Such a wonderful game. Saturday, MLB Network presented consecutive “Look-Ins” to games in progress.
The first showed Ichiro Suzuki, 42, working a walk, stealing second, going to third on a single to short left, and scoring on a sac fly. Fabulous.
Next was Daniel Murphy hitting one deep to right. The ball hit the top of the wall and rolled toward the infield. Running all the way, Murphy easily made third, whereas “the game has changed” posers and joggers would’ve been at second, if not thrown out at second. Murphy then scored on a single.
This was maximized-opportunity, play-the-right-way baseball — even if Ichiro and Murphy risked the mockery and condemnation of ESPN’s Dan Le Batard for playing “the white why.”
Saturday’s Twins-Yankees featured new-fashioned baseball. With the Yanks up 2-1, one out, bottom of the eighth, Brian McCann was thrown out at home — it was close — trying to score on a fly out. Double play, inning over.
But wait. Stop the game. The Yanks challenged the call. On PIX11, Michael Kay and John Flaherty correctly reasoned that it was worth a shot because the Yanks “have nothing to lose.”
But “nothing to lose” second-opinion challenges — for 25 years regularly issued in the NFL and now MLB — have nothing to do with the intent of replay rules. The goal to correct egregiously incorrect calls has been lost by another sport to fully unintended, pull-the-plug, microscopic examinations.
On FS1, Padres closer Fernando Rodney entered. It doesn’t matter that Rodney wears the bill of his cap to the side, choosing to reject it as a sun-shield to demonstrate “attitude.” It doesn’t matter that his consistently unreliable performance has placed him with five teams in the last five seasons.
And it doesn’t matter that last year, his seven blown saves tied him for the most in the majors — his eight blown was second-worst in 2013 — nor that he has 57 career blown saves and a won-loss record of 37-56. He’s a self-impressed showboat.
And so when he got Saturday’s last out — a line drive to first — Rodney went into his how-great-I-art routine. And FOX announcers Aaron Goldsmith and C.J. Nitkowski chuckled their approval. The chuckles sounded forced, but pandering to fools beats being heard as uncool.
Finally, Mets-Braves on FOX. At 0-0, Yoenis Cespedes was thrown out at second. An isolated video told why: He’d jogged to first. Instead of second and third, one out, the Mets had two out, man on third. Next batter, third out.
Kenny Albert and Tom Verducci noted Cespedes’s minimalism — on this play. But they didn’t say what they must know and we certainly know: This was no anomaly; this is how Cespedes has played big league baseball his entire career, why the Mets are his fourth team in four seasons.
And the Mets’ TV crew continues to ignore the impossible-to-ignore.
Sunday, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez bypassed the fact Cespedes jogged to first to explain Cespedes was out Saturday because he didn’t slide — perhaps to protect an injured ankle (reinjured after sliding into second on what would have been a stand-up double had he bothered to run to first).
But sliding again was not the issue. He didn’t run to first, or he’d have easily reached second!
In the 10th, no score, none out, man on first, Alejandro De Aza’s attempt at a sac bunt was popped toward pitcher Jim Johnson. De Aza, angry, quit on it; the nine-year vet presumed Johnson would catch it, thus didn’t run. Johnson allowed it to drop, picked it up, then started an easy, gifted, game-has-changed double play.
Such a wonderful game. It’s a shame what MLB and so many players, for no good reasons, have chosen to do to it.
When the Hall of Fame of Hot Air opens, here’s your first inductee
While shameless, classless Mike “Front Row” Francesa has allowed WFAN to beg listeners’ support for his induction into a Radio Hall of Fame — how many of those solicited listeners have been abused, belittled and hung up on for dissenting with his phony knowledge and false facts? — he continues to prove he wouldn’t rate a seat at a beggars banquet. Recent highlights:
As a peerless baseball talent evaluator who’s never right (Dustin Pedroia “is a nothing” then won the AL MVP; Daniel Murphy, now at .349, “will never hit big league pitching,” et al); he dismissed Astros second baseman Jose Altuve as nothing special because he’s a singles hitter. A career .309 batter, Altuve this season is at .347 and likely will lead the AL in stolen bases for a third straight season.
Derrick Rose to the Knicks? Well, no one’s a deeper Garden insider than Francesa. He declared that it will not happen!
Jose Reyes back with the Mets? Not a chance, Francesa repeated, even telling listeners to stop asking about it. Again knowing what we possibly couldn’t, he said — definitively, authoritatively — it will not happen!
Then there was his latest self-inflicted jewel: Wednesday, with SNY in viewing and hearing distance, he went wild over Gary Apple’s breaking news that Zack Wheeler will have another surgery — curiously, the same kind on the same shoulder!
Francesa blew like a stuffed gas bag hit by dart. He went on and on — it’s horrible news for the Mets while impatiently demanding his serfs get SNY, the Mets and FAN’s Mets reporter Eddie Coleman on the phone, ASAP!
A full five minutes later, he learned that SNY’s report was a flashback to the news of Wheeler’s needed surgery 15 months ago. That’s when Francesa began his standard, transparent, I’m-never-wrong tap dancing.
You and I — and radio Hall of Famers — would’ve said, “My mistake. I was fooled. I jumped to an unfounded conclusion. Sorry.”
We’d even have had some self-deprecating fun with it as a matter of both fun and good faith with listeners.
Not Francesa. Although never right, he’s never wrong, thus his megalomania made matters worse for himself. He pretended not to have been mistaken, only to have been misinformed — and, he said, for just 30 seconds! — before he, the all-knowing Mike Francesa, got to the bottom of it!
Six degrees of Keith Hernandez
Friday, the Mets’ eight-run lead down to two, Gary Cohen noted that the only time the Mets lost an eight-run lead and the game was in 1980, against the Cubs. Keith Hernandez said he wasn’t with the Mets, then.
From there, a good get by reader Steven Arendash: Neil Allen, the Mets reliever and loser who allowed seven earned runs in that game, in 1983 was traded to the Cards for Hernandez.