Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Are These The 3 Worst Calls Ever?

1) Top 4th- Nick Swisher called safe on a pickoff attempt at 2nd base when he's clearly out by half a furlong.

Photo Courtesy of Barstool Sports NY

Now normally plays on pickoff attempts are blown because the umpire is out of position on a call, usually behind the play, thus allowing himself no clear view of the tag being made or the hands being on the base.  Last night that was not the case, as the ump at 2nd was in perfect position and had absolutely nothing blocking his view of both the tag and the hands other than his own stupidity.  Clearly a major fuck-up that deserves 4 out of 5 on the scale of 1-to-"You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me."

2) Top 4th- Nick Swisher called out at home for the final out of the inning after being ruled he left 3rd base before Torii Hunter made the catch in center field despite replays showing him being more on the base than previously thought possible.

Photo Courtesy of Barstool Sports NY

This was the worst kind of bad call, an obvious make-up call by Tim McClelland to cover for his buddy at 2nd base.  Typically make-up calls are more common in the NBA and NFL, but because they are so rare in baseball they are almost always important because they pop up in situations where runs either get put on or taken off the board.

Now Timmy was remorseful after the game saying that he "believed in his heart" that Swisher left 3rd base early.  I respect the guy for facing the music after the game and explaining his logic, that's what he should do.  But when you're reasoning for making the call was you "believed in your heart" that somebody did something, I have to call bull- and horseshit.  This isn't Disney World, dude; nobody's asking you wish upon a shooting star or click your heels together 3 times; this is Major League Baseball umpiring, a job that heart should never ever factor into.  Fuck your heart!!!  Use your fucking eyes!!!  Nick Swisher is standing 5 feet from you, clearly on 3rd base.  You've got 19 other umpires on your staff watching for the catch, which everybody and their mother knew Hunter was going to make, so take a fucking glance at Swish leaving 3rd before you decide to blindly call him out.

I would have a little more respect for McClelland if he would have just said "I believed in my heart and my eyes that Nick Swisher was out at second base earlier in the inning, so I decided to give that out back to the Angels and not allow the Yankees to score a run that they rightfully should not have if the 2nd base umpire made the correct call."  Don't give us this shit about hearts and dreams and fairies and rainbows, fess up to what you did and don't insult our intelligence.

A solid 5 out of 5 on the 1-to-"You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me" scale.

3) Top 5th- McClelland rules Robinson Cano safe and Jorge Posada out at 3rd on another play that took place within pissing distance of him even though the live play and subsequent replays showed Cano and Posada were clearly off the base when tagged by Angels' catcher Mike Napoli.

Photo Courtesy of Barstool Sports NY

Just look.  LOOK!!! FUCKING LOOK!!!!  Cano stood there like a jackass and Jorge never even tried to touch 3rd after running back.  They're standing right there, plain as printer paper, not on the base.  How does one fail to see this, especially when one's eyes are looking directly at the play and not at Torii Hunter in center field like one was the previous inning?  It's a clear 8.5/5 on the "You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me" scale.

I don't even know how to try to explain this one other than just saying that Tim McClelland is obviously part of Major League Baseball's and the Illuminati's worldwide conspiracy to ensure the Yankees win the 2009 World Series.  That's the only thing that makes any sense here.  Even though they were already up 5-0 and in complete command of the game, McClelland must have sensed that there was trouble afoot and wanted to give the Yankees a chance to score another insurance run.  Luckily for him, the Yankees managed to somehow scrap together another 5 to squeak by 10-1 and keep the plan in motion, exactly as it was predicted by the Mayans over 400 billion years ago.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!  THERE IT IS, FUCKFACES, READ IT AND WHEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Everyone can just stop playing now because when the Yanks have CC cruising, A-Rod smashing home runs, and Tim McClelland in their back pocket, nothing can stop them and nothing will stop them.

Hit the fucking music...

Game 4 Thoughts and Afterthoughts

* Strange to see the Yankees running early last night with both Jeter and A-Rod running on first movement in consecutive innings to start the game. They ran themselves out of a potential big inning in the first and even though it didn't affect the outcome of the game, it will interesting to see if they keep up the aggressive baserunning against Lackey in Game 5.

* Before finally breaking out, the top of the 2nd looked like a typical wasted inning by the Yankee bats: 2 on, no outs, and no runs score as Posada, Cano, and Swisher put bad swings on good pitches to hit.

* All the talk of past playoff failures, not being clutch, getting divorced, hanging out with strippers, Madonna, taking steroids, and Kate Hudson has overshadowed A-Rod since he first put on the pinstripes, but last night was a reminder to the world just how great an all-around baseball player he is.

In the top of the 2nd, he walks to lead off the inning and steals second easily before being stranded. In the 4th, he has a great at-bat that ends in a sharp single up the middle then scores the first Yankee run on nothing more than hustle as he bolted from home on contact on Cano's chopper. More than that, he communicated his intentions to Jorge before the play which put Jorge in motion on contact and allowed him to end up at 3rd. Then you add in the home run, the good plays at 3rd base and it becomes a 5-tool night for a guy who has had his identity as a 5-tool player almost forgotten.

* 2 actual text messages I received from my uncle during Nick Swisher's second at-bat:


2) "Oh my nana & pop pop raised me, I'm just a free spirit, HEY SHUT DA FUCK UP & PRODUCE!"

When you're pre-pitch ritual of looking up to the sky to honor your dead grandparents who raise you is starting to piss off your fans, you know you're struggling pretty bat at the plate.

* Kazmir flat out sucked last night. He had no stuff and wasn't aggressive at all against the Yankee lineup. His slider was beyond awful and the game slowed to an almost complete stop in the 2nd and 3rd as he kept stepping off the mound and having multiple visits to the mound from his catcher. We can officially retire the "Scott Kazmir owns the Yankees" theory because right now he doesn't even own his pitches.

* A major contributing factor to Kazmir's suckiness was a vintage exhibition in Yankee patience by the lineup last night. They got ahead in the count early and then fouled off pitches constantly, which drove his pitch count up to 100 in just 4+ innings. If you can't get strike 1 across and can't get swings and misses against this lineup, then you don't have a snowball's chance of making it past the 5th inning.

* The top of the 4th was just one more example of how baseball needs instant replay for every call. It's sad that so many obvious calls get missed, and even more sad that umpires take it upon themselves to issue make up calls to cover for their partners' mistakes (see: Nick Swisher getting called out for leaving 3rd base early). I'll cover this subplot of the game/series in greater detail in a separate post tonight.

* I wish there was a way to measure what percentage of Yankee fans were screaming "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??!!!!" at their TVs last night when Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada performed their Marx Brothers routine at 3rd in the top of the 5th last night. It's moments like that that still have to make Yankee fans wary of Cano and just how much attention he's actually paying when he's on the field.

* Another example of how lame Cali fans are: fireworks after the Kendry Morales solo home run in the bottom of the 5th. Really, guys? Fireworks for a solo home run that still had your team down 4 runs with less than half the game to play? It's a meaningless run, not the 4th of July, and if you need cheap stunts like that to get your fans to stand up and cheer then you shouldn't be in the playoffs. That's like trying to use a cute little animal to inspire crowd noise. Oh, wait...

* I know it's a downright filthy pitch, but isn't Tim McCarver referring to CC's change as a "power changeup" an oxymoron?

* The bottom of the 7th was the kind of killer instinct moment that Yankee starting pitching has lacked for the better part of 4 years. CC sensed if he could get out of that inning without allowing any more runs then the game was over and he ratcheted the intensity up a notch by striking out 2 in what was his best inning of the night, showing velocity and command that was just as fast and sharp as it was in the first inning of Game 1.

* And right after that slitting of the Angels' collective throats, Johnny Damon follows up in the top of the 8th with what equates to having your dick cut off and stuck in your mouth, post-mortem with the 2-run homer. Glad to see the Damonic one waking up in this series and realizing he needs to show something to get a new contract next year after stumbling to the finish line in the regular season.

* Hey, a Chad Gaudin sighting!!! And he looked pretty damn good in the 9th after having not pitched in a game situation for who knows how long. There were rumors after the game that the Angels offered the Yanks Ervin Santana and a minor league prospect for Gaudin to boost their bullpen depth for Game 5.

* Funny how you always see Tim Kurkjian on SportsCenter before the game talking about how Jon Lester, John Lackey, Scott Kazmir, Vida Blue, Rick James, and Chef Gordon Ramsay all own the Yankees but after the game on Baseball Tonight, he's nowhere to be found to give the Yankees credit for their destruction of these pitchers and the Triple-A lineup of Chris Singleton and John Kruk has to pick up the slack.

* Exactly as I predicted, the offense finally broke out last night, CC shut the door on the Angels and the Yankees got the beatdown game they needed to kill any hope the Angels had of making this a series.

Melky and Damon each looked good at the plate, Teix and Cano had better swings than they had in the first 3 games and looked to be seeing the ball better. Sure Matsui and Swisher look lost, but that's why we could see Brett Gardner in the lineup for Game 5 and Swish on the pine.

When CC pitches like he has his last 2 outings, nobody is going to beat the Yankees. Much like A-Rod, he has shed his "can't get it done in the playoffs" label and is pitching so well right now that he might want to think about re-negotiating his deal and try to get 170 million out of the Yankees.

Game 5 is tomorrow night, but don't let anybody at FOX or ESPN fool you, this series is fucking over. Now where's Jeter's ass?