Lackey’s comments and the ‘tag’…..
A bunch of people have been asking me about both of the topics.
I don’t know John Lackey beyond a few conversations. He seems to be a real nice guy and he’s a damn good pitcher. I heard his comments last night and before commenting there is one real important piece of information many members of the media fail to acknowledge, downplay or just refuse to admit.
Sound bites taken after a game are dangerous. As the author of WAY MORE than I should have been, I can tell you that regardless (speaking about a pitcher of course) of the amount of time between me leaving the game and the interview I am still ‘processing’ the game and very much ‘in the moment’. Emotions for me are raw for days after a game, much less an hour or two. You ask me about something that I’m upset/fired up or/excited about and many times I will give an emotional and probably more times than I would like to admit, irrational, response.
I am not making excuses, I’ll stand by everything I’ve said, apologize for my screw ups and move on.
That being said I disagree with his comments. The better team ALWAYS wins in October. Like it or not the better team wins, always. I don’t care what your regular season record is, it means zero other than to determine where we are playing.
He was mad, their season was over, it happens and I completely understand his emotional response. Don’t put too much stock in it. Fact of the matter is the better team won and he got out pitched, twice. I don’t care about ‘bloopers’ or the ‘field effects’, both pitchers started even, Jon out pitched him. October has never been, and never will be about pitching good. October demands pitching great, pretty much every inning of every game. Good gets you early tee times. Great gets you a ring. He knows this because he was that guy in 2002.
Contrast his comments with Mike Scioscia, class whether he wins or loses and he’s always been that way, even when he played. I’m old enough to be speaking from experience since I competed against him. What he said was true, they played their asses off but the Sox played better. Understand you are hearing from a team and players who had 8 months of competing together, coming out on top 101 times, and feeling as if it was ‘their year’, all 6 teams feel that way in October. It’s an amazing low when it ends. One minute you are sitting there with a runner on third, 1 out, 90 feet from a lead and heading back to California, thinking momentum will swing your way, the 10 out 11 streak is over and you might even be thinking about the Rays. 15 minutes later you are standing there knowing you are flying across country to pack your locker and go home. It’s an incredibly empty and very surreal feeling.
Speaking of that 90 feet and runner on third. As I understand it a player must only retain control and possession of the ball during the tag of a runner. I would assume that means before, during and after. The grey area I would assume comes in determining the ‘after’ and when that timing actually occurs.
At some point the ‘tag play’ is over right? That’s where I think the umpire interpretation comes into play. I thought the call was correct simply because Jason made the tag and sometime after that his glove hit the ground and the ball popped out. Unlike football I don’t think the ground matters for a ‘fumble’ on a tag play. For a catch sure, but not a tag play. I am sure someone will cut and paste the rule a some point.
Should be a fantastic series in both leagues. Holding to my Sox/Phillies World Series though.