Saturday, April 14, 2007



I was going to take another day off but happenings got my ire up. In the catalogue of good things to get up, ire is not one of them.

I can monitor, pitch by pitch, as many eight games at once. The Phillies were behind by two runs in the eighth and got their first two on base with their big guy coming up. Ryan Howard, their big guy, singles to right. Shane Victorino tries to score from second but gets thrown out at the plate. That is amazingly dumb. No outs, runners on first and second, a single to right, and the guy tries to score an almost meaningless run. Thank goodness it happened in Philadelphia. The fans there are probably still booing. The Phillies, the preseason favorites, fell to 2 and 8.

Here’s one even dumber. The Giants have this pitcher, Russ Ortiz, who is a prodigious rebuilding project. This poor guy hadn’t won a game in almost a year. His last team, on releasing him, advised him to retire. He had been that bad. But the Giants gave him a shot in spring training and he made the team. Ortiz got kind of clobbered in his first start, but it wasn’t devastating. Today, in his second start, he pitched well after giving up two runs in the first inning. It comes to the ninth inning and he’s leading 8-2. In the top of the ninth, the Giants get the bases loaded with two out and Russ Ortiz scheduled to hit. I’m thinking (not an afterthought) perfect, get a pinch hitter in there. He’s thrown a great game. Let him leave with unquestioned success and all is right with the world.

But the manager isn’t satisfied. He hasn’t given Ortiz his full chance at failure. He lets Ortiz bat in the ninth (he strikes out, big surprise) and puts him back out there in the bottom of the ninth. Of course he gets clobbered, giving up three runs and has to be relieved. There you go, when failure is an option why go for success? The Giants will probably finish last in their division and deservedly so.


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