August 20, 2005

Sometimes it's better to do your thinking inside the box

As my buddy Norm said tonight: "The great thing about going to a ballgame is that you just might see something you've never seen before."

It was rock 'em sock 'em, back and forth game all evening between the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish and the Newark Bears, featuring lots of home runs and some interesting baserunning. We got to the top of the 9th inning with the visiting Bears in need of two runs to tie, as the Bluefish were up by a score of 9 to 7.

A quick fly ball and grounder later, the Bluefish were one out away from a victory. The next batter drew a walk, bringing the potential tying run to the plate.

The first pitch was called a strike and the crowd cheered.

Now, to me that pitch looked a little high, but, from my angle, I couldn't really tell inside/outside pitches so well. The batter began to argue with the homeplate umpire that the pitch was obviously outside. He's obviously trying win a game here, and the pressure is on, but you're not allowed to argue balls and strikes. The batter fumed and shouted a little more and then began to pace away from the batters box. Less than one minute had passed since the pitch call.

Rather than ejecting the batter or waiting for the batter to return to the batter's box, the umpire had the catcher get set and motioned to the pitcher that it was time to continue the game. The batter was fuming silently about 12 feet away from the plate. The pitcher set and looked long at the umpire, catcher and batter. The umpire motioned for a pitch.
Some shouting from the Bears' dugout got the batter's attention and he ran into the batter's box -- with his bat in position to swing -- just as the pitch was coming in. No swing. Strike two.

As you can imagine, the batter had some even choicer words for the umpire this time and he was immediately ejected from the game. Then it got a little ugly. I honestly thought he was on the verge of using his bat for some non-verbal emphasis, but it was taken from him by one of the coaches and players who had come running out of the dugout. It took two large teammates to back him away from the umpire. (The batter was a bit on the small side. I believe he was their 3rd baseman.)

The batter eventually left the field, but the manager and coaches were arguing furiously with the umpires. I'd say it took about 5 to 7 minutes before the game was ready to continue.

The new Bears' batter inherited the 0-2 count, with 2 out and a runner on 1st. He clocked the first pitch into center field, moving the lead runner to third.

The next batter hit a line drive to right-center. The lead runner scored and the tying run was on second; the go-ahead run on first. For anyone regularly attends Bluefish games, this is all too familiar.

Happily, however, the next batter was struck out. WE WIN, 9 to 8!

Posted by Tuning Spork at August 20, 2005 11:37 PM | TrackBack
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