A Walkoff Wipes Away All Sins

August 12

                 With one swing, Juan Uribe gained absolution … for himself and for others.  With one swing, all sins were (almost ) forgotten.  And a new chapter was written in the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, which I explained in a previous post  ranks with the best in sports history because it spans two eras and two coasts.

                 Uribe was having one of  his worst days in the majors today at A T and T Park, and so was umpire Gary Darling.  In fact the umpiring crew was having a week that gave new meaning to the word brutal.  Blown calls, mostly at first base, all against the Giants.  Players have slumps, and so do umpires, apparently.

                Both Giants manager Bruce Bochy and bench coach Ron Wotus were run for arguing calls today.  Ironically, Bochy was disputing a call Darling called correctly — Manny Ramirez avoided a pickoff.

               Uribe had stranded seven runners on base, twice producing hideous at-bats with the bases loaded, and dropped a pop fly at shortstop which he lost in the sun — with his sunglasses fetchingly propped on top of his cap.

               Uribe appeared to  reach a new depth of hideosity in the bottom of the tenth inning, falling behind 0-2 to reliever Guillermo Mota with a runner on.  Uribe is an inveterate hacker, and often looks bad at the plate, but when connects, the ball goes.  Mota made a mistake, and Uribe launched it into the left field bleachers.  4-2 Giants over the Dodgers in 10 innings.

               Uribe would kill the Giants if he was an everyday player, an out-making machine, but he is very useful as a reserve with an occasional power who can play several positions.  Extra-base power off the bench.  Not a bad signing for a million bucks.

               Uribe might have earned his million with two swings:  a bases clearing double in Seattle, and today’s two-run walkoff.  You can’t underestimate the size of today’s win.  The Giants were down, beaten, feeling disrespected, and ready to head out on a Homer’s Oddysey-like 11-game road trip.

               Uribe will now go down in Giants-Dodgers lore, and this week’s umpiring crew should give him the benefit of the doubt on every pitch from now on.  He saved them a harsh spotlight and fan abuse.  The Giants were getting snarly today, the crowd was getting ugly.

               The crowd mood reflected the crew’s performance.  Darling, Todd Tichenor, Bill Hahn, and Paul Emmel might have had the worst week a major league crew has had for — well, maybe ever.  I will be very interested to see if any of them work the postseason.  I will be very interested to see if one or more is even in the majors next season.

               Also absolved was Pablo Sandoval, who won’t be remembered for admiring his long double which he thought was a home run but should have been a triple in the 9th.  Sandoval owes Uribe dinner, as does acting manager Tim Flannery for pinch-hitting Aaron Rowand in place of Nate Schierholtz in the 9th.  Rowand hit into a double play.

                By the way, that was not second-guessing, it was first-guessing.  As Rowand came to the plate I complained to colleagues that Schierholtz stood a much better chance of beating out a double-play grounder.  He would have been hitting out of the left-handed batter’s box and has more speed than Rowand.  That obviously fell on deaf ears.

              Uribe took the steam out of the second-guessers, and first-guessers.  Instead, everyone boards the plane to New York with smiles on their faces and ready to take on the struggling Mets.  The umpiring crew will go on to their next city, knowing they need to up their game.

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One Response to “A Walkoff Wipes Away All Sins”

  1. Don Says:

    I am glad I was not the only one scratching my head over the Rowand pinch hitting play. I did not get that and I think right now Nate is a better hitter and at the least, as you stated, much faster.

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