Just in the last two weeks, the A’s have overcome a 6-0 deficit in Seattle, and seen leads of 7-0 and 8-1 evaporate in the Texas and Detroit air. Isn’t it time that the “old school” cronies of baseball moved into the 21st Century, and stopped bellyaching over runners who steal bases in “lopsided” games?
There was a time when 3-2 scores were customary and it was considered unnecessary and altogether inconsiderate to steal second base with your team leading 8-1. Those days are gone, folks. You might need that 9th run. In fact it’s a compliment to the other team to scratch and claw for that 9th run because it says “We really believe you can come back. We really feel we need that extra run.”
15-2 in the 8th inning, fine. But baseball has simply changed, and it is completely appropriate for a team to try to extend a sizable lead in the middle innings. As long as there is a lot of baseball left in a game, there is ample time for the tables to turn. The object of the game is to score runs, not to make sure you score them just the right way so as not to upset the other team. If the other team doesn’t want to be “shown up” by a team—gasp—creating a run when they lead by seven, the trailing team should forfeit. “Eh, we know we can’t put up a 5-spot and get back in this game. Let’s just go home.” If you don’t want a guy to steal, hold the runner; if you don’t want him scoring from second, throw him out at the plate. Or don’t get down 8-1 in the first place. Or go whine to someone who cares.
In other news, last night A. J. Pierzynski marveled at Bobby Jenks retiring 41 straight hitters to tie the major league record, citing how amazing it was “for him to go almost 14 innings and not walk a guy, not hit a guy, or not have a guy make an error, or a wild pitch or anything, that is pretty amazing.” No, A. J., what’s amazing is that you think a wild pitch would break the streak. See you at 4:00pm for the A’s-Tigers series finale.