"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

What Happens to an Offensive Outburst Deferred?

In some ways, and all the most important ones, this game went according to plan: C.C. Sabathia dominated, because he eats three-day rests for breakfast; A-Rod bashed the hell out of the ball again; and this time his teammates even decided to join him. The Yankees won emphatically, 10-1, and are now up three games to one in the ALCS.

In other ways, though, it was a bit of a mess; as I wrote earlier, if this game were an interwar German Expressionist film, it would be “The 1,000 Mental Errors of Dr. Mabuse”. Yankees and umpires alike made some baffling decisions this evening, though in the end the New York boomsticks made them pretty much irrelevant.

Sabathia started out strong, and got stronger. He went eight innings on only 101 pitches, allowed one run, struck out five and walked two. He was still touching 96 mph on FOX’s radar gun when Girardi pulled him and and, with a then-six-run lead, let Chad Gaudin (the bullpen’s Lonely Man) finish the game. It’s really impossible to overstate just how terrific Sabathia has been this October, and how valuable; the Yankees piled on the hits today, but even if their woes with runners in scoring position had continued, it might not have mattered.

Angels starter Scott Kazmir kept the Yankees off the board for three innings, but he looked plenty shaky in the process, with leadoff hits and walks and a metric ton of pitches thrown. (This might be some minor comfort to Mets fans after their painful season, if only it had been another team doing the damage). Finally, in the fourth, the rains came: A-Rod singled, moved to third on a Posada double, and scored with a close play at the plate on Cano’s fielder’s choice; then Nick Swisher walked to load the bases, and with the Yankees on an 0-for-26 skid with RISP, Melky Cabrera knocked a refreshing two-RBI single into left-field to put the Yanks up 3-zip.

The fourth inning also brought us the first of many blown calls, when Nick Swisher was caught too far off second base and tagged out by a foot, but was nonetheless called safe. Third base ump Tim McClelland then evened the blown-call score by calling Swisher out for supposedly tagging up from third too soon on Johnny Damon’s fly ball… even though replays showed he did not. (If a runner is wrongly called out when he should have been out on a previous play anyway, does it make a sound?) These shenanigans were only prelude to an incredibly odd series of events in the fifth, wherein both Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada were tagged out at third base during the same play, but only Posada was called out, and I’d like to explain it in more detail but frankly it still makes my head hurt, so just watch for yourself.

Anyway, before the ump oddness, the Yankees tacked on two more runs in the fifth with a Mark Teixeira single (nice, but his only hit of the night, so it’s too soon to say if he’s out of his slump) and then… you’ll never guess… yes, an Alex Rodriguez home run. Seriously. Another one. He is now slugging 1.000 in the ALCS, which is just stupid. In the bottom of that inning, Sabathia faced his only major threat of the night – a Kendry Morales solo shot and two singles – but he recovered and pretty much cruised from there on out. Three postseason starts, three earned runs.

The later innings were pretty low-stress for a change – and a good thing too, as Yankee fans have been, let’s just say, a mite on edge these last few days. Johnny Damon hit a two-run shot, Melky knocked in another couple of runs, and there were no terrifying extra-inning contortions to endure. This is the Angels we’re talking about, so I will not be lulled into a false sense of security, but I’m glad my stomach lining got a chance to recover before Thurday’s Game 5. Enjoy the off-day, Banterers.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Emma Span

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1 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 21, 2009 6:41 am

Let's see..I have the day stuck at home tomorrow (yes, it's Swine Flu "A"! don't worry Banterers, it's not contagious over the Web as far as I know..)..anyways, am looking at all day in bed tomorrow with achy bones, fever, coughing, dizziness and zero appetite...but there is no game! Will Phillies-Dodgers be any consolation, with Vinnie Padilla on the mound in a must-win game for LA? (Um..why did we think they were a good team, again? Phillies seem so so much better..)

Thoughts: I think I can run the bases better than Posada. Of course, he's got me beat in the power department..

Time to rest with the soothing sounds of Grant Green and cuddly attention from Mrs. OK Jazz...it could be worse I guess..

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Oct 21, 2009 6:43 am

[1] Sorry..2009 H1N1 flu virus infection, "formerly" known as Swine Flu..who cares about the name anyway, feel like Ryan Howard hit me with a bat..

3 knuckles   ~  Oct 21, 2009 6:54 am

Crazy game- great wrap-up.

[1] Take care of that, but be glad you don't have the Canadian strain of it: Swine Flu "Eh".

4 RIYank   ~  Oct 21, 2009 7:15 am

Sorry I couldn't join the party last night -- I'm pretty sure my son has what Mr. OK has. I bet everyone had a good time. Except William, I guess ;-)

Emma, I get it (I think).

Does it sag, like a heavy load
Or does it explode?

5 seamus   ~  Oct 21, 2009 7:50 am

[1] Sorry to hear OK Jazz. I hope you get better soon. Take care of your badass self.

6 Rich   ~  Oct 21, 2009 7:52 am


C.C. Sabathia dominated, because he eats three-day rests for breakfast;

I harshly criticized Girardi yesterday (not without good cause), but I am going to praise him today.

Part of the reason that I expected CC to pitch well last night is because Girardi ensured that he got extra rest since September:

CC’s most recent starts before yesterday: 9/7, 9/13, 9/19, 9/26, 10/2, 10/7, 10/16.

Beyond that, CC rocks.

btw, FB OK Jazz TOKYO

7 unmoderated   ~  Oct 21, 2009 7:55 am

I was thinking about A Rod's resurgence - considering all the rest he got this year, do you think he was just tired during the last few postseasons?

I think that argument works for CC - he's got a lot left in the tank, unlike previous seasons.

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:02 am

hang in there, OK Jazz

This is turning out to be some reality show this "Alex & Kate Plus 8 (Lesser Ballplayers)."
I'm riveted, and I really hope they stay together, you know, for the sake of the kids.

9 Rich   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:02 am

[7] No, because A-Rod performed well in the postseason prior to Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS:

1997 ALDS .313 .313 .563 .875
2000 ALCS .409 .480 .773 1.253
2004 ALDS .421 .476 .737 1.213

His only bad one was the 2000 ALDS .308 .308 .308 .615

10 rbj   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:14 am

[1] Hope you get better soon, OK Jazz, and your son RIY [4]. My nasty little cold lasted 2 weeks, but wasn't the flu.

This day off in the LCS is necessary, I need to catch up on my sleep tonight. And German Expressionist films to Army of Darkness in the same paragraph? That's what makes the Banter great.

Great win.

11 Diane Firstman   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:15 am

Dear Mr. Girardi,

If you are inclined to pinchrun Gardner for any of your players during the rest of your tenure as Yankee manager, PLEASE let it be for Mr. Posada.

Thank you,
A fan


I believe we need to give Jorge a GPS to successfully navigate the bases.

"Tag up now . . . run towards third, approaching third base, left turn in 2 seconds"

12 unmoderated   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:17 am

[9] He was a much younger man in those series. It's just a thought.

I tend to think it's nonsense, as players get plenty of bulit-in days off during the postseason.

13 seamus   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:17 am

[4] Hope your son gets better RIYank. Missed that before. this day off in between games in Anaheim is weird.

14 Rich   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:20 am

[12] OK, but he was only 29 in 2005. He is such a well conditioned athlete that even Dr. Phillipon has marveled at his recovery from major hip surgery.

I think it's all psychological.

15 Rich   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:21 am

Oh yeah, I was remiss. I hope RIY's son feels better too.

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:25 am

[7] Rest never hurts, but ARod is in amazing physical shape. No, I believe his problems, and now the cure, are all mental.

I believe the big issue is ARods own expectations. He has always demanded a lot of himself, and has always felt the pressure of living up to his own reputation.

After the surgery, it seems he wasn't sure what he could produce, and I believe was more concerned about simply playing, and seeing for himself if he could still play.

His swings tell the story. He is not overanxious, and therefore chasing pitches out of the zone. He has cut down his swing and become more of a contact hitter. This can be seen by less HR/AB and many more hits the other way. I'm pretty sure he knew, after his recovery, that there was still gas in the tank... but he wasn't sure how much. Would be still be an elite player, or just very good? Or even...just good? Was 800 HRs still even in the picture? Maybe he excepted it might not be, and that just being able to play again, was enough.

Just my own speculation, but I think his bravado took a big hit.
Because he didn't know what to think about what type of ballplayer he was now (and one with another surgery looming), that he just stopped thinking and decided just to play and see what happens. And thus, he has sort of become just a 'normal' ballplayer..

I think now, he is thankful that he can still play at a high level. I think he is thankful that not only can he play, but will play in the PS. I think he has had a Jeterian Epiphany, and realizes that the WS, and the team, are more important then chasing the HR record (which in his mind may stil be in doubt).

In short (or to make a short story long)...
I believe this experience (injury, surgery, recovery) has humbled him. I'm sure Kate has helped, but much like a near-death experience changes a persons perception, so did ARod's 'near career death' change him.

Frankly, if Cano and Melky could just have some hip surgery and come back, this team would be unstoppable for the foreseeable future.

Sometimes, the best way to get something you want really badly, is to stop wanting it really badly.

17 rbj   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:30 am

[11] Heh. I love my Garmin, they are great devices. Turn left. Turn left.

18 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:30 am

Anyone ever see that old baseball movie where an ump has something happen, and his eyesight gets screwed up? So, now he is seeing double, and when he umpires a game, since he now sees everything in stereo, his calls go:
"Strike one!... Strike One!
"Safe!... Safe!"

When I see the Robbie Abbott and Jorge Costello play, all I can think of is:
"You're out!... You're out!"

19 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:42 am

[4] yeah, hope your boy's feeling better soon, RI.

20 Yankee Mama   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:47 am

I think Posada was sniffing the white-out from his finger nails. Loopy.

Then again, watching CC build momentum in the 7th and 8th innings after his minor blip in the 6th was art in motion. The looks on the Angel' faces were priceless.

21 unmoderated   ~  Oct 21, 2009 8:53 am

No, I totally agree with you guys. He admitted as much. Like I said, just a thought. I had seen his numbers this year after his days off, he was hitting like .500... just got me thinking.

22 RIYank   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:05 am

Oh, thanks, all. He'll be fine, but he's suffering, poor guy.

Diane, you forgot one app:
"There are now two outs..."

23 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:12 am

ARod's PS line: 7 gms, 5 HRs, 11 RBI, .407 .469 1.000 1.469

24 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:21 am

[22] :(

25 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:23 am

I still don't see how Posada gets most of the hate for the baserunning. I suppose he should have scored on the double, but tagging up wasn't the worst idea in the world. After that, he played the rundown (getting caught off because of a hard hit ball right at a fielder) exactly as he should have to get Swisher to second. Then he stepped off the base to give it to Cano, except Cano was the utter moron. Who the heck ever taught him to stand one foot from the base? How could that ever end well?

Honestly I think Alex finally found a great therapist. Whether that's Kate and a professional, who knows? But he handled the PED stuff as well as he could have, and to some extent that must have help set him free. Diane remarked about Jeter popping out of the dugout first to celebrate A-Rod's homer. I don't know about you guys, but I've always found the best way to win over the "popular" kids? Don't give a crap about what they think. For the first time, Alex doesn't. I can't think they'll ever be friend because of the history. But I also can't see how Jeter doesn't respect Alex for taking all the shit and now thriving.

26 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:26 am

And someone asked it last night. CC is fantastic. But art what point does Po get credit too? CC shows the same splits that Burnett shows to Molina vs. Posada. And yet, this post-season he really couldn't be much better. Is it possible that Po is a different catcher in the post-season than during the season?

27 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:38 am

days like today I actually look forward to reading Lupica and hearing Francesa

so how about that Stevie Phillips??

28 rbj   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:49 am

[25] The not scoring on a double was a misread, but excusable. You're already up by four, so play it safe and make sure it's a hit. Jorge did nothing wrong with the rundown, though IIRC, if Cano is standing on the base when Posada touches it, Cano is then automatically out. But once Jorge touched the base he should have stayed there, one of them was already going to be out. Forgetting how many outs there were later on does happen to every player, but in Jorge's last start with AJ he did have a mental error or two. I'm just wondering if perhaps Jorge has had a concussion (happens to catchers) and hasn't fully recovered.

29 ms october   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:50 am

[4] i think it stinks like rotten meat (but in a good way)

i hope all the sick patients are doing better.

[16] good points oyf

[27] once i saw that steve phillips was opposed to cc going on short rest i knew it was brilliant

30 ms october   ~  Oct 21, 2009 9:54 am

i'm one of po's biggest defenders here - i don't think he is nearly as poor a catcher as he is made out to be, and in fact does some things pretty well and works particularly well with some pitchers (eg cmw pre-injuries)

as far as baserunning, po is a reckless baserunner, and he has done some very odd things out there - we have remarked here before that robbie, po, and swisher are some of the worse baserunners going - and ot surprisingly all of them were involved in some strange plays last night

31 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:03 am

[28] Exactly, but why was Jorge the one called out? That play really makes my head hurt too. Just stupidity all around, but to me Cano's was egregious. How the heck can you ever stand one foot off the base? Why does that ever make sense?

Meanwhile, didn't Swisher have a worse game? He gets not-picked off. He doesn't take second on that rundown. And the tag up he repeats the same motion that got him called out against the Sox.

Above all, I just don't understand the Jorge-hate. He had a very good game on both sides and his mistakes were excusable in context. They were certainly no worse than Cano or Swisher.

As for the number of outs, I think the stadium board had it wrong. Right before Jeter touches second on the double play, Fox showed one out. So I thought it was inning-ending too.

Did Jorge get plowed into in his younger days and so why he takes throws at home the way he does?

32 monkeypants   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:05 am

[25] Then he stepped off the base to give it to Cano, except Cano was the utter moron.

He should not have stepped off the base. As he was going back to third, Cano never stepped on third. At that point, Po should have just occupied the base. In effect, all three base runners were ding-dongs on that play, though in order of fault, prize goes to Cano.

33 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:07 am

[32] Is that why Jorge was called out? I honestly have no idea.

34 RIYank   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:12 am

Jorge was called out because he wasn't on the base when he was tagged.
My guess is that the reason he wasn't on the base was that he was sure Cano would take it, and he thought Cano on third was better than him (Jorge) on third.

35 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:13 am

By the way, I totally understand how Swisher keeps getting called out on the tag up. The ump has to watch the fielder catch the ball to get the timing. And so he has no choice but to use peripheral vision to judge whether the runner leaves early. And peripheral vision is driven by motion. So Swisher, swinging his arms (even as that might be the technically right thing to do) he gets himself in trouble.

That said, he may now actually be able to get away with leaving a bit early. Two blown calls within one month makes it hard to believe another ump will call it again.

Perfect example where instant replay is an improvement. No ump or even the set of umps can see both the fielder and the runner at the exact same time. It's impossible. Replay makes it trivial based on two separate cameras in a split screen.

36 RIYank   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:14 am

Oh, and the rule is that they could both stand on the base, but Posada (the leading runner) is not entitled to it, so he isn't safe at third -- he could be tagged out exactly as if he weren't standing on it. (This means that really he should have just stayed on it rather than stepping off to give it to Cano -- it wouldn't have harmed Cano's status if Posada were also on the base.)

37 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:15 am

[34] That's where Jorge maybe makes another mistake. If Cano was on the base, Jorge can't touch it or it's his, right? Two runners can't occupy the same base. The trailing runner is out.

38 ms october   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:19 am

[31] when he was in the minors he was involved in a pretty bad collision in which his leg was broken and his ankle was dislocated

39 RIYank   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:19 am

[37] Oh, you're right, I had it backward. If they had both been on the base, it would have been Cano, not Posada, who was liable to be put out. Trailing runner isn't safe (he isn't automatically out, just liable to be put out).

40 monkeypants   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:22 am

[33] Do you mean called out by us for being a bad base runner, or called out by the ump. McClelland said in his post-game interview that he botched the call--he thought (assumed?) that Cano was on the base and Po was not, so he only called Po out.

[37] As I understand it, the lead runner has the right to a base when two runner occupy the same base. So, had Po stood on third, it was his base, and Cano would have been out once tagged.

41 ms october   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:22 am

[39] we're getting quite an education on some sort of obscure rules (in that the plays don't happen too often) this postseason with the cano/po play last night; the ball getting loose and hitting vladdy on strike 3

42 RIYank   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:23 am

Just to clear it up, here's the rule.

(a) Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base, unless Rule 7.03(b) applies.

(b) If a runner is forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner and two runners are touching a base to which the following runner is forced, the following runner is entitled to the base and the preceding runner shall be out when tagged or when a fielder possesses the ball and touches the base to which such preceding runner is forced.

43 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:28 am

[4] I had a great time.

Posada's not scoring from 2B on a double was awful baserunning. There is no excuse for it. With one out, you don't go back to tag. The benefit of being on third base with two outs is not worth failing to score on a hit.

As for the rundown, Cano gets most of the blame, but once Jorge decided to run back to third, it made no sense to run past the bag. Had he stayed on it, Cano could have headed back to 2B to give Swisher time to get to that base (where he should have been anyway). Also, the added throws could have resulted in an error.

44 monkeypants   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:33 am

[43] Right, with one out tagging up was a bad play. He should have gone half way, though in any case he still could have been decoyed by Hunter and not scored.

45 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:36 am

As best I gather, on a happy baseball morning, Abbott and Cano was a Cano boneheader (with a shout-out for Swisher not heading for 2nd). Jorge is a lousy baserunner, but he did the RIGHT thing in not stepping on the bag, since he'd have been the runner if they are both on it - Cano is out.

Cano is faster, so if there is any marginal advantage to a faster guy on 3rd with 2 outs (wild pitch, I guess) Jorge was thinking properly. EXCEPT, even though there's no way anyone can be a dumb as Robbie and NOT step on the bag, Jorge could have looked and SEEN he wasn't on it! I think the possibility never entered his mind.

I put this on Robbie, blithely popping bubbles, a foot off the bag.

I'd like to see Gardy in centre tomorrow vs Lackey, sit Swish, let him recompose himself. The guy has looked badly overmatched, off his game, and Lackey is not a good pitcher to get your mojo back against. It won't happen, because managers do not 'mess with success' and Gardy is seen as a weapon late, pinch running. That's how they set up this roster, for better or worse.

46 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:36 am

[44] There's no excuse to be decoyed either. Hunter was so deep that Jorge could have gone 3/4 of the way to 3B and still made it back in time. We've seen Jorge do that in the past. It's not breaking news to say that he is one of the worst baserunners in baseball. For all the other good things he does, it's just something you have to live with.

I wonder was Thompson was saying during the run down. He should have been yelling at Cano to get on the bag. Perhaps he was.

47 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:38 am

[1] and [4] FB's go out to you and son, respectively. I'm feeling like hell after way too much travel and hoping that is not what I have. I think it's not what I have.

[17] A freaking Garmin helped get me a $280 speeding ticket, as I went on tilt thanks to the damn thing flashing "acquiring satellite" for fifteen minutes, instead of finally kicking online in a timely fashion.

Major thanks go out to my folks/brother-in-law, who I loaned my (only GPS worth a damn) Harmon Kardon to back in NYC. I knew there was a reason I wanted it with me when preparing to drive through a new, dark city with wide open expanses. Fuck you, Garmin Nuvi, fuck you. Still so very, very angry.

[30] Po is not a "reckless" base runner. He is, quite simply, the worst base runner in the league, and has been for an eternity. Btw, yes, he doesn't block the plate and goes through his whole "make it look like I couldn't really block the plate there" routine because he was injured blocking the plate at a point in his deep past.

The two above things make him a very difficult character to embrace, as he really likes to cultivate both the "tough guy" and "savvy veteran" thing. Admittedly, he is a tough guy when it comes to the amount of pain he can endure back there without needing to come out of a game, and I guess if I'm looking for a bone to throw him on savvy, there's a reason that the ultimate GIDP machine reformed - he finally figured out that just because he could put a ball in play, with his speed, the requirement needed to be more discerning. And he truly is one hell of a hitter.

However, as someone who is also painfully slow - although there were many years during which I desperately wanted to enter a speed showdown with Posada (probably no more) - his base running upsets me profoundly. I am an EXCEPTIONAL base runner. I have been trained and trained myself to go the exact perfect distance from the bag (from zero inches to half way) depending on the corresponding situation. My ability to read a ball's potential fate is better than 99% + of the guys I've played softball with for seven years. Hell, even as a HS senior, I led my team in SB percentage. The only thing that comes close to a failing is that I some times get too aggressive trying to go from second to third when the throw goes across the infield the other way - it's hard to remember that you're not just slow but slow plus. I'm still usually safe, and have scored way more often than been thrown out, as the throw will often kick into the boonies off of my mighty, sliding bulk. I also have a pretty impressive arsenal of slides that buy me the extra second you need when you are FREAKING SLOW.

That Jorge runs around out there with the illusion that he's Mick the Quick and the mentality of someone who doesn't need to work at base running and understanding all the angles, percentages, and distances drives me crazy. For an example of the exact opposite, not from the world of softball, and referencing someone you actually give a fuck about, see Don Mattingly.

Lastly, thank God we won, because I am STILL upset about the play at third. That both Cano and Posada behaved as they did shows them to be such fundamentally unsound ballplayers, so stupid, so simply not ballplayer in everything that word means, it is revolting.

That was practically the first damn thing they taught us in baseball! Baserunner - every dang one of you get on the bag immediately. If you are both there safely, and one of you is faster than the other, the slower guy can step off, so long as the situation could entitle either of you to the bag, but adding that wrinkle is secondary. Get to the bag. You can't both occupy it, but one of you always can.

Fielder? TAG EVERYTHING. Which was exactly what the Angel's catcher did. They taught us the following: tag the first runner, tag the second runner, tag the bag, tag the umpire, tag the base coach, tag the other fielders, tag a few folks in the stands - TAG EVERYTHING.

The above is such fundamental baseball knowledge - so core to understanding the game, like say, the knowledge/instinct that must exist to get out of bounds in certain situations in football - that the fact that we have two players who are stars on the team who so fundamentally don't get it - it makes me sad.

48 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:40 am

[45] That's not correct...there are no automatic outs in that situation. Also, Posada did step on the base, but then kept going. Once it was clear that Napoli (who also screwed up the play) wasn't going to tag him, Posada should have tried to reoccupy the bag and give Cano a chance to prolong the play in another run down.

Robbie's initial decision to stand off the bag was actually a smart one, but his failure to make any attempt to reach 3B once he saw Posada fly past the bag is baffling.

49 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:45 am

[35] As to the umping on a tag play - the fact is that you can have a chance at seeing both if you a) move yourself in foul territory away from the outfield and towards home b) approximately line up the fielder catching the ball and the runner and c) get down to give yourself the ability to see the runner's legs AND the fielder catching the ball.

The other thing is this - as someone who does *a lot* of umping, I have always been trained to follow the following: you NEVER call someone out for leaving early unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE. That is what has made the blown Swisher calls so upsetting. It is a situation you should never interfere in unless you distinctly saw something. And if you only make the call if you distinctly see something, there should NEVER be a mistake made in the direction of improperly calling the runner out. It should be a logical impossibility.

50 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 10:49 am

[48] No, no, no. Napoli didn't screw up anything. The number one mandate is to tag everything. And that is exactly what he did. And you are not making a smart play if you are standing off the bag when a catcher is close enough to start doing his tagging. You are risking disaster (end of inning, loss of RISP). I would challenge you to find a baseball coach in the country (who isn't doing mandatory community service or the like) who would tell you that Cano should not have gotten his foot on that bag tout suite.

51 The Hawk   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:00 am

Robbie Cano - don't ya know???

Apparently not.

52 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:01 am

[48] Napoli screwed up? He got a double play on a rundown. He made a fantastic play and the ump screwed him.

I really want to know what the heck Cano was thinking. Where could he have ever learned, or thought, that was helpful? And if he did it on his own he has no instincts for the game.

53 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:01 am

[50] Napoli was lucky that both Cano and Posada decided to remain off the base. He was close enough to Posada that he didn't have to run him all the way back. Had he tagged him earlier, he could have at least avoided another run down with Cano and also possibly thrown to 3B to get the hesitant Cano. As it turned out, Posada and Cano had no clue what they were doing, so it worked out, but I can't give Napoli credit for that.

The reason Cano's initial reaction was smart is because by standing off the base is because it gives Posada a reason to not give himself up. If Cano reads Posada being tagged anyway, he can simply move his foot an inch. He is sees Posada is going to make it back, he can return to 2B and extend the play. If two intelligent baserunners are involved, it would have made an excellent play...basically taking advantage of Napoli's own hesitance and indecision. That obviously wasn't the case. I am sure Cano had no such intentions in mind.

54 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:07 am

[53] Wait, Cano's initial reaction was smart???? There's never a place for it. Just because he touches 3rd doesn't mean he can't take his foot off the bag to run back to second. Standing off the base never makes any sense at all. Never.

55 The Hawk   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:09 am

It was mainly Cano's fault. That was one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. Just step on the base, Posada is not getting out of the rundown. It just caused complete confusion, the last thing Jorge's feeble base-running mind needs.

56 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:13 am

[55] That's exactly it. There's simply no excuse for not being on a base. That's the entire point! Either you're on one base or heading to another. No where in the game is there room for standing one foot off a base (and blowing bubbles!?).

57 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:13 am

[55] I am not claiming Cano was thinking this, but his not stepping on the bag could have been done to signal to Posada that he should try to get back to the base instead of just giving himself up (if Cano is standing on the bag, Posada could think, ok, just tage me now). Because an alert baserunner can easily touch the bag quickly, it leaves open a few scenarios that could benefit the Yankees. I think Arod and Jeter could definitely pull off such a play. Cano and Posada obviously can not. For that reason, they shouldn't attempt anything creative. Of course, I am not suggesting that they were...just that savy baserunners could have taken advantage of Napoli's indecision.

58 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:14 am

[53] In a run down, we're taught to drive the lead runner back to the bag, all the way until he's committed himself in the other direction PLUS the fielder on the other end of a potential throw can still make an out play if you throw it. I have to look at the replay - but I'm not sure that there was even another fielder there to catch a throw from Napoli without incident. But the other thing is that with two guys either on the bag or in the vicinity of the bag, the distance at which a fielder on the other end can make a play is reduced to zero. Napoli was correctly responding to the situation of two guys putting themselves in tagging distance, giving themselves up instead of allowing for any possibility of a rundown.

I would strongly say that the guy who's responsibility it is to get into a rundown is POSADA - get in a run down and allow the trailing runners to fill in behind you. The correct move was definitely not his insane Jorge moment of running to the bag and then past it out into left field foul territory and out of the base path. Jorge's decision was so nonsensical that it could only be a Jorge decision. I've said it a bunch of times before - Jorge has some of the worst baseball instincts I have ever seen in MLB. Possibly the worst. Really think about Jorge's decision to run on past the bag - if you really break it down - you realize just how unfathomably fucking dumb Posada is once he steps between (or runs off from) the white lines.

[53] I understand what you're trying to say about Cano, but there are two problems - 1) your number one responsibility as the trail runner is to get to the bag that has been vacated and 2) he was way too close to be playing any games. In Cano's position, you MIGHT stay some FEET from the bag, waiting for Posada to get in a run down so that the second trail runner can fill in at second, but you would NEVER do so when the runner in front of you is as slow as Posada. It's worth it to see what a guy like Jeter can do in a rundown - it's never worth it to see what a guy like Posada can do in a run down. Even a good base runner who is as slow as Posada has little value in a rundown, because you can be caught at any point by infielders with normal human speed.

59 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:16 am

[55] Also, Posada did "get out" of the run down. He made it back to the bag safely...before continuing down the left field line that is. If he stays on the bag, Napoli's only play is to tag Cano, who if he was alert could have returned to 2B. Not only would that chain of events created the chance for an error, but it at least gives Swisher another chance to move up as well.

Again, this wasn't planned, but you can see (at least I can) a way that two intelligent baserunners could make a similar situation work to their advantage.

60 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:17 am

[55] Said a lot of what I was trying to say, in fewer words, about never playing any game of that sort with Posada as the partner.

61 The Hawk   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:18 am

[57] I think even savvy base runners would be trying to hard in that case; in fact I believe savvy base runners probably would have just gone along with that play the way it happens pretty much every other time in the history of baseball. But the larger point is, neither of the individuals involved are savvy. I guess Cano was trying to be clever, which he should be told not to do anymore.

Posada was obviously smoking marijuana during that game but that was Cano's fiasco primarily. Posada tried running toward the base once he saw Cano's foot was not on it, so I have no clue why he just ran past it. That was weird too but like I say Cano started the whole thing.

62 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:20 am

[58] I've played the game alot too, so I am familar with what you are saying. A fielder should run the player back to the preceding bag, but he shouldn't forgo a tag to do it.

I agree with you about the baserunners involved...I wasn't trying to suggest that Cano was attemptiing this strategy...just that it could be a smart strategy under the correct conditions.

63 The Hawk   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:21 am

[55] Posada only got out of the rundown on the basis of general confusion caused by - and also suffered by - Cano. What Cano was doing was so bizarre, not one person on that field could get their head around it. If you trick everyone including yourself, it's a not a very good trick!

64 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:22 am

[61] Not absolving Cano in the slightest, but ask that everyone pause for a moment to think about Jorge running PAST the bag. There are hundreds of Posada moments, and that one is a classic. The move is so insane, so 100% wrong, so lacking in any understanding of how this "base - ball" works that it can only be a "Jorge." He's pretty much out of the baseline, just to add to the sheer stupidity. I can buy that he's a man of normal intelligence off the field, but on the field he is so hopelessly fucking stupid it is incredible.

65 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:24 am

Robbie’s initial decision to stand off the bag was actually a smart one, but his failure to make any attempt to reach 3B once he saw Posada fly past the bag is baffling.

William, this baffles me, though through the haze of a good mood. How can it possibly be good, as jjmerlock points out, to be off the bag? ONLY if you are the slower runner and SURE the guy in the rundown will make the bag is it even feasible ... and that's a pretty reckless play/assumption.

Jorge, as I said above may have been thinking or overthinking, trying to ensure that Cano was the baserunner, not him, as he went past the bag. But he didn't look down!

Napoli did it just right, presented with Halloween candy early. Swisher also screwed up.

66 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:26 am

[62] I think one place where we differ is that you think Napoli could have tagged Posada at any point back up the baseline. That was not my impression - I'll have to rewatch the play, but I thought Posada had a few steps on him most of the way and as Hawk points out in echoing my point - once Cano is on or right near the bag, and in "giving himself up" position, the equation gets another favorable variable for the fielder.

67 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:26 am

[63] It is a very confusing play, but the situation happens frequently enough that it might be something worth designing. If two runners know the "strategy" going in, they could foster enough confusion to create a positive outcome.

[64] The only thing I can see an excuse for Posada is he made a sudden burst to the bag after seeing Cano off the bag, and his momentum (sorry monkeypants) drove him past the bag.

68 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:28 am

[64] I think he thought Cano was on the base and so better to give it to him. Once he saw he wasn't on the base, it was too late.

"just that it could be a smart strategy under the correct conditions."

No, never. It never would make sense. If you're going to go back to the previous base, you still stand on a frickin base until you make that move. That's basic fundamentals. No one should ever teach this insane strategy because it isn't a strategy at all. It's a recipe for exactly what should have happened - a double play.

[63] Exactly.

69 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:29 am

[65] The reason it would be good to be off the bag is because it signals to the runner that he should keep trying to get back to the bag. If Cano is standing on the bag, however, Posada might just give himself up.

Do you really think Posada was trying to cede the bag to Cano? I think he was more likely trying to buy time for Swisher. The reason I think Napoli made a mistake is because he could have tagged Posada earlier in the run down, but seemed stunned by Cano's position off the bag.

70 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:30 am

[64] Well, I have my Good Jorge analysis ... he assumed Cano was on the bag, how and why would he ever NOT be, if they are both on, he's the runner Cano is out. Cano is faster. So Big Po gave himself up to ensure being tagged and Robbie's the runner.

There you have it.

Of course Massive Brain Cramp is an equally or more valid theory, augmented by jogging to the dugout with 2 outs and a man on third later.

Remember the game a few weeks back where he messed up the ball/strike count TWICE - as batter?

71 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:30 am

"That was not my impression"

Mine either. It was one catcher trying to outrun another. And with Cano's idiocy if Napoli throws to 3B, that's also a double play with Swisher still on first.

72 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:32 am

[69] Signals to the runner? What? You're running back to the base and trying to stay away from a tag. Now you want the runner to also be looking to see if the trailing runner's foot is six inches from the base?

[70] Exactly.

73 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:32 am

Just watched it again - watch it again if you can - Posada *did* have a few steps on Napoli all the way up the line. I really don't think you can accuse Napoli of playing it any less than perfectly. Posada not scoring from second remains simply amazing (caught that too, as I rewound on the mlb.tv site.

But that's a "Jorge" - it's often not just one stunning blunder, but a full trip around the bases during which he does thing after thing that is so stupid that it is a complete overflowing package of stupid.

74 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:33 am

"I really don’t think you can accuse Napoli of playing it any less than perfectly."

Nor do I. He got a double play on a run down.

75 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:35 am

[73] I'd have to watch it again, but my first impression was Napoli was hesitant in pursuing Posada.

76 flycaster   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:36 am

Has it occurred to anyone else to wonder what the heck our 3rd base coach (who is he, anyway?) was doing on the Robby/Po brainfart play? I mean, does he feel that he has ANY purpose out there, besides enjoying his front row seat? In my playing days, any 3rd base coach I ever had would have been standing a foot away from Cano screaming, "Get on the bag, Get on the bag, Get on the f-ing bag!!!" Our guy was standing there scratching his plumbs. Just sayin'...

77 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:36 am

[70] There you add in the truly hilarious inspiration of running off, out of the baseline, into foul territory. If he wanted to give himself up, you should always do it heading back into the field of play and in the proper direction, so that at least the other team has to account for you and accept your hari-kiri. It's so bad, it is kind of funny, and is the thing you can *almost* laugh about after a 10-1 win. But, of course, this series is not over, and if we win this, the next opponent is tenacious, so the stupidity has a frightening component to it.

78 Paul   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:37 am

[76] He had two dumb runners to track.

79 flycaster   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:39 am

[78] That's for sure.

80 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:41 am

[73] You're right...just watched it on MLB.com. Napoli didn't have a tag, so he played it right, although Cano was so far from the bag, he could have thrown the ball if he noticed it (which would be hard to do).

The amazing thing about Cano is he wasn't inches off the bag...he was a couple of feet away. Also, his posture was that of an observer...not someone waiting to tocuh the base once he read the situation. Furthermore, after he was called safe, he walked off the bag again...and had to beat a second tag!

Awful all around for Cano.

81 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:42 am

[76] I did ask that earlier in the thread. The replay shows him pointing at the bag and yelling at Cano. I don't think he deserves blame.

82 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:45 am

So... to get off of yelling at our two (unfathomably stupid) players, people may want to look back to my [49]. Because let's not forget that the most unforgivable things that happened last night were performed by the men in charge of the game...

83 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 11:50 am

[80] I thought you would see it that way on a rewatch. The thing is - even with Cano off the bag (but still within tagging vicinity) - as the fielder, I still say your #1 responsibility is always the lead runner.

I think of "pickles" - which we drilled endlessly - as always involving the following:

1) every fielder needs to rush in to occupy a spot in the rotation

2) the essence of a pickle from a fielding perspective is a) always control the lead runner b) drive back and c) throw and rotate out, when appropriate

3) again, always avoid disaster, making sure that the worst case - the lead runner getting out and preceding to a further base or worse, home, never happens. This means being incredibly careful about entering any situation where the lead runner is not being driven back to the bag...

84 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 12:02 pm

Whoa - just watching the replay now - didn't have my feed up immediately - but didn't Kazmir balk on that first pick off? He crossed the plane towards the outfield and then threw. As a long, long time ago lefty pitcher with a nasty pick off move and very little else (some kid hit a ball about 400 feet off of me when we were 12), that sure looked like a balk.

85 monkeypants   ~  Oct 21, 2009 12:08 pm

[67] and his momentum (sorry monkeypants) drove him past the bag.

Now that's momentum I can believe in!

86 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 21, 2009 12:24 pm

[85] Sets it up!

New Banterism for Jorge running on basepaths ... Pomentum.

87 The Hawk   ~  Oct 21, 2009 1:35 pm

One other thing: The third base ump was completely out of position on the Swisher play. He could have and should have gotten up the third base line a bit so he could have both the runner and the fielder in view. We've seen this a thousand times.

I think he may have done it on purpose. To make up for the bad call at second, he needed to be in position to call Swisher out no matter what, which would be by necessity the incorrect position.

Did anyone see the post-game press conference when he said he "thought in [his] heart" that Swisher was out?

88 jjmerlock   ~  Oct 21, 2009 3:03 pm

I did, indeed, find that a simply bizarre explanation. Particularly in that the meat of his explanation wasn't coverage of "how can we make sure this will not happen again."

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