Somewhere in West Tampa last night, a grizzled old baseball man put down his cafe con leche, took out his cigar stub, and turned to his buddy to say “what is Crawford thinking? Never make the third out at third base.”
That’s it. That’s the rule. Right?
Here’s CC’s answer to the question:
“When you get thrown out it’s easy to say you shouldn’t have went,” Crawford said. “That’s just the way we play. I do that all the time and I’m safe, and the one time, he got me. I can’t take nothing away from him, he got me.”
You know what? He’s right. The Rays are where they are because they use their strengths (like their team speed) to pressure their opponents into mistakes. Give Golson credit. He made a perfect throw. But, if the throw wasn’t perfect, CC was safe. It was that close even though the ball wasn’t that deep.
But Crawford’s risk makes sense at a less philosophical level. Jorge Posada was catching. Posada told the Times:
“I couldn’t believe he was running, to tell you the truth; get the third out there at third base,” Posada said. “Because he would have scored on a base hit. It doesn’t matter, he’s that quick, he doesn’t need to get to third base to score, really.”
What Posada meant was, ‘I am so glad we threw him out because that way, no one will realize that I am not a good catcher.’
Posada, of course, is forgetting that CC scores from 3rd – but not 2nd – when a ball goes to the backstop. And, Jorge Posada has let 142 balls find the backstop in his career, more than any active catcher. This season, Posada has been in the bucket for 8 passed balls (one fewer than Rob Johnson’s AL-leading 9) and 27 wild pitches.
What’s more likely, a Willy Aybar game-tying base hit against Mariano Rivera (career 1-for-3 with a SO against Mo), or a passed ball? For that matter, what is more likely, a game-winning hit from Brad Hawpe (never faced Rivera) or Rocco (1-for-4 with 2 SOs), or a passed ball?
I’d much rather lose a game trying to win it, like we did last night, than lose a game hoping someone else will win it for us.