Results tagged ‘ Christmas Card ’

So did we get it right?

So once again, here’s our list of the Top 10 Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List.

No. 1, Brooks Conrad

No. 2, Jonathan Broxton

No. 3, Larry Beinfest

No. 4, Cliff Lee

No. 5, Chase Utley

No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

No. 7, Roy Oswalt

No. 8, Bud Black

No. 9, Paul Emmel

No. 10, Bengie Molina

Did we miss anyone? Anyone more deserving than this list of people?

We considered other people for this list, but this was a nice mix of pitchers, players, managers, front-office people and even an umpire.

Let us know your thoughts?

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 1, Brooks Conrad

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Well, we’ve reached No. 1 on our list. And, really, is this much of a surprise?

Brooks Conrad went 1 for 11 with four strikeouts in the National League Division Series for the Braves.

But it wasn’t what he did — or didn’t do — with his bat that earned his spot on this list. No, it was his glove.

Conrad committed four errors in the four-game series, three in the Game 3 alone. Two of those errors were critical.

In the second inning with a runner on third, Conrad retreated on a pop fly to shallow right. As he tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, Conrad dropped the ball, allowing Mike Fontenot score from third base.
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Now, to Conrad’s credit, the ball should have been fielded by RF Jason Heyward. But Heyward was dinged up after crashing into the wall and failing to make a catch on the deep fly by Fontenot in the preceding at-bat.

Then came the ninth. The Giants tied the game 2-2 on a walk to Travis Ishikawa and then two-out singles by Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff.

The inning appeared as if it would end on the next at-bat when Buster Posey hit a one-hopper to Conrad at second base.

But Conrad allowed the ball to slip right between his legs into right-center, allowing Sanchez to score the go-ahead run.

Again, to Conrad’s credit, his line of vision on Posey’s ball could have been blocked by umpire Jerry Layne, who was positioned in the infield grass in front of Conrad.
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But in that situation, Conrad’s ultimate responsibility is to knock down that ground ball. But he didn’t. The Giants scored and eventually won the game, and then the series.

If you want to relive the play, click here.

Now, you could do one of those “Five Reasons Why the Braves Can’t Blame Brooks Conrad …” kind of shows. But, ultimately, his job is to catch the ball, and he didn’t.

He was a stand-up guy afterwards, and owned up to his mistakes. A class guy.

So we feel for you, Brooks Conrad. But, just the same, thanks.

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

No. 2, Jonathan Broxton

No. 3, Larry Beinfest

No. 4, Cliff Lee

No. 5, Chase Utley

No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

No. 7, Roy Oswalt

No. 8, Bud Black

No. 9, Paul Emmel

No. 10, Bengie Molina

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 2, Jonathan Broxton

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This is the perfect fit. Anytime More Splash Hits thinks about a Dodger, we think about No. 2.

So the No. 2 spot is perfect for Jonathan Broxton.

Into late June, Broxton was as good as any closer in baseball. By June 26, he was 3-0 with 16 saves and an ERA at 0.83.

On June 27, Broxton got tagged for four runs on four hits and two walks in a 8-6 loss to the Yankees. It was the fourth game Broxton had pitched in five days.

From there, things went downhill for Broxton, and the Giants contributed to his woes.

Against the Giants, it started on July 20 at Dodger Stadium.  The Dodgers took a 5-4 lead into the top of the ninth. Broxton was called on to get the save.

He promptly gave up an infield single to Juan Uribe and walked Nate Schierholtz on a full-count pitch. After Aaron Rowand sacrificed the runners to second and third, Aubrey Huff was intentionally walked to load the bases.

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This is where Don Mattingly, the Dodgers’ acting manager after Joe Torre was ejected along with pitcher Clayton Kershawn for hitting Rowand with a pitch two innings earlier, came out to the mound to speak to Broxton. As Mattingly began to head back to the dugout, he took one step off the dirt area, spun around back onto the dirt circle to say one more thing to either Broxton or his infielders.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy saw this, and went to the umpires and contested that, by rule, Mattingly should be charged with two visits to the mound. This is would require Broxton to be removed from the game.

Now while the umpires were conferring and then began speaking to Mattingly, right-hander Travis Schlichting was throwing in the bullpen. When the Dodgers became aware that they would have to remove Broxton, they got the left-hander George Sherrill up to throw. He got about three tosses in the bullpen before the umpires summoned him into the game.

The umpires told Mattingly that Sherrill would have as much time as possible to get ready. But Sherrill was not made aware of this. After eight warm-up tosses, umpire Tim McClelland asked Sherrill if he was ready, and he said “Yes, I guess, ’cause I’m not getting any more”

Mattingly didn’t come out to make sure his pitcher was ready. And Sherrill promptly gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres. THEN, Schlichting replaced Sherrill and gave up a single to Buster Posey to score another run, the Giants went on to win 7-5.

Broxton was charged with all three runs. But the story doesn’t end there. A day later, MLB said the umpires had not ruled properly in this case. According to the rules, Mattingly should have been ejected from the game (which he wasn’t) and Broxton should have been allowed to pitch to Torres (which he wasn’t).

On July 31 in San Francisco, the Dodgers were nursing a 1-0 lead in the eighth when Hong-Chih Kuo easily retired the first two batters he faced in the inning. But then he hit Buster Posey with a pitch, and Torre came out to replace Kuo with Broxton.

patdbat.jpegBroxton faced Pat Burrell, who worked the count full before hammering a pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run homer. The Giants went on to win the game 2-1.

For the highlight go to:
http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=10465835

On Sept. 4 in Los Angeles, the Dodgers took a 4-0 lead off Matt Cain before the Giants because to chip away at the lead. First Buster Posey homered off LA starter Ted Lilly in the seventh.

Edgar Renteria homered off Lilly to open the eighth. Lilly was replaced by Octavio Dotel, who promptly gave up a home run to Pat Burrell, cutting the Dodgers’ lead to 4-3.

After Dotel walked Freddy Sanchez, Kuo was brought in for Dotel. He ended the inning by getting Huff and Posey out on just six pitches.

Instead of staying with Kuo to pitch the ninth, Torre went with Broxton in the ninth.

Broxton struck out Jose Guillen before giving up a single to Cody Ross. Then Juan Uribe hammered a 1-0 pitch deep over the wall in left-center, and the Giants went on to win 6-5.

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For the highlight, go to:
http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=11722855

Broxton finished the season 5-6 with a 4.04 ERA.

Against the Giants, he was 0-3 with a 20.00 ERA.

There were two pitchers who the Giants managed to beat three times during the 2010 regular season. Roy Oswalt was one of them. Broxton was the other.

manlove.jpegAnd while we passing out gratitude to Broxton, we should share some for Joe Torre, who had some serious man-love for Broxton. Torre kept going to Broxton, when it was clear he wasn’t very effective in the second half of the season, and when Kuo was a far better option.

Let’s review. On June 26, Broxton was 3-0 with 16 saves and an 0.83 ERA. He finished the year 5-6 with 22 saves and a 4.04 ERA.

So thanks Joe. And we should also thank Don Mattingly and George Sherrill for their contributions.

The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

No. 3, Larry Beinfest

No. 4, Cliff Lee

No. 5, Chase Utley

No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

No. 7, Roy Oswalt

No. 8, Bud Black

No. 9, Paul Emmel

No. 10,

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  • The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 3, Larry Beinfest

    Now, this was  a tough one for More Splash Hits.

    At first, I really wanted to pin this one on Jeffrey Loria, the frugal owner of the Florida Marlins.

    Loria was the principal owner of the Montreal Expos from 1999-2002, when the regularly jettisoned good players and belly-ached about how he needed a new stadium to succeed. Finally, in 2002, he sold the Expos to the other 29 MLB clubs, and purchased the Marlins.

    Loria won a World Series title with the Marlins in 2003, then got rid of key components of that team like Josh Beckett and Miguel Cabrera when their contracts became too big.

    So when the Marlins decided to punt Cody Ross to the curb in 2010, More Splash Hits wanted to pin it on Loria.

    But really the decision to get rid of Ross didn’t come down to finances — entirely. Ross didn’t figure into the Fish’s long-term plans and they had younger outfielders they wanted to play like Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.

    So the real person to blame — or thank — for Ross ending up in San Francisco is general manager Larry Beinfest.
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    After the Marlins decided that Ross would not be part of their future, they took bids on him from various teams before the July 31 trade deadline. One of these teams was the Giants.

    But the Marlins didn’t get an offer to their liking, so the Giants went out and got Jose Guillen.

    But late August, the Marlins’ season had officially unraveled and they again were looking to get rid of Ross and the remaining $1 million on his contract. So they ran him through waivers.

    By this time, the Giants were heavy with outfielders. However, they did not want Ross going to the rival Padres, so they placed a bid on Ross.

    The Marlins then said to the Giants: “You want him. You can have him.” And the Giants got him for nothing.

    Ross played here and there after arriving in San Francisco. Then by mid-September, Andres Torres had an acody.jpegppendectomy and Ross played a key role down the stretch. And then, of course, he was a monster in the postseason.

    When they acquired Ross, I’m sure the Giants were thinking he would be a non-tender candidate come December. But with the adjustment he made at the plate and the huge contribution he made to the Giants’ first World Series title in 56 years, Ross will be back with the Giants in 2011.

    So for not realizing that the Marlins’ season was over sooner than he did, for not finding another trade partner for Ross and for just giving him to the Giants for nothing, we say to Larry Beinfest “thank you for the early Christmas gift.”

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

    No. 4, Cliff Lee

    No. 5, Chase Utley

    No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

    No. 7, Roy Oswalt

    No. 8, Bud Black

    No. 9, Paul Emmel

    No. 10, Bengie Molina

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 4, Cliff Lee

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    Prior to the 2010 World Series, Cliff Lee was lights-out in the postseason.

    In eight postseason starts, the veteran left-hander was 7-0,  giving up nine earned runs in 64.1 IPs (1.26 ERA).

    Last season, the Yankees beat the Phillies 4 games to 2, with Cliff Lee pitching the Phillies to both of their wins.

    After Lee had given up two earned runs in 24 IPs in the 2010 AL playoffs (0.75 ERA), More Splash Hits thought the Giants were going to have to beat the Rangers the same way the Yankees beat the Phillies.
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    But then something funny happened. The unhittable Mr. Lee got tagged by the offensively challenged Giants hitters.

    After things looked bleak in Game with the Rangers taking a 2-0 lead on Tim Lincecum, the Giants got to Lee in the third when Edgar Renteria reached on an error and Andres Torres was hit by a pitch, a rarity from Lee. Then Freddy Sanchez roped a double to left to score Renteria, and Buster Posey followed with a single to score Torress and the game was tied 2-2. The rally ended when Pat Burrell and Cody Ross were called out on strikes, leaving More Splash Hits to yell “WHY are you looking at two-strike pitches from CLIFF LEE?!?!?”

    Both batters would get a chance at redemption later.

    In the fifth, after Sanchez had another RBI double, Pat Burrell worked the count full on Lee. He took another two-strike pitch from Lee, and it was a ball.

    Now, how many times last season did we see Giants hitters fall behind in the count, then wave wildly at pitch a foot outside or down in the dirt. Against Cliff Lee, that didn’t happen, and it wasn’t because of anything the Giants hitters did.

    With two on and two out in the fifth, Lee got ahead of Ross 1-2. So was the next pitch a foot outside? No, a letter-high fastball over the plate, and Ross slapped into center for an RBI single.

    Aubrey Huff was up next. Again Lee got ahead 1-2. The next pitch in the dirt? Nope, on the outer edge at the knees. And Huff slapped it into center for another RBI single.

    That was the end of Lee’s night, but not the end of the inning. Juan Uribe greeted reliever Darren O’Day by smacking his 2-0 pitch into the left-field bleachers for an 8-2 Giants lead, leading to an 11-7 Giants win.

    Now let’s fast-forward to Game 5 in Arlington.

    Lee was looking like he had in his earlier postseason starts. He matched Tim Lincecum scoreless inning for scoreless inning through six innings.

    Now, let me know if this sounds familiar.

    Lee opened the inning by facing Ross. Ross fell behind in the count 1-2. Then he slapped a single into center.

    Uribe came up next and fell behind 0-2. Then he slapped a single into center.

    Then Burrell came up and worked the count full, then fouled off a 3-2 pitch before Lee got a huge strikeout by throwing it past Burrell.

    Now, Lee had a choice. He could pitch to Edgar Renteria, or pitch around Renteria with first base open, and potentially go after Aaron Rowand.

    At this point, Renteria was 6 for 16 in the World Series; Rowand was 1 for 3. In fact, for the entire postseason, Rowand was 3 for 11.

    When Lee opened with two balls to Renteria, it looked like he might just pitch around the Giants shortstop. Then he threw a 2-0 cutter that didn’t cut. Renteria pounded it over the left-field fence, and the rest is history. (By the way, Rowand followed Renteria’s homer by swinging at the first pitch from Lee and flying out to right).

    So, to Cliff Lee, for your refusal to bounce two-strike pitches to the free-swinging Giants hitters, thanks!

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

    No. 5, Chase Utley

    No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

    No. 7, Roy Oswalt

    No. 8, Bud Black

    No. 9, Paul Emmel

    No. 10, Bengie Molina

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 5, Chase Utley

    Jsanch.jpegChaseUt.jpeg

    Chase Utley is a fine player who didn’t have the best NLCS. But More Splash Hits didn’t pick him for this list for his .182 batting average in the NLCS, or that he only had one extra base hit or only one RBI, or the fact that he wasn’t able to knock down a couple of RBI singles by the Giants.

    No, what earned his spot onto this list is what he did in Game 6 of the NLCS.

    It was the bottom of the third and Jonathan Sanchez could not find the strike zone to save his life. He had already walked Placido Polanco to open the inning. Then he hit Utley square in the back with what would be Sanchez’s final pitch of the night.

    The ball bounced high in the air after hitting Utley. As he made his way to first base, Utley was able to pick the ball up on one bounce and rolled it out toward Sanchez.

    Then, Sanchez glared at Utley. We can’t be sure what Sanchez then said to Utley. But our best lip-reading leads us to believe Sanchez said “thank you” except that Sanchez has trouble with the “th” sound, replacing it with “f” sound — much like my 6-year-old often does.

    Utley then stepped toward Sanchez, asking him to clarify his remarks. Sanchez said “thank you” again.

    Misunderstanding Sanchez’s gratitude, Utley waved Sanchez off, and then the dugouts and bullpens emptied.

    Well, not entirely. Jeremy Affledt, who had been warming up, remained in the bullpen, getting ready while most of the Phillies and Giants gathered on the field for some aggressive loitering.

    By the time order was restored, Affledt was ready to go. He came in for Sanchez and got Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino out to end the threat and keep the score tied 2-2. That enabled the Giants to claim a 3-2 win on Juan Uribe’s homer and win the NL championship.

    If Affledt weren’t ready to pitch, the Phillies could have blown the game open in the third inning and forced a seventh game. Then, who knows what would have happened.

    So, for helping the Giants stall for Affledt, More Splash Hits says to Chase Utley: “Thank you.”

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

    No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

    No. 7, Roy Oswalt

    No. 8, Bud Black

    No. 9, Paul Emmel

    No. 10, Bengie Molina

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giant Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 6, Andrew Friedman and Neil Huntington

    Yeah, yeah, More Splash Hits know. These are two guys in the No. 6 spot, which of course means this is a Top-11 list and not a Top-10 list. Really, I mean you can’t even send the Christmas Card to the same address.

    But there are similarities enough between Friedman and Huntington to group them together for this purpose.

    And if you’re hung up on the 10-or-11 thing, consider the No. 6 spot a readers’ choice (i.e. you can send a Xmas card to Friedman or Huntington).

    On Jan. 5, 2009, Friedman, general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, went against rule No. 1 of any baseball general manager — and that is don’t sign a free agent who is older than you — when he signed Pat Burrell for two years, $16 million. Burrell is actually about a month older than Friedman.
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    But Friedman went with a different strategy. And that’s “If you can’t beat him, sign him.” Burrell was a member of the Phillies the previous fall when Philly beat Tampa Bay in the World Series.

    But Burrell, who had never hit fewer than 18 home runs in any of his previous nine big-league seasons, hit 14 in his first year with the Rays, batting .221.

    In 2010, it got worse. Burrell was .202 with 2 HRs and 13 RBI when he was released by the Rays on May 19.

    Ten days later, he was signed by the Giants, and hit .261 with 18 HRs with the Giants and was a pivotal part of the Giants’ push into the playoffs.

    With Huntington, the Pirates GM, it’s a similar story. Huntington signed Lopez for $775,000 after the left-handed pitcher posting a 9.26 ERA in 14 games with the Red Sox in 2009.

    Lopez was solid with the Pirates, posting a 2.79 ERA in 38.2 IP. But with Lopez was arbitration eligible after the 2010 season, the low-budget Bucs traded him to the Giants for OF John Bowker and LHP Joe Martinez.
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    Lopez went on to post a 1.42 ERA in 19 IPs for the Giants. In the postseason, he gave up one run in 5.2 IPs with six Ks.

    Also Huntington was responsible for the deal that sent 2B Freddy Sanchez to San Francisco for pitching prospect Tim Alderson. Alderson went 11-9 with a 6.03 ERA between Class A and AA in 2010.

    Oh, and there’s one other link between Friedman and Huntington, besides helping the Giants with some key players.

    The Ray and Pirates were two of the four teams that passed on Buster Posey in the 2008 MLB first-year player draft. The Royals and Orioles are the other two.

    So thanks Andrew and Neil for all the players — Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Javier Lopez AND Buster Posey.

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

    No. 7, Roy Oswalt

    No. 8, Bud Black

    No. 9, Paul Emmel

    No. 10, Bengie Molina

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 7, Roy Oswalt

    To look at Roy Oswalt’s numbers against the San Francisco Giants in 2010, you’d have to say he had a great season against the G-men: Six starts, 1 relief appearance, 41 2/3 innings pitched, 13 earned runs, 2.81 ERA, all six of his starts against SF were quality starts.

    Yet, out of the 103 games the Giants won this season (92 in regular season, 11 in postseason), there was only one pitcher they beat four times in 2010. And that was Roy Oswalt.
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    It all started when Oswalt was a member of the Astros. He pitched opening day, giving up three earned runs in six innings, but took the loss against Tim Lincecum as the Giants won, 5-2.

    On May 15 in San Francisco, Oswalt made on big mistake, giving up a two-run homer in the fourth to Juan Uribe. But that was enough for another loss to Lincecum in a 2-1 loss for the Astros.

    On June 22 in Houston, Oswalt sailed through six scoreless innings. But in the seventh, he gave up a single to Aubrey Huff and a walk to Uribe. A single by Pat Burrell scored a run, and a groundout by Pablo Sandoval scored another. That was enough for yet another loss to Lincecum and the Giants, 3-1.

    In July, he was traded to the Phillies and his luck suddenly changed against the Giants. Funny how that worked.

    On Aug. 17, he gave up three earned runs in seven innings in a 9-3 win for Philly.

    In Game 2 of the NLCS, he gave up one run in eight innings as the Phillies won, 6-1.

    Then came his relief appearance in Game 4 of the NLCS, when he gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Huff and Buster Posey to put runners on first and third. Then Uribe drove home the winning run with a sacrifice fly to left. That was loss No. 4.

    He came back to pitch six solid innings in Game 6 of the NLCS, giving up two runs (one earned). But he left with the game tied and received a no-decision in a game that Giants eventually won, 3-2.

    So, Roy, you were awesome this year. But some bad luck and terrible run support led to a 2-4 mark against SF. Tough luck, but thank you, Roy.

    And while we’re at it, thank you Astros for being feeble against the Giants. San Francisco had more success against Houston than any team this season, winning 7 of 9 games. The Giants won their first seven meetings with the Astros, with Houston scoring 13 totals runs in those seven loss.
    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fans Christmas Card List:

    No. 8, Bud Black

    No. 9, Paul Emmel

    No. 10, Bengie Molina

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 8, Bud Black

    Bud Black was the National League manager of the year, and rightly so. He did a great job with the San Diego Padres this season.

    More Splash Hits kept waiting all year for the Padres’ carriage to become a pumpkin, and it finally happened between Aug. 26 and Sept. 5, when the Padres went on a 10-game skid.
    budblack.jpeg
    It’s hard to pin the blame for that losing streak on one person, so we’ll stick it on the skipper … Bud Black.
    On Aug. 25, the Padres led the second-place Giants by 6.5 games. By the time the skid was over, the Padres’ lead was down to one.

    The Giants didn’t play particularly well at the start of the Padres’ slump, dropping three of four. Then they won 8 of 11 to share the lead with the Padres.

    The Padres didn’t completely fold after that 10-game skid. But they drop 4 of 5 before beating the Giants in back-to-back game and forcing the Giants to clinch the NL West on the final day of the season.

    Now, the Giants could have still reached the playoffs with the Padres’ slump. But it would have been as a wild card, not a division winner. So who knows what that would have meant for the Giants’ playoff run.

    So thanks you Padres and Bud Black

    The Top 10 List of Non-Giants Who Should Be on Every Giants Fan’s Christmas Card List: No. 9, Paul Emmel

    emmel.jpegPaul Emmel was the second-base umpire for Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Braves.

    Emmel was the umpire who called Buster Posey safe on a steal attempt at second base on a busted hit-and-run play in the fourth inning.

    Posey eventually scored the game’s only run on a two-out single by Cody Ross.

    The Giants went on to win the series 3 games to 1. All four games were one-run game, so the value of one play that led to one run cannot be understated.

    Replays showed that Posey was out. Even Posey admitted as much in post-game interviews.

    poseysteal.jpgNow, a lot has been made about blown calls by umpires, especially in the postseason. But for the most part in the 2010 postseason, blown calls were not a big deal. This call may have been the biggest.

    But it’s really hard to fault Emmel on this play. The throw from Brian McCann was high and to the right field side of the bag. Second baseman Brooks Conrad had to reach across his body to catch the ball. Normally, with an actual base stealer, that’s an easy steal. But because Posey is not the most fleet of foot and was only running on a hit-and-run play that the play was close.

    Also, because of the high throw, Conrad’s tag came on the outfield side of Posey’s body, and Emmel was positioned on the infield, blocking his line of sight.

    And no one from the Braves argued the call. Bobby Cox didn’t come out and get run out by Emmel (Emmel got that pleasure in Game 2).

    But the bottom line is that Emmel made his call. It was the wrong call. And it helped the Giants. So thanks, Paul Emmel.

    Christmas Card List

    • No. 9, Paul Emmel

    • No. 10, Bengie Molina
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