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:

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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.

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.

We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.

Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.

It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.

Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.

This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.