Saturday, September 16, 2017

Rocking at the Florence Freedom

I'm the one on the right.



This guy looked like he was going to fall over every time he threw the ball, but he was effective for about four innings.

1. The stands were packed and they were rocking!
2. Funnest game of the year!
3. First time I've ever seen two infield fly rule outs in a row.
4. There was some dubious umping in this game. 
     a.  The crowd started getting upset when, in the 6th inning, the Freedom's short stop forewent what looked like a probable double play to end the inning and instead threw home to get the guy charging from third. After a collision at the plate, the ball came out of the catcher's mitt, but it did so very late and left the crowd convinced the ump got it wrong. 
     b.  The home plate ump's strike zone migrated upward during the game. At the beginning of the game if the thread on the upper part of the ball nicked the bottom part of the knee it was a strike and the top of the zone was the bottom of the letters. By the end of the game the bottom of the zone was somewhere around the top of the knee and the top was the top of the letters. Personally, I think the Schaumburg pitchers worked him to get that change and you have to admire that in them, but not the ump.
     c.  The second base ump at least once allowed the "I swept my foot somewhere near second" out which used to be the norm in the first part of double plays. The fans caught him at it and were not happy.
     d.  Look, I know a checked swing is basically whatever an ump decides it is, but WOW. Those didn't look anything like swings to me or anyone else in the stands. To be fair, the umps were calling this against both sides even though the crowd was really only giving them hell for doing it against the Freedom.
5.  There was some dubious coaching during the game.
     a.  Really? REALLY!! A bunt with a man on first and no outs? Have you never read a stat in your friggin' life? How'd that work out for you coaches? (both sides did this)
     b.  OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! Telling your batter to bunt when he's got two strikes?!? How'd that work out for you coach? (only the Freedom's coach did this)
     c.  In the bottom of the 11th, the Schaumburg Boomer's coach left in a pitcher who walked four straight batters to tie the game. He was bouncing two-thirds of his pitches off the plate, for goodness sake. Now, the Boomers may have been out of pitchers (from about the 5th each side was bringing in one per inning), but it was obvious this guy wasn't going to get it by the second batter. Somebody else on that team has to have been a pitcher once upon a time.
6.  The game ended on a bases loaded single to the Schaumburg second baseman. He fielded the ball cleanly while charging the plate, double clutched the ball, and didn't even try to make the throw. The second baseman may have lost his grip on the ball for a moment, but the guy charging from third wasn't exactly greased lightning. It would have been close.
7.  In the end, the good guys won. The crowd went nuts. It was a great day at the park.

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