Monday, October 28, 2013

Chin up, Mr. Wong

Lesson for Kolten Wong: The way the game ends is not the way the game is lost.

The St. Louis Cardinals lost World Series Game 4 last night in a most deflating fashion.  In the bottom of the 9th.  Two outs.  Tying run at the plate, and a man on first - a rookie named Kolten Wong, who was pinch running for the injured but bat-happy Allen Craig.

What happened next wouldn't have been predicted by even the most ardent of baseball aficionados.  Wong was picked off leaning.  Boston's crafty closer, Koji Uehara, has a move to first you wouldn't believe, and the game was over.

At first, Cardinals fans were aghast.  Then confused.  Then angry.  Then numb.  But perspective is everything, isn't it?

Kolten Wong, however you may feel right now, your teammates lost the game way before you came in. They lost it when they left men on base against a burned out pitcher making his last start.

Your teammate Randy Choate might have made short work of Mr. Gomes.  Shoot, the team is paying him millions.  Instead, your manager brought in Seth Maness, a double play-producing pitcher, when you didn’t need a double play.  You needed one lights-out strikeout.  That’s Choate, not Maness.

Matt Holliday stranded two runs.  Jon Jay and David Freese?  Don’t get me started.

The game was in the bottom of the 9th with the tying run at the plate, the birds' biggest bat, Carlos Beltran.  Kolten, as a pinch runner, maybe you misunderstood.  The Cards didn’t need a stolen base.  They needed a body because Craig was hurt.  They needed two runs.  You got picked off.  Hard lesson, no doubt.  I’m glad you felt bad about it.  It was a rookie mistake.

But you are a rookie.  And remember, this loss was a team effort, (or lack thereof) and it was lost far earlier than the 9th.  This was the first World Series game in history to end with a first base pick-off.  The night before was the first World Series game in history to end with an obstruction call.  Boston didn’t lose that game in the 9th, either.  They lost it earlier when they failed to advance their runners.

Mr. Wong, history will remember you, like it or not.  Own it.  One day we will all laugh at the memory.  But whatever the social media meme-of-the-day is about the hated St. Louis Cardinals and their haughty fans, remember this.  Cardinals fans are the best fans in baseball, and the most forgiving, because next time you hit the field, you’ll get a standing ovation.

That wouldn’t happen in Boston, trust me.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

On health care

"People who feel safer with a gun than with guaranteed medical insurance don't yet have a fully adult concept of scary. Most of the scariest things that are liable to try to get you, as an adult, you can't shoot 'em. At all."

-- William Gibson