Monday, July 04, 2011

Game Of Inches & Coincidents

Baseball, its fans love to point out, is a game of inches. Sometimes, those inches can be stretched a little.

Yesterday's loss in Toronto came down to one play, when Shane Victorino broke too soon from second base and was picked off. Raul Ibanez followed with a double that would have scored Victorino and given the Phils a 5-3 lead. That may have been enough padding for Cliff Lee to work what turned out to be the fatal eighth inning a little differently. Instead, Lee was rocked for three home runs as the Blue Jays stormed back from a 4-0 deficit to take the finale of the three-game series and interleague play for this season.

Another common coincidence baseball fans love to point out is how often the guy who just made a great play leads off the next inning. I guess the opposite phenomenon was in effect in Victorino's case; to wit, the coincidence of a player making the game's bonehead play and then asking the fans to vote him into the All-Star game the next day. Oh, well, Shane, all is forgiven. You deserve to go to the AS game and I am voting for you.

While on the subject of interleague play, here's one vote to abolish it immediately. Not only has the novelty worn off years ago, but the schedules are invariably uneven in a given season with some teams playing a lot of contenders while their division rivals play a bunch of patsies. Naturally, interleague play is here to stay because, after all, it is the brainchild of the same alleged brain trust that maintains a DH in one league but not the other. The DH is the premier travesty that really comes into play in the World Series. Should the NL team win the All Star game and thus gain home field advantage for the Series, the only bright idea to come out of the AS game in decades, it can neutralize the AL's clear advantage with the DH being a fixture in that league by hosting four of the seven games, including the first two, if the Series goes the limit.

With new rumors of realignment brewing, the end of the DH fiasco may finally be at hand. Of course, the alleged brain trust could vote to have it in both leagues, something the Players' Union would probably love.

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