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Monday, July 31, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Mike Bielecki CAL b. 1959, played 1995

Vic Davalillo LAN,CAL b. 1936, played 1968-1969, 1977-1980, All-Star: 1965. A terrible base stealer and an impatient hitter, he had a shockingly long career anyway, retiring at age 43 after sixteen seasons in the bigs. The Angels had him for parts of two seasons after Cleveland decided they'd had enough of his impatience at the plate; his career took him through Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Oakland and the Mexican Leagues before landing in Los Angeles as a pinch-hitter.

Davalillo had a moment of glory in the 1977 NLCS Game 3, a game the Dodgers had done their best to lose, including two runs driven in by consecutive bases-loaded walks by Burt Hooten in the bottom of the second, and an unearned run in the eighth thanks to Ron Cey hurling a ball into the opposition dugout. The Phillies, who had been all but unbeatable at home that year (60-21), had the Dodgers down 5-3 in the top of the ninth, and following two consecutive groundouts by Dusty Baker and Rick Monday, it looked like another win for the Phils.

Davalillo then supplied a miracle: he turned a two-strike pitch into a drag bunt single.

"God had had it with the Phillies," Times columnist Jim Murray wrote, because then Manny Mota followed up with a double that the lumbering Greg Luzinski couldn't field cleanly, allowing Mota to get to third on the error — and Davalillo to score. Davey Lopes then drove Mota home on what was adjudged an infield single to third. Or at least, it started out that way: an Astroturf seam caused the ball to take a wild hop into Mike Schmidt's knee, and then caromed to Larry Bowa, who managed to get the ball to first. The resulting call was controversial: umpire Bruce Froemming said, "Either the runner got there first or the ball did. Lopes beat the throw."

The God of Murray's universe wasn't done with the Phils yet: Gene Garber, one of the game's most dominating relievers, threw the ball away on a pickoff toss, and Lopes easily got to second, scoring on a Bill Russell single. After Reggie Smith's groundout ended the Phillies' catastrophe, the Phils at least had to look forward to their 2-3-4 batters coming up in the persons of Larry Bowa, Mike Schmidt, and Greg Luzinski. Outside of a hit-by-pitch on Luzinski, the Phils went quietly. The Dodgers went on to take the best-of-five series in front of a stunned 64,924 fans at Veteran's Stadium, with a 4-1 complete game by Tommy John.

Pembroke Finlayson BRO b. 1888, played 1908-1909, d. 1912-03-06

Billy Wynne CAL b. 1943, played 1971

Trade Rumormongering And Other Roster Notes

Fans Interfering With Balls In Play

... will not be hauled off by security if their last names happen to be Affleck and Garner:
Die-hard Red Sox fan Ben Affleck did his best to keep Alex Gonzalez in the batter’s box last night when he stepped up to Angels’ first baseman Howie Kendrick as he leaned into the stands to catch Gonzalez’s foul ball, but it was “Gone, Baby, Gone.”

Affleck, with wife and “Alias” star Jennifer Garner at his side, had a grab at the foul ball during the second inning when the couple shared a field box on the first base line and the Sox were trailing 3-1. Both Affleck and Kendrick were looking up. Affleck was angling for the ball as Kendrick ran toward him as it came down. When Kendrick reached the stands, Affleck refused to budge. Kendrick’s left arm pushed Affleck’s outstretched hands out of the way, making the catch to end the inning.

Some words flew between the Cambridge homie and at least one Angel following the play, and fans apparently slammed Affleck for not catching the ball. The Angels went on to win the game, 10-4.

Dodgers didn't sweep that series - they won 3 games to 1. I attended the one game lost, at Dodger Stadium. Elias Sosa balked in the winning run in the 8th, IIRC.
The ball was in the stands. Affleck didn't have to give way. Kendrick should know that.
Rob M. - Ah, righty-o. I thought they had changed it to a best-of-seven series by that time, and didn't look at the sequence.

Cap - I saw it as darn close, certainly not an obvious haul in from the stands. For all my pissing about this, I don't think Affleck was being a jerk about it.
It really wasn't that close. He stood up and reached upward with a deviation from normal of less than 20 degrees.

Plus, it's the Herald... If there was ever a finer source of shock journalism, I've yet to find it.

On another note, can we have hall of fame inductions every weekend for the rest of the season? Anything to keep Joe Morgan out of the booth...

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