Posts Tagged ‘atlanta braves’

Why do fielders try to catch infield flies?

With runners on first and second in the seventh inning of the Mets’ 5-2 win over the Braves on Friday night, Jose Reyes hit a pop-up to the left side of the infield. The infield fly rule was correctly invoked, meaning Reyes was automatically out. As the ball began its descent, there was a little miscommunication between Atlanta shortstop Omar Infante and third baseman Chipper Jones. Jones cut Infante off in trying to make the catch at the last second, and the ball bounced off the heel of his glove and back toward home plate. The runners both moved up. Braves catcher Brian McCann got confused and threw to first, apparently to get Reyes out a second time. While Eric Hinske applied a tag to the already-out Reyes and looked bewilderedly at the first base umpire, Angel Pagan broke for home and scored.

I don’t think any play can better introduce a question I’ve long had about baseball: When the infield fly is called, why do infielders try to catch the ball anyway? Continue reading

MLB Preview Bonanza: NL East

Much like its American League counterpart, the National League East hasn’t been home to too much flux. Since 1993, the Braves have won the division 11 times, the Phillies four times, and the Mets once. Of course, the Marlins still lead the division in World Series won in that time, with two. The NL East boasts the two-time defending and presumptive NL champion in Philadelphia, two teams that contended late in the season for the Wild Card in Atlanta and Florida, a big-budget team that can’t be any worse than last year in New York, and the Nationals. And even after a down year last season, it’s hard not to call the Phillies-Mets rivalry the best in the National League. Can the Mets rebound and contend in 2010? Can the Braves catch the Phillies? Or is Philadelphia still the team to beat in the division and the league?

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Joie de Vivre: Still Remembering the ’99 NLCS

This is Part II of my overly nostalgic look at the 1999 NLCS. It focuses on Game 6–played 10 years ago today–and the aftermath of the series. You can find Part I here.

They say the beauty of baseball is that you don’t have days off. You’re supposed to forget what happened the day before and immediately move on, almost as if what happened the day before didn’t happen at all.

The beauty of the ’99 NLCS was that there was a day off. Between the elation of Game 5 and the first pitch of Game 6, I could wax poetically about how Game 5 could never be topped and then intrepidly ponder how the teams would top it in Games 6 and 7. In winning Games 4 and 5 in their final at-bat, the Mets did to Atlanta what had been done to them so many times by seizing victory from the edge of defeat. And now, winning twice more to take the series and complete the comeback didn’t only seem possible; it seemed likely. After all, the Mets had just won two! And we had our two best starters, Al Leiter and Rick Reed, slated to start the final two games of the series. I can’t overstate the confidence I had in Reed for a possible Game 7. Even though Reed would be facing Tom Glavine, who had tossed seven shutout innings in Game 3, I was 90 percent sure he’d outpitch him and we’d win. I suppose I approached it the same way Astros’ fans felt about Game 6 of the ’86 NLCS against the Mets with Mike Scott* in the hole: This was the deciding game. A win in Game 6, and we would go to—and probably win—the World Series. Everything was set up perfectly.

*I don’t know what prompted me to have this insane level of confidence in Reed. I mean, he was good. But Mike Scott in ’86 was unbeatable. And cheating. He was definitely, definitely cheating.

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Joie de Vivre: Remembering the ’99 NLCS

This is Part I of a two-part retrospective on the 1999 National League Championship Series. Part II is available here.

Folks, I’m generally a temperate individual. My passions are not easily aroused, and most of the time when I employ hyperbole, I do so sarcastically.

This is not one of those times.

It is my completely subjective, admittedly objectively false belief that the greatest sporting event ever staged was the 1999 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets, which occurred 10 years ago this week.*

*Yesterday, in fact, marked the 10th anniversary of Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS, perhaps the greatest baseball game ever played.

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