Saturday, April 17, 2010

On capturing a baseball game with a camera, and the injustice of usual scoring

Notes on a baseball game from the notepad beside my score card.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim @ Toronto Blue Jays, Game 2

RP Joe Saunders for LAA - SP Brian Tallet for TOR.

Rogers Centre, 1:07 PM, Saturday April 17th. 2010

Attendance: 17,187

Line ups

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

  1. E Aybar SS
  2. H Kendrick 2B
  3. T Hunter CF
  4. H Matsui DH
  5. K Morales 1B
  6. J Rivera LF
  7. M Napoli C
  8. B Wood 3B
  9. R Willits RF

Toronto Blue Jays

  1. M McCoy 2B
  2. A Gonzalez SS
  3. A Lind LF
  4. V Wells CF
  5. L Overbay 1B
  6. J Bautista RF
  7. R Ruiz DH
  8. J Molina C
  9. J McDonald 3B

Note 1

Rogers television production director and camera crew (accidentally) recorded the Jays defence configuration on a play in the 3rd:

Tori Hunter hits a fair ball skipping down the left field line to the foul corner; while left fielder Adam Lind is retrieving the ball - short stop Alex Gonzales goes out into shallow left as the cut off man for the throw - John McDonald goes to the short stop position between the ball, Gonzales, and the 2nd base bag, as deep cut off - first baseman Lyle Overbay follows the batter-runner from 1st and covers 2nd.

Although close ups on the beautiful players makes them look like superhuman gods -- and sells stuff -- once in a while a less difficult wide shot tells so much more of the story. It also shows kids watching that their coach is cool - because that's the play they learned too.

Note 2

Brandon Wood gets an error as John McDonald's stealing third on the pitch. The ball is struck and shoots down the third base line, Wood is there -- but he's betwixt and between with his foot work, he's thinking he can make the catch, tag McDonald on the way by and throw to first for the double play. It's a good idea, in rec ball I would have done the same thing (at about a quarter of the speed). Instead of doing any of that he ends up flat footed, kind of in a catcher's crouch, fielding the ball not in front of it, but with his glove across his body to his right -- the ball skips high over his glove and down the line into left field. McDonald scores, the batter-runner is safe at second.

Note 3

On the very next play Alex Gonzales hits the ball right at Wood again, (how rude, Wood was still thinking about his foot work on the previous play!). Wood gathers the ball into the middle of his body after it skips off the heal of his glove on a funny hop, he finds the handle (his foot work is all messed up) and throws to first -- it's skips in the dirt but it's on line, it's there, any first baseman will tell you it should have been caught, but first baseman Kendry Morales appears to step into the throw before he knows where it's going - and, as he tries to adjust, he simply falls on his bum! The throw heads out to right field - Gonzales to second. It's scored E-5 throwing but I'd say it should have been E-3.

Note 4

So wood gets two errors on two plays in a row. (It seems to gets easier to call an error after the first time you call one.) Sportsnet's play-by-play announcer Buck Martinez argued at the time of the first error, that the ball didn't touch Woods glove, so therefore no error -- while that's a rule of thumb that official scorers generally use -- in the opinion of this 3rd baseman it's a bad rule of thumb when applied it to hot shots on the corners, especially third - the ball is going too fast, the reaction time is extremely short - besides a shot back at the pitcher it's the quickest situation in the game.

Buck also added that there was a lot going on in that situation - it's not a situation you can practice for. It comes down to baseball smarts, that 6th tool I talked about yesterday - you either have it or you don't. Of coarse any given player may not 'have it' on any given day. I agree with Buck the first error on Brandon Wood was a tough error to call. The second one was just plain wrong.

That is all.

Thanks to 'ESPN Box Score' for the stats and the image of the games box score.


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