by John Walters

Dis A Ray


History will record that at the time Blake Snell was pulled from a do-or-die game in the World Series for the Tampa Bay Rays, he had struck out each of the first three hitters in the Los Angeles Dodger lineup twice. And their leadoff hitter, Mookie Betts, was about to come to bat for the third time.

So, in case you are not paying attention: six plate appearances for the Dodgers’ top three batters and six strikeouts.

The Rays led 1-0 with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Snell had struck out nine and allowed two singles, the latter to the Dodgers’ No. 9 hitter. The 6’4″ former Cy Young Award winner had PLENTY of gas left in the tank. And manager Kevin Cash pulled him.

Understand: this is a forever moment. This isn’t the second game of a three-game set in mid-May. Blake Snell, Kevin Cash, the Rays: they’re never coming back to this moment. Even if they all return to the World Series.

Blake Snell was pitching the game of his life in the most important game of his life and Cash, adhering to some arcane saber metric guidepost, robbed him of it. Robbed the entire team. Remember in Hoosiers when Norman Dale tried to diagram a game-winning play that would make Jimmy Chitwood the decoy and the rest of the Milan High team looked at him like he was batshit crazy? That was what happened last night in Arlington.

It’s tough enough to lose. It’s unforgivable when you out-manage yourself. Moneyball, yes. Cashball, no.

This Justin

No sooner had the Dodgers secured their first World Series title in 32 years than Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt reported that the reason third baseman Justin Turner had been pulled in the late innings was because he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Then things really got weird.

First, one of my students phoned and posited the thought that what if the Rays had won Game 6? Would Game 7 have been postponed as the Dodgers quarantined? Then there was Turner out on the field celebrating with his teammates, which is completely understandable and yet, probably against MLB protocol.

THEN it really got weird when Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Turner had tested positive on Monday, and again on Tuesday.

I may not be understanding Rosenthal well, but why is he talking about whether or not Turner should’ve been on the field during the celebration? Why isn’t he talking about why Turner was even in the game in the first place? He tested positive on Monday. Shouldn’t the second test have been about whether he could return to the field?

In other words, why let him take the field in Game 6 before a second test, for lack of a better word, exonerated him? And who is at fault here? MLB? The Dodgers? Turner? All?

Crazy ending, but then it fits our year.

And You Want To Be My Latex Salesman

Ole Miss coach was recently fined $25,000 by the SEC for questioning a call in the Rebels’ loss to Auburn on Saturday. Lane-changer was totally correct on the call, which cost his team a touchdown, but he whiffed (twice) on the math later when he suggested snarkily how he’d pay his fine.

Someone must have been sitting in the same math class as Mara Gay growing up.

A Higher Porpoise

Love this moment. It almost makes up for the spring break jackasses being responsible for a baby dolphin’s death a few years back because they all wanted to pose with it on the beach as it suffocated. Thankful for people like this.

Poocher Perfect

I guess we could’ve devoted this final item to what miserable human beings the Trump family are, and how the president left his rally goers in Omaha literally out in the cold as Air Force 1 flew off into the night, with all of them having to find their way back to their vehicles in freezing temps in lots that were nearly four miles away. At least nine of them were taken to hospitals and treated for hypothermia (as many—most?—are older and obese and probably will test positive for the coronavirus, too) and I suppose you could make a point about how it’s all a perfect metaphor for who Trump is and where his dumb(struck) acolytes will find themselves in the near future.

I suppose we could’ve riffed on that. But I’d rather show intelligent and amiable dogs. All of whom I’d rather hang out with than the average Trump supporter.

5 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Rosenthal, later Tuesday night, corrected that Turner timeline.

    Re Snell, the decision to lift him was understandable even if it didn’t work out. Just a few games ago, he was throwing a no-hitter, was left in to face the top of the order a third time and got hit hard. “Plenty of gas in the tank” last night is a guess at best and throwing well over 5 innings doesn’t make it more likely that his performance in the 6th would be better than rested relievers against the top of the order.

    The main reason the Rays lost is that they scored one run against the best-hitting team in baseball. Almost impossible to win that way, regardless of who is on the mound.

    • When everyone on the other team is glad to see Kevin Cash walking to the mound, you’ve made the wrong decision. I can cite you stats as to how poorly Anderson had pitched in this postseason, too.

      Snell had been dominant through five in the biggest game of his life. And of their lives. Go with your best pitcher until he gives you a reason not to. Everyone is welcome to an opinion here, and you’re right about the one run. But I’d have never pulled Snell. And if Mookie had taken him yard in the next at-bat, there’s no shame in that. Their best would’ve beaten your best.

      • I agree that Anderson may not have been the right choice to come in there, even though he was dominant during the regular season (he gave up only one hit to right-handed hitters during the regular season). That doesn’t mean lifting Snell was wrong.

        “Go with your best pitcher until he gives you a reason not to” means “leave your starter in too long.” That’s been Dave Roberts’ great flaw with Clayton Kershaw over the last few years — this year, he pulled him before the 7th in two starts, and the Dodgers won both games.

        Here is a more knowledgeable and detailed defense of the Snell decision:

  2. I was flipping thru a catalog last night (yes, some DO still exist) & saw a PERFECT Xmas gift for you. It was a t-shirt with the following on the front :

    “I Don’t Care Who
    Dies in the Movies
    As Long as
    The Dog Lives”

    Amirite? 🙂

    I, ahem, was not even aware the MLB ‘post-season’ was happening until the World Series started so “I know noTHING” (said with Sgt Shultz accent) so can you tell me what kind of “BUBBLE” those teams have been in? How did the guy even get COVID if in a Bubble? And WHY was he even at the stadium?! And to let him on the field with EVERYONE during the celebration, hugging, etc? EVERY SINGLE PERSON on BOTH teams & on that field during the celebration need to now QUARANTINE! My god, how asinine is MLB (& the Dodgers & Turner)?

    As for removing that pitcher, again, my knowledge of baseball’s “tactics &/or analysis” would fill a thimble but HOW was that a good decision? Do you think that manager will get fired early next season if they don’t immediately win almost every game because of THAT Game 6 decision?

    And speaking of coaches getting fired, WHY do so many Head Coaches in the NBA & NFL get chance after chance after chance (i.e. job after job, etc) after getting fired? Maybe if they’ve won a championship at one of those stops, I can understand it but otherwise? Two examples – Norm Turner was a great OC in the NFL but at his multiple stops as Head Coach, his teams were TERRIBLE! I think he had at least 3 if not 4 HC jobs! And I like Stan Van Gundy (well, I like his tweets when I see them) but after his last unsuccessful stint as HC in Detroit, isn’t it surprising he’s got yet another HC job, now with the Pelicans? And Doc Rivers was outta work, what, a WEEK between getting fired from the Clippers & hired by the Sixers? How many times do you have to fail before NOT getting another chance as Head Coach? Sure would be nice if ALL jobs were like that!

    Love that video clip of the dogs. BTW, a few years ago you posted a photo that was on someone’s twitter of a bunch of penguins & ONE laying down in front of the camera with this goofy grin & you captioned it “Sealfie”. 🙂 🙂 I printed it all out & it’s on my wall at work. It makes me laugh EVERY TIME I look at it! If I could enlarge it enough, that’s what I want on a t-shirt. 🙂

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