Monday, August 31, 2015

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball!!!

Yes people are getting injured at the ballgame. They have been getting injured since the game decided they could make money charging "fans" admission to the daily contest.

You knew right from the start, that to avoid injury you had to pay attention to what is going on in THE GAME!!!! Keep your eye on the ball was something the fans had to do as well as those in uniform on the field.

If you choose to feast on whatever delicacies the venue has to offer you may not be in position to make a play on a foul ball headed in your direction. It was originally thought that if you brought a glove you would have the protection you needed (provided you were "watching the game!").

I hear all this "netting" and other protective devices to protect those who just are in no position to protect themselves from an orb flying at the speed of sound. A sound that becomes a hush, the instant it smacks someone.

Heck, at AT&T, there is an area, next to the Big Glove, where a slide is in constant use by children. These people are probably out of range of one of those flying orbs but against the Washington Nationals, Ian Desmond, smacked one that landed in the vicinity. Close enough to let those "sliders" and their guardians know that you are at a place where things can happen that have little or nothing to do with what you are doing. I mean, come on, you go to AT&T to play on the slides? If you're the guardian of that little boy or girl, shouldn't you be paying attention to the immediate surroundings at all times? So when you hear the "crack of the bat" you had better know where the ball is?

If you're reaching over to catch a ball being tossed to you by a player or ball person, hadn't you be paying attention to the possibility of falling if the throw causes you to lean out over the railing? How badly do you need that ball if your life is at stake?

I can see a mesh type of netting going from foul pole to foul pole but that totally eliminates the chances of capturing a foul ball or going to the game early enough to see batting practice so your odds of getting a foul ball increase dramatically.

Sure, leave nothing to chance. Be all about safety. But also know that for those who ARE paying attention and did bring their glove, this is a sad day in baseball. The lifer, "old school" fan who took pride in doing everything the right way now has to take a back seat to fans who are at the game like it's some sort of amusement park. A place where they eat expensive foods and drink and have little regard for those around them.

Haven't we already experienced this sort of thing with the people who choose not to speak in the native tongue English/Spanish when they visit the United States of America? (Hint: What language is the print of the signs you see?)

Now we lifers must move over for Daddy and Mommy Warbucks. People with the money to spend on all the exorbitant food prices and souvenirs a ballpark has to offer. I understand that not everyone disrupts the flow of how things run but enough of these Joanie/Johnny come lately's and an uproar is bound to happen.

Since we're on the topic of fan safety, how about the broken bat issue? Think maybe the makers of these bats might want to go to Phineas J. Whoopee, the man at the chalkboard, one more time to see if their product can hold up to a 95 mph fastball?

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, August 17, 2015

Leads the League in "Getting Runners Thrown Out or Holding 'em When they Should've Been Sent" or How Much Do We Miss Tim Flannery?

Baseball is a sport in which followers of the game are fascinated by statistics.

We know the leader in home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI), runs scored (R), and the batting leader (AVG). But do we have a statistic for a third base coach? As in, how many runners has he held up that did not score? Or how many runners has he gotten thrown out at home plate?

Roberto Kelly began this season replacing one of the better third base coaches in major league baseball (Tim Flannery). Manager Bruce Bochy knows there will be growing pains. But what can be seen by the young/old man in the 22nd row is whether or not Mr. Kelly can utilize his knowledge of the situation (strength of outfielder's arm, speed of the player running the bases, ability of runner to run bases properly- use as little area to get from one base to the next- and the arms of those receiving the cutoff throw) to make an accurate decision in holding-up or sending the runner at any given time.

Is Roberto Kelly guessing? Rolling the dice on enough situations may possibly create a distance between the runner and their coach because of the "too frequent negative outcomes." Some runner (s) may have a tendency not to trust his decision making process and be thinking versus reacting to what the coach is demanding of the runner. And in the worst case scenarios these players may choose to ignore the coach and make their own decision by stopping when the coach is "waving them in" or running through the coach's stop signal.

Bochy and his braintrust need to figure out something soon or it'll be another odd-year season they come up short.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Is Cain Able?

Seeing balls leave the ballpark is becoming more and more commonplace with Matt Cain. He has an okay game and then he serves up the tasty meatball for the batter to dig into. Makes me wonder if the teams he does okay against are closer to minor league level (due to the dilution of talent because there are so many teams in the major leagues) than if he is effective.

Listening to ballgames with Cain on the mound can really test one's patience. How he usually jumps ahead in the count, say no balls and two strikes and then the batter fouls one, two, three pitches off because Cain cannot get the ball past the hitter. Then he misses the strike zone (of the home plate umpire for that particular game) on the next two pitches and now the count is two balls and two strikes.

Again, Cain tries to slip one past the batter but the batter fouls yet another pitch off. The next pitch is too close to take and the batter manages to get a piece of the ball keeping the count at 2-balls and 2-strikes. This is getting to be the theme of Matt Cain on the mound, as the usual continuum of batters battle him until they get a pitch they can handle and the ball goes such a long way that it inspires the announcer to say something like, "... And you can tell it GOODBYE!"

All too often Cain struggles to get his pitch past the batter. So much so I'm beginning to think the batter is more adjusting to the umpire's strike zone than anything Cain is doing. He battles with each hitter and by the fifth or sixth inning he puts himself in a precarious position that makes him highly susceptible to throwing a gopher ball. (Definition of gopher ball: a pitch that is hit for a home run.)

This may be the Matt Cain we may come to expect until his contract expires.

Kevin J. Marquez