If you were just following Friday’s game online and weren’t able to watch or listen, you probably saw In play, out(s) when Albert Almora hit a grounder up the middle with the bases loaded and two out. But then you saw that a run had scored. And then your application stalled for a while and you might have tried to close it out or refresh, finally getting the following explanation:
Pirates challenged (force play), call on the field was upheld: Albert Almora singles on a ground ball to shortstop Jordy Mercer. Dexter Fowler scores, Anthony Rizzo out at 3rd, shortstop Jordy Mercer to second baseman Josh Harrison.
Sounds pretty wild, right? It doesn’t even come close to describing the craziness of the events on the field.
If you just saw the thumbnail of the video, you might be tempted to think this was some kind of redux of the Chris Coghlan/Jung Ho Kang incident from last season. Well, no, that’s a bad example. It may, however, have looked like an old-school takeout move, and certain angles do seem to aid that incorrect assumption. What’s clear from the center field angle is that Len Kasper pegged it when he said that Rizzo was trying to round the bag to remove the force play and allow the run to score.
The Cubs play-by-play actually likened to the move to a classic Craig Biggio ploy. If you look closely, you can even see sort of a surprised “oof!” look flash across Rizzo’s face just before he makes contact with Harrison.
The amazing thing to me in all this is that Dexter Fowler almost didn’t score because he was kind of loafing in from third on the play. In fact, I’m still kind of questioning the call even after watching it over and over. It just comes down to where Fowler was when Harrison actually applied the tag to Rizzo’s leg and the fact that it was ruled on the field that the run had scored.
I’d love to hear from folks who were at Wrigley Friday to find out how the video board may have enhanced the replay experience. For the longest time, my biggest gripe with live baseball has been that fans at the ballpark don’t have nearly as good an idea of what is going as as viewers at home. It wasn’t a Cubs game, but remember that insane infield fly call in the 2012 NL Wild Card game? A buddy of mine was there and had to keep texting back to other people to find out what was happening, all the while dodging the trash being hurled onto the field.
One guy even threw his shoes.
And people say this game is boring.