The low point of a low Reds season happened last night.
In the fifth inning the Reds loaded the bases. Jason Bourgeois was at third base. One out. Jay Bruce was at the plate and popped the ball up on the infield, just to the first base side of the mound. The call: infield fly rule in effect. That means that the batter is out, force plays are not in effect and the fielder doesn’t have to even catch the ball.
So, Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar watched the ball drop in front of him.
And then he watched Bourgeois break from third base. Hochevar thew home, Bourgeois was tagged out for a 1-2 double play and the inning was over:
If Bourgeois simply stays at third, the Reds are still in business. Bourgeois didn’t talk to the media after the game, but Bryan Price said it was an “instinctual” thing. He must’ve been thinking “ball on the ground, bases loaded, I HAVE to go!” Of course, the entire point of the infield fly rule is to avoid such an impetus and to take the gimme double play away from the team on defense.
Your 2015 Reds, folks.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).