Him: I’m glad we don’t have Berkman or Freese
Me: Yep. TLR’s fault.
Him: Thank you
Me: That was sarcasm, [creative expletive]
Me: Pretty sweet how he gets no credit for bringing a team from the brink of elimination to a World Series, but a double-switch doesn’t pan out & we’re crucifying him again.
Him: See, that’s what I’m talking about. Right there. Why wouldn’t you leave Miller in?
Me: What are Torres’ career numbers against Miller?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: Is he 13-16 lifetime with 8 doubles?
Him: I have no idea.
Me: Do you think LaRussa & Duncan know?
Some consider me a LaRussa honk. For what it’s worth, I don’t consider myself to be one. I don’t agree with everything he does, sometimes downright despise a move he decides to make. But, by no means does the man have a blank check from me for a ringing endorsement on anything & everything he does. 95% of the time, when it comes to what my friends describe as me “defending LaRussa”, all I’m actually doing is trying to make one point. The same point I always try to make. Here’s how it usually sounds, “I’m not defending or attacking him for what he did or didn’t do. I’m not saying it was a great move or a terrible move. (Usually, I give my opinion as to which, if either) All I’m saying is: Don’t you think Tony probably has access to more information about the situation than you or I do? Details that probably played into his decision right there?” It’s really not much more than being an advocate of information. The same can be said for any manager in any game, even Dusty Baker, for whom I do not much care, to put it lightly.
It’s true, Ryan Franklin did earn a blown save that day. But my friend’s point was that Franklin couldn’t be trusted to close games…etc, etc. (Something that, granted, we would later learn to be a fact.) However, more than an incredible superhuman ability to prognosticate about future events, it was his intent to point at his chosen scapegoat as the reason for the Cardinals loss. What was conveniently not referred to by my friend (or in the 15 subsequent comments) were Albert Pujols trio of double-plays he hit into that day (nothing like turning a 9-inning game into 7), a ball that Yadi threw down to nail Ludwick by 8 feet as he tried to steal second and Theriot let him kick the ball out of his glove, or a handful of other plays that turned out to be difference-makers.
My point in these two examples is that too often, casual fans (even the ones who are casual fans, but consider themsevles hardcore) look at one instance, one event, one matchup or blown call…etc, and hang the entire game’s outcome on it. Those are the fans that I have the hardest time relating to. You know the worst type of high-maintenance girlfriend? Not the one who is high-maintenance and knows it, oh no. It’s the one who is high-maintenance, but thinks she is low-maintenance. Casual fans who “consider themselves” baseball experts are just as bad. I’m not claiming to be some elitist who is, in some way a better fan, or a smarter baseball guy than the next person. I am well aware of my lack of knowledge in certain aspects, and where my understanding falls short in areas of this game. I know enough to understand that I don’t know it all.
I said all that to say this: Please understand, my fellow fans, that it is rare–and I mean RARE–that the outcome of a baseball game lies in one single play, call, or decision. Just like winning as a team and losing as a team, those wins and losses come after thousands of situations have unfolded in an unlimited number of possible outcomes.
Manager brings in stud closer.
Stud closer doesn’t have his stuff that night.
Manager pinch-hits for cleanup hitter with a bench guy.
Cleanup hitter has a 103 temperature.
Bench guy hits a mistake into the corner for a 2-run double.
Bullpen has two lefties
One lefty was up all night with his newborn, and is going on 30 minutes sleep
Manager uses the other instead, fans outraged over “idiotic move”.
Etc, etc, etc.