Sunday, October 14, 2007

Revisiting the Holliday Slide...

The three most covered stories over the past few weeks regarding the Colorado Rockies have been

1) Their amazing run (as it stands 19 of 20 wins)
2) A "controversial" interference call on BJ Upton sliding into second base
3) Matt Holliday's slide into home plate against the Padres

The major media outlets have let the latter two go away for the most part, and are now focusing on the playoff games yet to be played.

Last time I covered this, I made the unfortunate mistake of calling Rich Campbell over at MVN a "faggot," and failed to properly address his ridiculous argument that McClellan purposely blew the call. In retrospect, I should have stuck with my other favorite juvenile insults, including but not limited to, Douchebag, Loser, Asshole, and Pussy.

I thought this whole debacle was behind us, but according to Rich Campbell, "Holliday Controversy Proving to Have Legs." Oh really, Rich? That's funny, because I haven't seen a single news story on the matter in well over a week.

As we approach mid-October, I would expect the feelings to have calmed over the single blown call that punched the final ticket to the post-season for the Colorado Rockies. And what is oddest about it is who seems to be the most passionate about it.

Who? Tony Kornheiser?

Padre fans continue to be very matter of fact about it. If anything, I am one of the most virulent complainers, at least in print.

Maybe because most Padres fans realize that it was a very close call, mostly negated by another blown call on a Garret Atkins Home Run, and that the real, primary reason the Padres lost is because Trevor Hoffman blew the save in the first place.

For the most part, there is a fatalism on the part of the Friar Faithful. It says, "This wasn't our year." And there is plenty of evidence to support that. Suspensions. Injuries. David Wells having the size of his posterior referenced by an umpire months before a different umpire deliberately provoked the Padres most volatile personality. And then Boomer gets the seven game punishment.

Yep it's part of baseball. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda, etc. What happens, on the Rockies' side, if Cook/Taveras/Hirsch doesn't go down with a season ending injury?

Padre fans almost seem to be taking a perverse pride in it. Now we have our moment; our Bartman, our Bucky Dent, our Pine Tar Incident. This totally tops "Strike Four" in 1998. And if the Rockies win the World Series, we can look at our pitching and the probability that we would have had Mike Cameron back and we can say we would have won it too. Which is, of course, ridiculous. Baseball is anything but predictable that way.

Now you're making sense.

No, we will cherish this moment in our perversity and reference it the way we point out our proclivity for running into teams like the 1998 Yankees or, in football, the 1994 San Francisco 49ers. Whenever a San Diego team gets to the ultimate showdown, they always seem to face an all-time great team.

I was reminded of this by the very interesting work done over at www.hollidaynevertouchedtheplate.com

So, now, after an extended prologue, we get to the reason Campbell made this post. I feel decieved, after the tagline "Holliday Controversy Proving to Have Legs." I thought there was going to be some big blogosphere/print media push to recognize the bad call. Instead it's just some guy with $15 and free blogging software who registered a domain to prove... something? I guess if someone had registered the domains http://www.garrettatkinswasrobbedofahomerun.com/ or http://www.uptonwasjustslidingtothebagandwasnottryingtoelbowkazmatsui.com/ would that mean there is some "leg" to their respective arguments? No.

What I noticed the most, and what I really find fascinating, is how incredibly adamant and myopic the comments from Rockies fans are. They rant, they rave, they take offense… they talk about rules that have never been applied to catchers as though they are self-evident and obvious… They invent game-winning hits by Brad Hawpe. By the way, Bud Black has already said he would have ordered Hawpe walked. And the Rockies had completely exhausted their decent bullpen personnel. No, the odds are far greater that the game would have gone more innings. But that is all speculation now.

No, the problem here is the opposite assumption made by you. That if Holliday had been called out at the plate, the Padres would have won. That McClellan purposely made the wrong call.

To the Rockie fans. To the people who feel the need to make observations about my possible education, my sexual orientation, my propensity for tear-filled evenings, my drinking habits, my fitness to be employed or my understanding of the rules. To the ones with the vocabulary consisting primarily of words that have to edited in order to prevent having an "Adults Only" portal over this page. I direct you to the works of one William Shakespeare. Some of you might have heard of him (although if I were to judge by the tone, grammatical content and lack of imaginative language in many of your comments, it's not that many of you.)

Yep that's me. Just me. Don't start this being about "Rockies Fans." It was me and a handful of others who threw juvenile insults at you. Just like not all Padres fans are taking a "perverse pride" in the play. Just like how only a few people are still beating this dead "holliday still hasn't touched the plate LOL" horse to death. (I'm guilty of said horse beating too, I suppose) What if, instead of me calling you a "faggot," I had just called you a douchbag? Would you say "those dastardly Rockies fans... Making observations about me being shoved up a menstrating womans' crotch to prevent yeast infections and promote overall cleanliness?" I called you a faggot much like one uses other juvenile insults. After you made a big stink about a word that, as far as insults go, is just another word, I made up some other stuff about you being gay in jest of your exasperated offense to said word.

Rich, you or that ridiculous site still haven't addressed a few things:

That McClellan purposly blew the call. Actually that's just you, because the owner of http://www.hollidaynevertouchedtheplate.com/ believes it wasn't a malicious call. Until we get the camera angle from McClellan's facemask (hint, there isn't one) we'll never know what he saw.

That it is %100 certain Holliday didn't touch the plate. That site has "definitive proof" that Holliday never touched the plate, but if you look at all the replays he has complied, I looks very possible that Holliday might have touched the tip of the plate. For the record, I'm pretty sure Holliday didn't actually touch the plate either.

That video replay would have changed the outcome of the play. This is the most laughable part of the argument, and I'm going to completely ignore the implications replay would have had on the Atkins HR. Even if video replay was in place, McClellan would have made a call after the play came to its climax. Think of it like replay in the NFL: McClellan's "safe" call is like the whistle. After that call, no tag on Holliday could have been valid, because the play is now complete or "dead" in football terms. Since Barrett didn't ever have possession of the ball before the safe call, video replay could, in no way, overturn the call.

In conclusion, Rich is still mostly wrong about the outcome of the game. I made some bad jokes, and a terrible argument against Rich in my previous post. For that I apologize.

And for the record, Rich, I read a bunch of posts on your Blog, and it's a pretty decent one. Pretty good analysis and perspective.

I completely agree with you about fans trying to justify McClellan's call as interference. Barrett obviously had rights to the basepath since he was in the process of fielding the ball. McClellan simply believed that Holliday touched the tip of the plate. And why wouldn't he? His view of the play was blocked by Barrett's back, and Barrett's foot yielded as Holliday slid home. It was a tough call.

23 comments:

larry b said...

Of all the outrageous facets to that whole game and all the arguing and complaining that's gone on since, the one that bugs me the most is how most Padre fans handle the Atkins non-HR. Most simply do not address it. They want to believe that they and they alone were the victims of a questionable call on October 1. Those that do address it have one (and exactly one) argument in response: "Well, you can't really tell whether it was out or not. The replays are inconclusive."

1) No, they are not. The angle that seems to have been shot from near the first base dugout shows you everything you need to see. First the ball travels towards the yellow strip on top of the wall. Then it disappears behind said strip. Then it reappears. That makes it a home run; it bounced off something behind the yellow stripe. (And to those that want to raise the possibility that the ball bounced off the foam- if that were the case, how would it take the extremely crazy and powerful bounce that it did? A: It could not.)

2) Perhaps more importantly- so your argument is that the video is inconclusive. Isn't that the exact issue we're dealing with in regard to the play at the plate in the 13th? If your'e a Padre fan, I guess that doesn't matter. You think that were there replay, the non-HR call would stand because the video is inconclusive. But the play at the plate would be overturned because... that video is also inconclusive. I don't get it.

Admin said...

For once I get in near the beginning of the conversation. I'm the site author of www.hollidaynevertouchedtheplate.com and I thought I'd weigh in here with my thoughts just to clear some misconceptions up before they start.

1. The primary purpose of my site is to prove that Holliday missed the plate. I think that whether or not he touched is something we can determine with a close look at the facts.

2. Atkins ball was a HR.

3. McClelland's view was not blocked by Barrett's back. While I haven't found any video from the first base camera, there is a single still frame grab from the first base line that shows McClelland and the play enough to show his view wasn't blocked by Barrett's back
http://www.flickr.com/photos/14908728@N08/1547919002/in/set-72157602398955395/

4. It isn't possible that Holliday touched the plate. You can tell when looking from third base that his hand was blocked by Barrett's heel at first and then by his instep. The dropping baseball provides a common point of reference that allows the different views to be linked up to show this.

5. I make no argument that instant replay should exist in baseball let alone that it would have changed the outcome of the game. In fact I don't even speculate as to what the outcome of the game would have been..

6. What I find most unusual is how ESPN and other media outlets did not scrutinize the play closely with any type of due diligence. They just said "its inconclusive" and moved on without performing a detailed examination and without showing the "missing" reverse angle replay.

7. The obstruction issue is a red herring cited mostly by people who are not umpires. The signal for obstruction is the same as for time (hands UP in the air) it is not just a standard safe sign. McClelland never signaled obstruction nor did he mention it in his interview with Dan Patrick two days later. Really, can we just leave the whole idea of obstruction out of it? When was the last time you saw any catcher called for obstruction while making a play at the plate? If sombody wants to make a site www.BarrettObstructedHolliday.com then go ahead. My site is only about the fact that Holliday missed the plate. That is the only question I am trying to answer.


8. Yes I'm just a guy who registered the domain name. But that fact doesn't negate my arguments. Sure it took a while for me to get the story to this point but it was my first serious blog attempt and it took time to get the site bought, the server rented, etc etc, and then to learn wordpress well enough to get the site up, then more time for google to notice it etc.

9. If you haven't noticed, I'm keeping my name out of this. Not because I'm concerned about ridicule, but because I want people to look at the quality and accuracy of the arguments I present first and foremost without being swayed by the thought that I am doing this for attention. And I'm not intending to use this site to sell anything or to create a bridge to another type of site or work. I'm going to blog this story to its conclusion and then I'm just going to park the site and walk from it.

By the way thanks for preserving the links to my site and I'll put you on my blogroll.

Jeff said...

I just skimmed through that site. For whatever reason the site had a "LACES OUT, DAN!" feel to it. Just obsessing about a single play. I'm not sure why Padres fans can't just weigh that call with the Atkins home run and wait 'til next year.

The speculation that it's some conspiracy is laughable. Really. The reality is, it's not getting continuous analysis for a simple reason: These things happen, and everyone else is passed this. They weren't breaking down the Tom Brady "tuck" rule by the time the Super Bowl came around either. By the time the next game is played, it's in the past and the media jsut wants to focus on what's happening right now. Did you see a lot of analysis on the phantom foul called on Scottie Pippen in game 7 against the Knicks in the '94 playoffs (Eastern Conference Semis) by the time the Eastern Conference Finals rolled around? No, it's accepted as part of sports, and the parties move on. No one assumed it was some conspiracy or "media whitewash".

MB said...

I'm sure there are many mistakes that umps make in a game. I mean, if you actually made a strike zone for each player and looked at how the umps performed ... Im sure they miss quite a few calls. tag plays at second, bang bang plays at first, judgement calls, etc. I'm sure they're wrong enough (I don't know 5-10% of the time maybe ... at least on close calls).

Now, are you going to be more upset if an ump screws up a call in the 1st inning or the 9th? Well, obviously the 9th because you have much less time to rebound from that missed call.

So I don't really think you can just throw out a bad call made in the 7th and a bad call made in the 12th. In the 7th, the Padres had time to comeback or the Rockies had time to get Atkins in. In the 12th, once the call was made, the Padres were done.

That being said, Im not all that interested in the whole debate in the first place. I think he was out. But it was a close call. I think he was just making the "safe call" there in front of the home crowd. That doesn't mean he made the wrong call on purpose ... he was prolly like 50/50 and had 1 second (wait, he's Tim McClelland, he had 4 seconds)to make the call ... and he went with out. I don't know.

larry b said...

jeff- Couldn't have said it better myself. The media wouldn't have even spent much more time talking about it if it happened to 2 more media friendly teams, like the Yankees and Red Sox. These kinds of debates have a short shelf life. This is not a "media whitewash."

admin guy- I respect that your site is about that play and that play only. And thanks for admitting that the Atkins hit was a HR. But you are the exception, rather than the rule, in this case. My rant was directed the average Padre fan and certainly holds water in that regard.

The funny part about your comment is how you point out that you're being anonymous. Basically everyone on the internet is anonymous! Just because my real first name happens to be Larry and my real last initial happens to be B doesn't mean I'm advertising who I am. The only reason I can think of for your intentionally overstateed anonymity is that you're a celebrity of some kind. Perhaps a San Diego sports legend, like Dan Fouts or Tony Gywnn. Or better yet, if you're a current Padre! Are you Michael Barrett, or Trevor Hoffman? I would probably shit myself laughing if that ended up being the case.

In any case, I do respect your site and I do understand what you're trying to do. It's all a little bit Zapruderish... but I understand. And I think you make a pretty good case. Feel free to add us to your blogroll if you really want to.

Chris W said...

christ, padres fans: it's baseball. bad calls are a part of the game.

i'm sure every fan of every team has a laundry list of obscenely bad calls that have gone against their team.

so your "bad call" came in a one-game playoff. big whoop.

quit whining like all the angels fans who were certain josh paul never dropped the ball.

questionable replays only show what you expect them to show.

blah blah blah. get over it padres fans. your pathetic team was just going to get bounced in the first round. maybe if your ace hadn't given up like 5 runs matched up against josh fucking fogg we wouldn't even be having this conversation

Admin said...

Jeff,

Here's an example of the media whitewash I'm referring to. Here's ESPN's SportsCenter coverage the very next day.

ESPN VIDEO

They spent about 20 seconds on it the next day before saying the replays were inconclusive. and they never even showed the best shot! Reverse angle replay

Now imagine that instead of Rockies Padres that game was say Yankees Boston, how much coverage would that have gotten?

One possible way to see ESPN's coverage is that they don't care about getting the story right. I give that a >95% chance. Small market, who cares right? But there is a small percent chance that maybe someone from MLB gave them a call and said, "hey how about you don't show that reverse angle replay" or perhaps its just a courtesy that ESPN doesn't want to show up the umps.

And yes the site does obsess about one single play. That is the whole reason for the site. I don't have the time/resources/inclination to widen the scope of the content so I've chosen one battle instead of many. My hope is that the sites monofocus will help direct attention to the core issue.

As for "moving on" well you just mentioned a call from 1994. All I'm trying to do is get the truth out there so that thirteen years from now, when people talk about the Padres Rockies playoff game of 2007 they'll won't be saying "remember that inconclusive play?" My hope is that they'll say something like "remember that blown call?"

larry b said...

admin, I said it before and I'll say it again. I absolutely hate ESPN, and hate their horribly biased coverage towards the Red Sox and Yankees. But I'm very confident that even if this call happened in a one game playoff between those two teams, it still wouldn't have gotten much more coverage. Maybe a little bit... but not much. And it would have stopped as soon as the actual playoffs started.

Also, you didn't address what I said about your intentional anonymity. Seriously, who are you? What do you have to hide? Are you Bud Black? You should have made this case the night of the game.

Rich Campbell said...

"blah blah blah. get over it padres fans. your pathetic team was just going to get bounced in the first round. maybe if your ace hadn't given up like 5 runs matched up against josh fucking fogg we wouldn't even be having this conversation"

See, this is actually my point in my blog. Making it personal, using obscenity, calling a team pathetic... except for my one post that was made in the heat of the moment (and has garnered more attention than any other single post except my "eulogy" for Ken Caminiti) I have been fairly calm. But on various sites, that has not been the case from the opposing point of view.

On the "serious" Padre blogs, most of the angst has been directed at the Padres. Hoffy's getting old... Jenga's temper ruined our season... how could we expect to be a playoff team with Geoff Blum starting... that kind of stuff.

So why do I keep playing with this? Simple. It happened at a time when it didn't affect the outcome...it WAS the outcome. And, of course, because it keeps getting noticed. And if I didn't want attention I wouldn't be writing a blog now, would I?

I'm more than willing to accept that the phantom double was likely a home run. But we see those calls all the time, guys. Ask Josh Bard. This call wasn't 150 feet away. Maybe 5 feet, at most.

And the point about their being time to recover is a good one. Not as good as the point that people don't bitch as much when they win anyway, but still good.

See, I think the Rockies are going to the World Series. Might win it even. (Have to admit, I'll root Rox over Sox. But I'll root Indians over Rox.)

Meanwhile, Padres fans are left with that call as the final moment until April of next year. So of course it means more to us than to you. Duh.

So why are Rockies fans the ones getting all bent out of shape?

larry b said...

Rich, the guy you quote is not a Rockies fan. He's a die hard White Sox fan (from Wisconsin... go figure) who couldn't care less about the Rockies, other than that he's friends with me. In fact, him and I are constantly at odds, and he is always 100% honest when he expresses his opinions. By which I mean if he felt the Padres got jobbed, he would say so, regardless of whether or not he writes for a blog with 2 Rockies fans.

See, he's just tired of Padre fans complaining about a situation that probably shouldn't have even happened (as in, the game should have ended in 9) and wasn't conclusively called incorrectly. Of course I'm biased, but I can't say I blame him. And I bet the vast majority of baseball fans without a rooting interest in either team feel the same way.

eriz said...

See, here's the thing Rich: you say over and over again that we're the ones getting bent out of shape. But you seem pretty upset about this.

HEY GUYZ MATT HOLLIDAY STILL HASN'T TOUCHED HOME PLATE LOL

Anonymous said...

Jeff/Larry - right about the media. No one ever mentions the Dekinger call, Maier's catch, Josh Paul's "short-hop". They never even followed up on Maier's own baseball carerr.

No, never, weren't interested.

eriz said...

anon-

you do have a point. I think this would have been covered more if it was say a Red Sox / Yankees game. But at the same time, it's not an obvious call, upon replay, like the Maier "Home Run." All replays of the Holliday slide are still inconclusive. Most (non padres) baseball fans recognize it as a close call and leave it at that.

Oh and Rich, your bad-word insensitivity is getting obnoxious. Using words like fuck may not be "proper," but it does not invalidate any argument by itself.

You call someone immature for using crass language, all while making an argument who's validity a fifth grader would challenge. Which is more immature: a few twenty somethings throwing around f-bombs, or a fourty-something man unable to accept that his team lost without the help of a McLellan-led conspiracy?

eriz said...

yo mb-

how could Holliday possibly be "out" upon replay? Barrett never applied the tag before the call.

larry b said...

anonymous- The Derkinger call barely, and I mean barely, gets mentioned. The Josh Paul short hop is already forgotten; I haven't heard or seen it mentioned on a major sports network since spring 2006. You've got me on Maier. But I did say it would be brought up a little bit more often if it involved the Yankees... not a lot. And Maier doesn't get a ridiculous amount of analysis anymore. So I stand by what I said.

And furthermore, Jeff kind of already pre-empted what you said by naming several other famous terrible calls that basically have been forgotten. For ever Maier, there are literally hundreds of other incidents that no longer get referenced.

My theory for why Maier is different, besides the fact it involved the Yankees, is because it happened during the Yankees' first championship season in 20 or however many years. And a certain dreamboat shortstop hit it. If it happens in 1998, or comes off the bat of Enrique Wilson, it wouldn't have the same staying power.

Jeff said...

On the subject of anonymity....just to set the record straight. I'm definately not former Taxi and Grease star Jeff Conaway. So get that out of your head right now. Just because I work on Broadway, which you've no doubt figured out by my IP address, and I bear resemblence to Mr. Conaway (I know that's you, following me), it doesn't mean I AM Jeff Conaway. Seriously. Mr. Joe average sports fan, that's me. As Tony Danza used to say, all the F'ing time (I hear), "the past is the past and the present is the present, and i think that I should be going now." I never got the context either, but Will Smith used it in his 1989 rap album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper.

Anonymous said...

this site gets more interesting every day, even though I've never heard of Jeff Conaway

MB said...

eriz,

Barrett did tag him after, or so it appears.

eriz said...

yeah mb, that's what i was saying. Once the ump makes the call, it's like a blown whistle. end of play.

Therefore, the replay shows that while it may be a questionable call since Holliday "never touched" the plate and barret never made the tag. But it doesn't show that Holliday is out. All it shows is that he wasn't safe, if that makes sense.

Super Famous Person Remaining Anonymous said...

The Padres got jobbed by a bad call that ended their season prematurely. Their fans complain about the bad call. Wow, this is hard hitting internet journalism, I now see things that were once invisible to my ignorant eyes. Though the irony in complaining about people complaining is delicious. At least upset Padres fans have a reason to feel wronged, who pissed in your cheerios?

larry b said...

super famous- I think it's pretty obvious that Padre fans did. I hope you see the super duper delicious irony in your complaining about us complaining about the original complainers.

Also, since when did ridiculous blogs like this one become responsible for "hard hitting" journalism? We're here to bitch and moan and justify living in our parents' basements. I think that's pretty self evident.

Just Another Humble Messenger said...

I think Super was ridiculing you, not complaining about you. But that just makes him ridiculous because everyone knows that the umpire was just a divine instrument of the lord's http://sport.independent.co.uk/general/article3033367.ece

larry b said...

No, he was complaining. Anyone who leaves a comment that's not positive is doing so by default. If the entirety of your comment could easily be replaced with "Wahhh, waaahhhh, boo-hoo, you guys stink" (which is the case here) then it's a complaint.

Also, that article really hit the nail on the head... I mean, other than the fact that the author omitted Manny Corpas, Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, Latroy Hawkins, are Willy Taveras from the list of non-white Rockies. But that's only like 5 guys; I can see how they would slip through the cracks on a 25 man roster! Two Rockies are not white... seven Rockies are not white... what's the difference? Also, let's see: by my count, the Red Sox have 8 non-whites, the Indians have 10, and the Diamondbacks have 11. Yeah, I think it's safe to say the Rockies front office is racist and possibly Neo-Nazi.