Thursday, July 22nd, 2004
12:04 pm - It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Manny Ramirez?  
Let us consider that rarest of hits, the inside-the-park home run. Singles are commonplace. Hit the ball to the corners, or into a gap between the outfielders, and you'll usually get a double. If you're fast, and you hit the ball though the gap to the wall, you might get a triple. But something seriously weird has to happen in the outfield for a hit to be scored an inside-the-park home run. Willie Wilson, the outfielder for the Royals back in the eighties, is the only guy I remember doing it regular basis, but he was the fastest man in baseball at the time, maybe ever, and he was playing on Astroturf so the ball got by the outfielders in a hurry.

Last night, David Newhan drilled a ball off Pedro Martinez to the deepest part of centerfield at Fenway. Johnny Damon, the Sox centerfielder, attempted a spectacular catch, running full tilt into the wall while trying to grab the ball, but he missed, and the ball bounced off him down to onto the field. He quickly picked himself, retrieved the ball, and threw it in the direction the relay man waiting in short left field. Except it never got there. From the side of the viewing screen came the streaking figure of Manny Ramirez, the Sox leftfielder, who leapt and intercepted the ball like a free safety, and then stopped, turned, and threw the the guy backing up the relay man, who then threw home long after Newhan had chugged across the plate. The extra throw turned a potential triple into a homer. No error was charged because Manny did field the ball cleanly, as did the other fielders. Errors are only charged for physical mistakes, not mental ones.

Now, fielders practice relays for hours and hours in spring training. Under no circumstances does the throw ever go *to* an outfielder. So what the hell was Manny thinking about? It's not like he just happened to be standing along the path of the ball. He had to make an effort to get to it. One odd thing was that he was running from the right side of the field to the left, which says to me he managed to get himself way out of position in the first place given that he's the leftfielder. It's possible that given the unusual angle he was approaching the ball from, he thought it was way off line. It also possible he just had a brain spasm.

It was a bad night for the Sox defense in general, especially in comparison with that of the Orioles. Damon let another ball get by him earlier in the game. Meanwhile, Miguel Tejada, the O's shortstop, made a phenomenal over-the-shoulder full extension catch of a popup.

The Dodgers winning streak ends at eight. Ishii got pounded by Colorado last night. Going to Shea Saturday with msbelle and Tom S. to see the Mets and the Braves. Woo!
Current Mood: anticipatory
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msbellemsbelle on July 22nd, 2004 - 09:09 am
OH! I saw an in-field homerun at the Mets/Yankees game I went to. I was SO FREAKING EXCITED! Of course I don't remember who hit it or any details.
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Veejaneveejane on July 22nd, 2004 - 10:15 am
Manny's brain is not like other people's brains. Maybe he thought he was Derek Jeter for a moment. (I know a linguist who is agitating for this kind of mistake to be called a "thinko", like a typo but deep in the processing part of the brain instead of in the fingers.)

Then again, Johnny Damon: an excellent leadoff batter, but a man who does not know how NOT to run into things full-tilt. (Last time, it was a person, and he knocked himself unconscious.)
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DXMachinadxmachina on July 22nd, 2004 - 10:58 am
Running into the wall isn't quite so bad, because you can usually see it coming. One of the reasons he missed the catch was that he was bracing himself for the impact. Plus there's all sorts of padding out there these days. Most of the serious wall injuries are actually knees injuries and the like from players' spikes hitting the padding and getting stuck. Running full-tilt into another player tends to be much worse - both players accelerating into each other, no padding, and usually unexpected until you hear the other guy say "Oh shit!"
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