Yesterday’s Padres-Rockies game was, regardless of whether it left you happy, sad, or indifferent, one for the ages. The game also left me with several thoughts I wanted to share. Here they are in no particular order—actually, they are precisely in the order I have listed them:
• The similarities between the game-ending play at the plate, and the infamous Eric Byrnes 2003 ALDS play at the plate, are astounding. The runner is blocked off the plate, the ball gets away, the runner has ample time to get up and retouch the plate but is too stunned by injury to do so, and the catcher eventually retrieves the ball to apply the tag on a runner who is just sitting there, stunned, while fans stand helplessly by.
• The main difference between the two plays, of course, is that Holliday was called safe. But replays are at best inconclusive and actually it looked to me as if Holliday never did touch the plate. Which brings me to the following question: Why didn’t the Padres complain? At all? Even a little? All that was on the line was…well, the entire season. Strange that the entire club seemed to shrug its collective shoulders and start packing for Winter.
• It must be so rough right now to be a Padres fan. Remember, on Saturday they were one strike away from clinching a playoff berth and then yesterday they turned a 2-run lead over to baseball’s all-time saves leader. A’s fans have been down that road before—“Just slide, Jeremy!”, “Just keep running, Miguel!”, “But that wasn’t called obstruction for us!”, “Go back and touch the plate, Eric! It’s right there! The 5-pointed thing, right there in front of you!”—and we know how it feels. Ouch.
• Trevor Hoffman is the all-time saves leader in major league history, and is certainly one of the best closers of all time. But as his fastball, once low-to-mid 90s, then high 80s, dips down to Zito-levels (mid 80s), Hoffman may still have one of the best changeups you’ll ever see but he is no longer an elite closer. I think the end is near for one of the all-time greats; enjoy him, and appreciate him, while you can.
What a game, though—don’t you think?