by Joshua Worley
I ask a lot from baseball umpires. I hope Major League Baseball does as well. At the very least I expect them to be able to make any call that I can make while watching the game unfold in live speed. I saw the ball Atkins hit in the seventh inning clear the yellow line as it happened. I know my perspective isn't the same as the umpire's perspective. Mine is worse; seen on a 17 inch screen at classic resolution. He's there, in the park. It's his job. I've had it with umpires not doing their jobs. Make the correct call and don't curse out the players.
I shouted at the TV screen when I saw it happen: It's a home run. Then I kept shouting the same thing for a about a minute, at the sink, the wall, the ceiling, any household surface that would listen. I thought surely one of those 6 fool umpires saw the ball clear the yellow. I was sure they'd make the right call when they all congregated and talked it over. But no. Sigh. How can they screw up a call in the biggest regular season game of the year? Didn't they all go to umpire school? I think the US government should start making umpires pass a rigorous qualifying exam to get an ump license. And they have to renew if every year!
So I guess if the Padres had hung on to win that would have gone down in history as the wheel-chair phantom double, since it appeared to hit an empty wheelchair just beyond the wall and then bounce right back into the field. It would have been one of those awful moments in Rocky history, if their 15 years in the league can be called a history. It would have been a moment right at home in Cubs or Giants history, or Red Sox history before 2004. Instead it goes down as a funny sideshow in the game, all because Trevor Hoffman and the phantom slide in the thirteenth.
I'm kicking myself for not putting the prediction down somewhere before Hoffman worked his dark magic in the 13th to give the Rockies the win. I was so sure from the beginning that Hoffman would end up the loser. An irrational, certain feeling that he would give up a walk-off home run to lose the game for the Padres. Okay, so the home run part didn't happen. But the rest of it did. Look, Hoffman has been shaky at times all year, most recently two days ago. This wasn't a crazy as having a feeling Eric Gagne would blow a save in 2003, for instance. Hoffman's reputation has been larger than his game for awhile now, and with this delicious ending it has come crashing back to reality. I just wish Bud Black hadn't made us wait until the thirteenth inning to put in his bad luck charm. Thirteen innings did end up a bit much.
I guess Holliday lost the MVP when he horribly misplayed the ball hit to him in the eighth and won it back with his triple in the thirteens. I really think the MVP should come down to one play this year in the NL. There's no Alex Rodriguez out there who is the obvious winner, after all. Let's have some fun with it and let the last game of the year decide it. And Holliday is clearly a better pick than the other popular pick of the moment, Jimmy Rollins. And let's not even mention anyone on the cursed Mets.
I also think Peavy should lose his Cy Young with this loss. I know this is a stupid thing to say, but this game was such a heady rush to watch that I'm going with it. And let's face it, the bullpens showed that one can pitch in Coors without giving up a home run every other inning. Peavy nearly gave up 4; he should have given up 3 but for those fool umpires, and he did give up 2. He was wild all night, probably because in part he was rightfully scared of throwing a strike. How can the Cy Young winner not even be able to beat Josh Fogg in a one-game playoff? I say Peavy is disqualified, and the award goes to no one this year. Let's make the Cy Young like a golfing skins game. The winner next year gets two trophies. Hear that, Chad?
Now I've clearly lost my mind. But what a night. What a game. I've said it before, and I'll say it again --- I love baseball.