In the movie BULL DURHAM, Susan Sarandon’s character, Annie Savoy, sized up minor league baseball players to fool around with.
But Kevin Costner’s character, Crash Davis, might have used a different quiz of his own to determine whether Annie was worth sleeping with.
Personally, I love female sports fans. Sports knowledge and sports passion are sexy.
In my lifetime, I’ve pretended to be fanatics of the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team, Notre Dame football, Montreal Canadians hockey, and Boston Red Sox baseball—merely to impress a girl.
So, playfully, whenever I attend a live baseball game, I’m usually quick to whip out this one-question baseball quiz:
In an official scorebook, there are eight ways to officially score a batter reaching first base.
Quick! Can you name them??? (before reaching the bottom of this post)
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here watching the first official National League Wild Card game. And it has turned into an ugly public relations disaster for Major League Baseball.
In the bottom of the eighth inning–and the Braves down 6-3, but with the bases loaded—Braves batter Andrelton Simmons hits a sky ball to shallow left field. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma races back to shallow left field. He’s still running back, twisting around, and then at the last moment, it is clear that he has lost track of the ball. It falls behind him—between himself and left fielder Matt Holiday.
The Atlanta crowd cheers. Until chaos ensues.
Apparently, the umpire down the left field line signals for the Infield Fly Rule a split-second before the ball hits the ground.
According to MLB:
An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare Infield Fly for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare Infield Fly, if Fair.
The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.
Rules are in place. Unfortunately, this umpire crew made in error in applying that rule.
Total fiasco. And yet another argument for an expanded role for instant replay in baseball.
Unlike in football, there really are no make-up calls that could ever restore balance to this playoff game. (Such as offensive pass interference make-up call last week between the Giants-Eagles on the Giants’ final drive.)
Now that this game was played under protest (and the Braves just lost), will MLB actually do the right thing and rule in favor of the Braves. Do we see these same two teams play a second wild card game on Saturday morning? How will this effect the pitching rotation for the team that actually wins the wild card battle?
Can you see how a second wild card game would benefit the awaiting Washington Nationals?
There’s no crying in baseball.
But there is a lot of %&#*@! cursing.
Did you figure out the baseball quiz yet???
What were the eight ways for a batter to reach first base?
1. Base hit (any base hit…single, double, triple, home run)
2. Base on balls (yes, a walk)
3. Hit by pitch (no, that’s not the same as a walk)
4. Error (duh!)
5. Fielder’s choice (first baseman opts to get the lead runner at second base
6. Wild pitch on the third strike (when it’s the pitcher’s fault)
7. Passed ball on the third strike (when it’s the catcher’s fault)
8. Catcher interference (such as during a bunt and the catcher trips the batter)
If a woman gets “catcher interference” but still misses one or two, Flaming Bag of Poo may still give her full credit!
And maybe, some Susan Sarandon look-alike (I’ll take the Rocky Horror version) and I will get to second base in the parking lot after the baseball game is over.
Thank you, stadium traffic!