Monday, September 01, 2008

Hit or error?

It's not enough that the Milwaukee Brewers acquired one of baseball's most dominating pitchers, CC Sabathia, and may well ride his talented left arm to the playoffs. Now they want to rewrite history.

The Brewers have appealed the official scorer's decision to credit Pittsburgh's Andy LaRoche with a fifth-inning hit in Saturday's victory over the Pirates. LaRoche topped the ball in the vicinity of Sabathia and the third-base line. Sabathia hustled over and, in an effort to save time, snatched the ball with his bare hand. He dropped the ball, and LaRoche reached first.

Here is the video of the play. What do you think? Take the poll at upper right.

Those plays happen all the time, and rarely is a fielder tagged with an error -- especially midway through the game. It's not surprising to me that the scorer ruled it a hit. With two outs in the ninth and a no-hitter on the line, OK, it would have been a shocker. That late in the contest, the first hit needs to be a "clean" one. As it turned out, Sabathia never gave up another hit -- clean or otherwise.

My only problem with the Brewers wanting a do-over -- to have the game now ruled a no-hitter -- is that Sabathia pitched the final four-plus innings without the pressure of having a no-hitter on the line. No pressure. No opponents trying to bunt their way on. No fan excitement.

However, the Brewers are within their rights. Baseball researcher Stew Thornley cited MLB Rule 10.01 (a):

"The League President, after considering the evidence submitted and any other evidence he wishes to consider, may request that the official scorer change a judgment call or, if the League President concludes that the judgment of the official scorer had been clearly erroneous, may order a change in a judgment call."By the way, the American League president was not involved in 1917, when the Chicago White Sox were belatedly tagged with being the victims of a no-hitter.

I referred to it in my Red Faber biography:

On May 5, Ernie Koob of the Browns was belatedly credited with a questionable no-hitter in his 1-0 win. The feat was tainted: The hometown scorer awarded the 24-year-old the no-hitter by switching Buck Weaver’s first-inning infield chopper from a hit into an error. The scoring change was so late, morning newspapers around the country reported the game as a one-hitter.
Look at the video and take the poll.

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