Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chicago Controversy

Was it a clean catch? You be the judge.

It's not a hard call to make. It was a catch, Josh Paul pulled Escobar's pitch into the webbing of his glove. The umpire ought to be able to recognize this.

Still, four things are important to recognize in this situation before we all jump on the "TAR & FEATHER THE UMP" bandwagon:

1) There were still two outs with a runner on first. Everybody in the stadium, everybody watching on television, and even Fox's absent-minded professor Lou Piniella knew the White Sox were going to put the steal on with pinch runner Pablo Ozuna. He went into second without as much as a throw. If he's held at first, that long drive from Crede MAYBE scores him, and certainly gives the Angels a shot at beating him to the plate. Is Ozuna's steal the umpire's fault as well?

2) Josh Paul might be certain that he caught it, but when the ball's tailing toward the dirt like that and Pierzynski takes off toward first, he could've ended the whole thing by gingerly tossing to first. Even if he had that foresight, Darin Erstad was already jogging toward the dugout. Never assume in sports, and Paul and Erstad ought to know that. Is that the umpire's fault too?

3) Like I said, there's still two outs in the inning. Escobar's been throwing straight nasty, so why the heck does Mike Sciocsia waste nearly 10 minutes in a fruitless attempt to get the call overturned? You're icing your own pitcher when all he needs to do is to retire Joe ".255 Career Hitter" Crede. Is that the umpire's fault too?

4) Both teams had numerous chances to take control of the game, and neither did. You cannot point to that one call as the reason the Angels lost. Was the umpire also the reason Vlad Guerrero, Benji Molina (what the hell is he doing batting cleanup anyway) and Garrett Anderson went 0 for 11 with 4 left on base?

Sciocsia, to his credit, took the high road and refused to blame the umpire for his team's inability to execute against Mark Buehrle (who is, by the way, friggin' SUPERMAN). Ozzie excitedly blatherd something in Spanglish and then continued slapping everybody on the back.

Go West, my Sox, and Conquer. Game 3 at 7 on Friday, Jon Garland vs. John Lackey.



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