The Pittsburgh Pirates have trained in Bradenton, Florida since 1969. The ballpark in which they train, which has been around since 1923, has been known as McKechnie Field for the past 55 years. Now it’s getting a new name: LECOM Park, named after Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Bill McKechnie has an argument for being one of the best managers in baseball history and is very likely one of the most underrated. He’s a legend and people have invoked his name to refer to that charming old park in Bradenton since 1962. The odds that anyone who isn’t on the Pirates’ payroll calling it LECOM Park on a regular basis is pretty darn low, I reckon.
Which is how it should be. The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine isn’t paying you or me any money, are they? What’s more, calling it LECOM Park is more likely to confuse people than enlighten them, at least for many, many years. Unless and until it becomes more misleading and confusing to refer to it as McKechnie Field than LECOM Park, people should still call it McKechnie Field.
Technical accuracy has its virtues, but clear communication and useful and identifiable nouns are more important.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.