Posts Tagged ‘chipper jones’

MLB Postseason Preview: Braves vs. Giants

Atlanta Braves (91-71) at

San Francisco Giants (92-70)

OVERVIEW

The Braves and Giants each snuck their way into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season after almost blowing it by dropping the first two games of weekend series. The last time so much was on the line on the season’s last day for both of them was, of course, 1993, when Atlanta and San Francisco entered the day tied for the NL West lead with 103 wins. Braves won, Giants lost, and a 103-59 team went home before the postseason. The Wild Card was introduced the next year. Wouldn’t it be kind of ironic, then, if the Wild Card Braves beat the NL West-winning Giants? (Let’s overlook the Wild Card Giants beating the division-winning Braves in a five-game NLDS in 2002 to retain the gravity of that question.)

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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

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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The Sports Revolution: Flipping the Diamond

Let me set the scene for you: a prominent base stealer is on first. A left-handed pitcher is on the mound. The baserunner doesn’t try to steal second—as he would if a right-hander were on the mound—because the lefty has an intrinsic advantage in picking him off.

Let me reset the scene for you: a prominent base stealer is on first. A left-handed pitcher is on the mound. The baserunner does go for second—as he would if a right-hander were on the mound—because the lefty no longer has an intrinsic advantage to picking him off.

How? Because the baseball diamond was flipped. With a left-handed pitcher on the mound, third base becomes first base, and vice versa.*

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