There is nothing quite like a close World Series game….followed by one complaint after another. In no particular order, I’ve heard or read variations of the following:
- Jon Jay couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a baseball from 20 feet away.
- Albert Pujols should have avoided making an error at all times.
- Ian Kinsler should have been caught off third base.
- Elvis Andrus should have stumbled between 2nd and 3rd and laid on the ground until tagged.
- The Rangers should have Carlos Beltran instead of Josh Hamilton just so he can be caught looking in the 9th inning.
- Tony LaRussa over-managed the game.
- Tony LaRussa didn’t manage the game nearly enough.
- Tony LaRussa was abducted by aliens in the 5th inning, and the alien that replaced him over-managed the game.
- Jason Motte was horrible and should not be the “not closer”.
- Jason Motte’s beard got in the way of a few of his pitches.
- Lance Lynn should never allow fly balls of any kind.
- Lance Lynn should never allow ground balls of any kind.
- Actually, Lance Lynn should simply never allow a bat to touch the sacred baseball.
- The shadows were horrible, but they only affected the Cardinal hitters.
Okay, maybe not ALL of the aforementioned variations were heard or read, so it is possible that I just had them pop into my head. The point is that the Blame Game is always played after a loss, and it is a game that simply is not worth playing. If you insist on playing it, then at least consider the big picture when doing so. Here are a few examples of how to play it properly:
- A team that scores only a single run in a game should simply not expect to win that game. If you insist on blaming someone, then blame the entire offense (or lack thereof). Better yet, give credit to Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams, and Neftali Felix for keeping the Cardinal offense in check.
- You could blame Jason Motte and Yadier Molina for Ian Kinsler stealing second base in the 9th inning. You sure could do that. I’d rather give credit to Kinsler for swiping the base against a catcher with a cannon where his right arm should be.
- Maybe Arthur Rhodes deserves some blame for giving up a sacrifice fly to Josh Hamilton. Yep, that’s a great idea, because it is obviously so simple to prevent fly balls. Forget that. While you are at it, go ahead and blame TLR for even pitching to Hamilton with runners on 2nd and 3rd and a base open. Oh, that’s right. Walking Hamilton brings Michael Young to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. Heck, why not just say that TLR should have left Motte in to pitch around Hamilton and pitch to Michael Young and Adrian Beltre? Sure, that’s the ticket…..or not. Both Rhodes and Lynn did just fine in preventing a big inning. Some situations are just plain sticky, and it isn’t easy to get the swing-and-miss all the time. Try giving credit to Hamilton and Young for not trying to do too much in a high pressure situation.
- Blame Albert Pujols, because it’s the cool thing to do right now. He went 0 for 4 last night, and he has 0 rbi in the World Series. Of course, the guy is still 18 for 49 in the playoffs, and the Cardinals would probably be sitting at home watching the playoffs without his production in the 2 series the team won to get where they are now. Maybe my memory is fuzzy on this one, but I don’t recall Pujols coming to the plate with anybody on base to drive in, either. On the other hand, the Rangers might deserve a bit of credit for the way they are pitching Pujols. It seems like they are going to force other players besides Pujols to beat them, and that strategy may have helped them win game 2. However, feel free to blame Pujols, because it’s the “in” thing right now.
See, the Blame Game does not have to actually be about placing blame on a particular player. At the other end of a play that we may perceive as not being made, there is usually a play that was made. The Rangers simply made more plays than the Cardinals did last night, and that is how games are won. However, it is somewhat reassuring that the margin for error seems to be imperctibly small between the two teams. That makes for really good baseball, and there is nothing wrong with that.
TIDBIT: Maybe some people do not have a problem with Pujols (and others) giving the media the cold shoulder last night. I do take issue with it. The postgame dog and pony show may seem relatively useless at times, but it is still an obligation for players. When a team leader brushes aside an obligation, it sets a poor example for the rest of the team. When several leaders do it, it sets a poor example and should anger the rest of the team. Those team leaders represent the rest of the team to the global audience, and last night’s missed commitment represents an epic fail in terms of leadership function.
EXTRA TID: Allen Craig desperately needs more at-bats, and he darn well should get them in Texas.
FINAL BIT OF TID: The Cardinals were 3 outs from taking a 2-0 lead in the World Series, but they can forget about that. Winning 1 or more in Texas would go a long way toward pushing game 2 memories aside.
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