New York Mets v Washington Nationals

The Mets are appealing a scoring decision to try to get R.A. Dickey a no-hitter. They will lose.

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Lost in the Matt Cain perfect game drama last night was the fact that R.A. Dickey nearly threw a no-hitter of his own. The only blemish: a first inning infield single by B.J. Upton. It was a slow-rolling grounder that Wright tried to barehand and couldn’t.  The Mets, however, are trying to get that single changed to an error via an appeal of the scoring decision.

This seems doomed to failure.  Click the pic to watch the play:

source:

I think that’s called a hit almost every single time.

This is not unprecedented, by the way. Reader Jess Lemont reminds me that in 2008, the Brewers appealed a scorer’s decision to give Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche a hit in a CC Sabathia one-hitter. There, as here, the call came when the fielder — who was actually Sabathia —  failed to pick up a ball on a barehand attempt.  Here was the text of the ruling from MLB:

“The committee held an extensive and constructive decision after viewing footage of the play in question and considered the documentation presented by the Brewers. It was the collective decision of the committee that the judgment of the scorer was not ‘clearly erroneous,’ which is the standard set forth in Official Scoring Rule 10.01(a), and thus did not meet the criteria for League reversal of the call made by Official Scorer Bob Webb.”

“Clearly erroneous” is a high standard to meet and there is no way that the call on Wright’s play was that. It’s often called a hit. Most of the time, I’d guess, with the scorer’s reasoning presumably being that if the fielder had to go with a barehand play in order to make it, it was damn close to begin with.

So it’s great that the Mets are sticking up for their guy, but in this case I don’t think it’s going to be successful.

Oh, and a final note: I don’t think some of the “oh isn’t it rich that the Mets are doing this given the bad call that gave Johan Santana his no-no” comments I’ve seen on Twitter since last night are particularly on point. There’s a difference in my view between a judgment call by a scorer and a missed call by an ump. Scorer’s decisions do get overturned quite often and, to be honest, are more often wrong than the umps on the field are.

The upshot: the Mets aren’t hypocrites for doing this. They’re just not going to be successful.

Yordano Ventura represented the best and worst of baseball’s culture

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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It was reported this morning that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Former prospect Andy Marte was also killed in a separate car accident. Along with Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras, the baseball world has lost a lot of young, exciting talent in a very short amount of time.

Ventura was, like all of us, a complex human being. At his best, he was an exciting, talented, emotive pitcher who featured an electric fastball which sat in the mid-90’s and occasionally touched 100 MPH. At his worst, he was an immature, impressionable kid trying to fit in by exacting revenge against batters he felt had wronged him by slinging those electric fastballs at vulnerable areas of their bodies.

Baseball needed Ventura when he was at his best. It is players like him and Fernandez, not Mike Trout, that bring in new fans to the sport. To baseball die-hards, Angels outfielder Mike Trout is the pinnacle of entertainment because we know he’s an otherworldly talent. But to the average fan, Trout is just another player who hits a couple of homers and doesn’t do anything particularly interesting otherwise. Trout is milquetoast. Ventura was never an All-Star, but fans knew who he was because he made his presence felt every time he made a start. He was fun, if sometimes vengeful.

Ventura’s baseball rap sheet is rather lengthy for someone who only pitched parts of four seasons in the big leagues. Early in the 2015 season, Ventura found himself in a handful of benches-clearing incidents in quick succession. On April 12, he jawed with Trout, apparently misunderstanding the motivation behind Trout yelling, “Let’s go!” Though catcher Salvador Perez intervened, Trout’s teammate Albert Pujols ran in from second base and the benches cleared shortly thereafter. On the 18th, some drama between the Athletics and Royals continued. Ventura fired a 99 MPH fastball at Brett Lawrie, resulting in his immediate ejection from the game. More beanball wars ensued in the series finale the following day. Finally, on the 23rd, Ventura hit White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu with a 99 MPH fastball in the fourth inning. Ventura was not ejected… until after the completion of the seventh inning. Walking back to the dugout, Ventura barked at White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton and — you guessed it — the benches cleared. All told, Ventura was fined for his behavior with the Athletics and suspended seven games for the White Sox incident.

In August 2015, Ventura called Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista a “nobody” and accused him of stealing signs. He apologized shortly thereafter. Two months later, during his start in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, Ventura got into it with Jays first base coach Tim Leiper. Nothing happened beyond that, but apparently it was part of the Jays’ plan to try to put Ventura “on tilt.”

Most recently, in June this past season, Ventura hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a pitch. Machado charged the mound and got in at least one punch before the players spilled out onto the field in a blob of royal blue and orange. Ventura was suspended for eight games.

Ventura was by no means a model of civility, but he was a product of baseball’s intransigent culture forcing players to assimilate or be ostracized. The old culture taught players to never show emotion. Hit a home run? Put your head down and circle the bases in a timely fashion or risk taking a fastball to the ribs. Players like Fernandez and Bautista — typically players from Latin countries — challenged those old cultural norms and are, as a result, the vanguard of the new culture. Ventura displayed aspects of each, the worst of the old culture and the best of the new. He was not a one-dimensional person; he was strikingly complex. At one moment willing to use a fastball as a weapon, the next stopping by some kids’ lemonade stand and giving out fist bumps. Baseball is made more entertaining and more interesting by its personalities and Ventura’s was a behemoth, for better or worse. His absence from the sport will be felt.

MLB remembers Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 28:  Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers in the first inning during a game against the Boston Red Sox on August 28, 2016 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Following the tragic passing of 25-year-old Yordano Ventura and 33-year-old Andy Marte, both of whom were killed in separate car crashes on Sunday morning, players and executives from around Major League Baseball expressed an outpouring of grief and support for the players’ families and former teams.

Fans have gathered at Kauffman Stadium in memory of the former pitcher.