Here are several links from the past week that will make your World Series Monday a bit more bearable:
- The bizarre end to the third game of the World Series prompted one of its starting pitchers, Jake Peavy, to opine that it was a “joke” and that the home-plate umpire wouldn’t sleep well that night. Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra explains why the Sox pitcher is off base. Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus has a considerably more sober take on the interference call than Peavy does:
Now, the natural response to this is a great response: Intent doesn’t matter. (This is a great response as nearly all defenses of the obstruction call are great defenses; it being the case, after all, that an obstruction call is completely reasonable! As would be, many intelligent people would argue, a non-obstruction call.) Intent doesn’t matter in sports officiating, but of course intent does matter sometimes. Falling down in soccer isn’t against the rules; falling down on purpose, to deceive the officials, is. Throwing a baseball that hits a batter isn’t against the rules; doing so intentionally very much is. The neighborhood play at second base is simply a fielder failing to touch the bag but doing so intentionally, and being granted leniency by the knowing umpires. (The word intention appears in the rulebook 47 times.) Heck, umpires often fail to call a strike when the pitch, though in the zone, is not where the pitcher and catcher had intended it. That last one is a lousy part of umpiring that should make you mad, but it establishes a basic fact about umpires: they consider intent. It is perfectly consistent with how umpires do their jobs, and how the game is played. In a situation like this, where the rule is intentionally ambiguous, then it is arguably truer to the nature of the sport for intent to be considered.
- In case you were backpacking through the Tien-Shan mountain range inside Tajikistan on Sunday morning, below is the video of what transpired. Be sure to check out the close-up of Dustin Pedroia’s facial expressions beginning at 2:36:
- Once upon a time, Bill James offered his thoughts on how to rein in the scourge known as the intentional walk. Tom Tango agrees with James’s overall view, then suggests making it even more restrictive.
- Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation has details of the Giants’ move to extend Tim Lincecum’s stay in San Francisco to the tune of $35 million for two seasons. Brisbee’s colleague Rob Neyer notes the irony behind the front office’s decision:
Oddly enough, this is a $35 million bet on sabermetrics by a franchise that routinely dismisses the value of sabermetrics. Usually I’m happy to bet on sabermetrics. This time? I’m really glad it’s not my money.
- John Autin has intriguing information about another scourge, the designated hitter in the World Series. For example, did you know that . . .?
Dan Driessen was the first to come to bat as a DH [during the 1976 World Series between the Reds and Yankees], but on the second pitch, Tony Perez was thrown out stealing — so the first actual plate appearance for a DH went to Lou Piniella, who doubled and scored.
- Via Doug Rush of Sports Media 101, listen at your own peril: WFAN’s Mike Francesa takes down New York Daily News reporter Michael O’Keefe over MLB’s handling of the Alex Rodriguez investigation.
- ESPN SweetSpot’s Christina Kahrl offers up a list of Web Gems from World Series games over the past 50 years.
- In Game 1 of the Fall Classic, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina showcase how not to field a pop-up.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!