Monday, September 01, 2008

Zen Dayley: Don't CC it happening

You can get a death sentence overturned on appeal, but you can't get an official scorer to change his mind.

Irony fans will appreciate this: The same week baseball got rid of one anachronism by introducing instant replay, another anachronism, the hometown official scorer, cost CC Sabathia a no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sunday. 

There is no chance, none, that MLB will overturn Bob Webb's decision to award a hit on a play where the Brewers' big left-hander "bobbled" a "check-swing roller" from the Pirates' Andy LaRoche -- a "simple play, really," according to one of the game announcers. The official scorer's decision is pretty much written in stone, unless he decides to change it. This is probably one of those instances where Bob Webb will refuse to bow to any pressure, on some vague point of principle (or some such nonsense) and refuse to change a decision, especially because it would be popular. Never mind that it's clear as day that Sabathia threw a no-hitter in every other way, shape and form.

This isn't meant to suggest that the system of having an official scorer, usually a retired journalist, at the ballpark, needs to be changed, although the Brewers have a differing opinion. It's important to keep in mind that they occasionally make dodgy decisions that involved awarding a hit to a hometown batter on play that most people watching the game assumed would be ruled an error, because they know players want those precious points on their batting average. That's a shame.

The most diplomatic thing to say about the whole thing? CC Sabathia might be the best show going in the majors. He's now 9-0, 1.43 ERA for the Brewers.

  • This has not turned up on ShysterBall, so it's OK to add a tidbit that's more than a week old: One of MLB's partners in the trading card business, Donruss, is going to release cards that feature Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who of course are supposed to barred from appearing on any officially licensed product.

    Supposed to is the operative wording. Rose isn't allowed to manage or work for any team, but he was allowed to appear as a member of the All-Century team at the 1999 World Series (when it stood to benefit MLB financially, you know), although he's been barred from appearing at ceremonies held by his former teams. It would be petty to sandbag a baseball-card company, but stranger things have happened. Barry Bonds is already being written out of the official history of baseball and one suspects Roger Clemens will be too, soon enough. You should also note there's been scarcely few 10-year retrospectives thus far on the Matt McGuire and Sammy Souser home-run chase of 1998.

    (The anniversary of McGwire passing Roger Maris is one week from today. What's really amazing is that McGwire didn't nod off while waiting for slow-workin' Steve Trachsel to throw a pitch.)
  • Former Lynx second baseman and by-all-accounts good guy Joe Thurston will end up as the third-leading hitter in the International League, finishing up at .316 after a 2-for-5 effort for Pawtucket today. He finished .0005 out of second.

    Minnesota Twins DH Randy Ruiz, who was in Ottawa for, oh, about two weeks last season (the Phillies signed him despite a sketchy past — two failed drug tests — will end up winning the IL batting title in absentia, since he had enough plate appearances before he was called up from Rochester.
  • Cue the taunting: "You stink just slightly worse than we did." The Lehigh Valley IronPigs finished their inaugural season 55-89, a half-game worse than the Lynx did in their final season.

Damn, the Jays
  • David Eckstein gave himself a nice send-off by contributing a couple hits to a Jays win at Yankee stadium, according to the unimpeachable Baseball Digest Daily, being shuffled off to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    The Jays apparently determined that getting right-hander Chad Beck, whom they drafted out of high school in 2004, had a decent WHIP and home-run rate in the high Class-A California League, is worth jettisoning Eckstein, who did about as well as expected in Toronto.

    Eckstein's value to the NL West-leading Diamondbacks mostly stems from the hope he can cover up for former Jay Orlando Hudson's poor platoon split.
  • Scott Rolen finally got back in the lineup and hit a home run in Sunday's win over the Yankees, proving Mike Wilner is occasionally prescient. (As an aside: Has it reached the point that Jays Talk callers are saying "backcatcher" just to set him off?)
  • John Brattain has delivered his epitaph (it's like a cenotaph, but with words): "The Toronto Blue Jays had a pennant winning pitching staff, a playoff-calibre defense and an AA offense."
  • Another Wilnerism: "I said if the Blue Jays had signed Barry Bonds back in April
  • A new name, centrefielder Chris Demons, has popped up in Syracuse Chiefs boxscores lately (reading Triple-A boxscores is work-related, really it is). He's a 24-year-old who was never drafted, which means it's a triumph he's got to Triple-A this fast. Who knows, maybe he'll be good fourth-outfielder timbre for a National League team.

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