Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Confounidng Art of a 20-Inning Loss

A no hitter, no matter how "sloppy" is one of the most beautiful things in sports. I love seeing the joy of the pitchers and his teammates after the historic achievement. That said, it is a little disappointing when a 20-inning, dead whale of a game drifts ashore and the Coast Guard managers decide the best way to deal with it is stick a half a ton of TNT into the bloated carcass and blow it into pieces on top of the 1968 Lincolns.
Like a lot of epic art, there is a lot to like about this game and even more to throw 74 m.p.h tomatoes at. This game was that long running joke that was funny at first (Jaime Garcia had his own no-no after five) then annoying, (ok, it's the 8th, lets string together some runs), then dumbfounding (Holliday removed and the pitcher's spot "protecting" Pujols in the 11th), then kind of funny again (Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather: the new Todd Stottlemyre and Donovan Osborne), and finally somewhere between exhaustion and apathy (Lohse is in left field, Mather is IBB the bases loaded).
First, let me say that any sabermetricians that Gladwellian try to prove that protection in a line-up doesn't work can go shove it up their ass. LaRussa stuck with the back-up catcher on the bench until the 16th because he represented the "last bullet." That's fine if you have some hard and fast rules that you always follow. I'm okay with that. But one of those rules must be "NEVER EVER LET A PITCHER HIT BEHIND PUJOLS."
Despite what others  might think, LaRussa isn't a bad manager. You don't win as many games as he has by shear sheer luck (Maybe by shear sheer cash, and a league that favors do-nothing managers, but not by shearsheer luck). But LaRussa needs an editor. He is Charlie Kaufman. He is capable of brilliant work, if he has somewhat rigid guidelines. But when he gets free reign, occasionally long, drawn out  monstrosities like a 20-inning, no run game or Synecdoche, New York come to ill-advised fruition.
But how disappointed can you be in this game? The players and managers for the most part, were in awe of it. See the audio quotes posted by BJ Rains. Sure, each team wanted the win, but it's one game (actually more than two games that count as one). They'll be ready for the next day's game, which is conveniently against the Mets.

**Edit** I have removed some dumb comments I made about a fellow blogger. They were unnecessary and after some thought and manual labor, I came to my senses. Indeed, I, of all people, should not accuse others of being a reactionary (and yes I see the irony snake eating itself here and I am a snake's ass). So I apologize to 310toJoba, who was only expressing his opinion as freely as I enjoy.

No comments: