Monday, September 1, 2008

No, No On Sabbathia's No-No

The Milwaukee Brewers are officially requesting a change of scoring from Major League Baseball on a play that, if reversed, would give CC Sabbathia a no-hitter. A fifth inning infield grounder was misplayed by Sabbathia allowing the batter to reach first base. The official scorer called it a hit, but replays show that a normal play would have easily beat the runner for an out. Sabbathia ended up pitching a one-hitter. The Brewers are contending that the scoring decision robbed Sabbathia of a no-hitter.

I hate it when people to this with the future, especially from baseball announcers. The scoring on that play didn't rob Sabbathia of a no-hitter, but merely the possibility of a no-hitter at that exact moment of the game. Who is to say that if it were scored an error that the Pirates wouldn't have scored ten runs following that? Simply knowing that it was still a no-hitter vs. knowing that it isn't a no-hitter any longer would have changed the mental outlook of every player, umpire and fan so as to change any number of factors with the very next pitch.

Here's a simple explanation. Suppose somebody was walking down the sidewalk and spotted a dollar lying on the ground. Taking five seconds to pick it up vs. keeping walking would change the entire future of the universe with infinite complexity. Picking it up might cause that person to bump into somebody coming around the corner, maybe an old friend from high school, an old friendship is started, they go into business together, maybe get married, who knows. Keeping walking causes them to miss their friend and none of that ever happens, changing everybody's life who lives on the earth, with six degrees of separation maximum. Jimmy Stewart's character in "It's A Wonderful Life" shows this when it is explained to him by Clarence the angel what the world would have been like if his wish were granted that he were never born. Another example from baseball. A runner makes an error in judgment and gets thrown out trying to take an extra base. The next batter hits a single. The announcers say, "well, that single would have scored the run!" No, not necessarily, because the single was on a first pitch curve ball, and if the runner didn't try for the extra base, his potential of stealing a base on the first pitch by still being on base because of not trying for the extra base would have caused the pitcher to start things off with a fastball, or maybe even a pitch out. The single wouldn't have occurred, and the game would have changed totally. Or if the single would have occurred, it would have occurred due to completely different circumstances.

It would be a great tragedy for MLB to reverse this scoring decision and award Sabbathia a no-hitter. It would prove that MLB brass have no clue as to how the world really works. I doubt that they do in the first place, but that is another issue.

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