The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

The Ghost of Earl Weaver

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I like to think there was an Earl Weaver sighting at Camden Yards in Baltimore last night.  Right around the middle of the eighth inning, a short misty cloud of profanity was hovering around Detroit manager Brad Ausmus.  I imagine that several fans who walked past Weaver’s statue outside the ballpark after the game heard echoes of a disembodied voice laughing and humming strains of “My Way.”

"My friend, I'll say it clear / I'll state my case, of which I'm certain..."

“My friend, I’ll say it clear / I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain…”

Sure this is all in my imagination.  Here’s  how it was fed:

It was the top of the eighth inning, and Detroit was down 4-2.  This isn’t cause for concern because the top of the Tiger order is up, and that includes Miguel Cabrera.  True to form, lead-off hitter Ian Kinsler reached base.  Brad Ausmus called for the hit-and-run when Torii Hunter stepped to the plate.  Ausmus knows Kinsler has the speed to reach second, and with any luck Hunter would make it to first and set the table for Cabrera.  In the least, Detroit would have a runner in scoring position.  The problem is that the hit-and-run forces the hitter to swing at pitches he might otherwise let pass, and the base runner is too far along to turn back should something go wrong.  That is why Earl Weaver would never call for the hit-and-run.  It’s more likely to take runs off the scoreboard than it is to add them.

Sure enough, Hunter hacked at a pitch and blooped the ball to the shortstop, who easily caught it for an out and then relayed to first for an even easier out since Kinsler was already at second.  There were suddenly two out, and nobody was on base for the first of Detroit’s big boppers.  Cabrera hit a home run to cut the lead to 4-3, but without the wonky hit-and-run, Detroit could have been tied or up 5-4.  A tie or a lead would have completely changed the pitching strategies Detroit applied in the bottom of the eighth; instead, the strategy they employed resulted in Baltimore scoring eight runs and putting the game, and possibly the series, out of reach.

Perhaps Brad Ausmus needs to check out Weaver’s notions regarding team speed, especially since his team is in the town where Weaver earned his reputation.  While the radio broadcast setup is fake, the insight Weaver lends to base running is authentic and especially valuable in October:

Team speed?  For Christ’s sake, you get fuckin’ goddamn little fleas on the fuckin’ basepaths getting picked off trying to steal, gettin’ thrown out, taking runs away from you…  you get them big cocksuckers that can hit the fuckin’ ball out of the fuckin’ ballpark and you can’t make any goddamn mistakes.

It’s good to see my long-suffering Orioles making some progress in the post-season.  I only wish it wasn’t coming at the expense of Detroit.  Still, I’ll take what I can get.

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Written by seeker70

October 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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