This is how you reflect on sports failure, kids

DanUpBaby from Viva El Birdos:

Nine-hundred and eighty times out of a thousand Matt Holliday catches the ball. Seven-hundred and eighty times out of a thousand a batter facing Ryan Franklin doesn’t reach base safely. If I keep saying that he sucks he can’t suck. None of it matters in that one instant except to remind us, to insist to us, that baseball isn’t always like this, that normally it meets our expectations halfway.

Right now the best part about the 2009 season is that it’s happened—that we lived through and talked about two proposed Matt Holliday trades, 29 Chris Carpenter starts, the birth of a new, scrappier middle infield, an incredible run away from our natural rivals—and that it’s still happening. It animated another summer with possibility and discussion and mustaches, and it’s gotten us into fall with the potential for one more improbable attempt at keeping things going. I would rather the baseball season never end; failing that, I’d like to see it through Saturday.

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  1. APBA Guy said...

    Having watched Holliday for 4 months in Oakland, I can tell you that both my girlfriend and I predicted Holliday would drop the fly ball yesterday-predicted it once we saw him lumbering in.

    He’s certainly hustling more than he did for the A’s. And I have seen the comments about “advanced fielding metrics suggest that Holliday is outstanding.”

    Sorry. For 100 games I saw him stagger around out in left, misplaying balls and allowing extra bases regularly.

    I know Cards fans have seen the improved version. His at-bats are definitely more energetic. But he isn’t a young Barry Bonds in left. And while I don’t think dropped balls will be common for him, not getting to balls at all will be.

  2. joe said...

    This is going to be a shame if it all falls back Hollidays missed catch. Been around long enough to have seen live at the game, The Billy Buckner Error. While a crushing blow to the Sox at the time, it wasn’t at all the reason for there losing the World Series.
    But how funny it is all anyone will remember the guy for.
    Look he dropped the ball, misplayed the ball. Whatever you want to say. But without his home run they wouldn’t have been there. If you made better pitches he would never have had to catch the ball. And if they would have hit better as a team it wouldn’t have mattered.
    My point is simple. One player does not make a team.

  3. Todd said...

    The very fact that Holliday makes that play 998 times out of 1000 is why he’s the goat. Did other players fail in critical situations? Yes. But their odds of success were not nearly as good. And unlike Franklin’s failures (or Ryan’s, or whoever else), the Dodgers were not involved. That is, once the ball was in the air, no Dodger was making it more difficult for Holliday to catch the ball. Whereas, Dodger players were making it more difficult for Franklin to get outs, Ryan to get hits, etc.

    It’s also worth noting that Holliday’s backwards K in the 1st inning of game 1 was absolutely abysmal, and crippling to a tremendous chance of blowing the game open before the Dodgers even came to bat in the series. If you believe in the idea of setting the tone or whatever…

  4. jlive said...

    Indeed, a little part of my soul died with Holliday’s error.  But that’s part of baseball.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure what to think about Holliday’s strikeout in game one.  If you look at the pitch f/x for that at-bat, you will see that not one of those pitches was actually in the strike zone.  Moreover, the first pitch of the at-bat, which was called a ball, was virtually identical (probably actually identical horizontally) to pitches three, four, and five.  So, maybe Holliday should have swung anyway after two strikes, but pitch five was *not* in the strike zone, and it would be hard to defend the umpire on the grounds that he was calling a consistent (though wide) zone.

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