15:03
9.   Vishal
6 in tennis the machines can tell whether a ball is a fault or not.
2007-10-03 08:21:12
10.   dianagramr

ahhh .... but tennis has uniformity of playing field dimensions

in baseball, you'd have to tailor the sensors to every nook and cranny of an outfield wall (though sensors WOULD potentially work for fair/foul calls in the field of play)

2007-10-03 10:46:38
11.   Xeifrank
9. Not sure how that helps in determining whether a ball was a home run or not. :)
vr, Xei

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