Strike two: the vicious circle that is David Ortiz at the plate

September 18th, 2006 → 2:16 pm @

This morning, someone asked me if I felt like a more informed observer as a result of my research while working on FTM. It was a tough question to answer: on the one hand, I now feel as if there are hundreds of previously unknown subplots unfolding when I watch a game; on the other hand, I’m also much more aware of how much I don’t know.

Take David Ortiz’s at bats. He has, as anyone who has seen an inning or two of a Sox game can tell you, been known to voice his displeasure at called strikes he feels are out of the zone. When you’re watching the game on TV, it’s pretty easy to tell if Ortiz’s complaints are justified (as they were in the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader); it’s impossible to tell whether Ortiz is the subject of more crappy calls than most. But last year, I sitting with some of the team’s baseball operations crew at Fenway when Ortiz started shaking his head and barking at an umpire. “Just shut up, David,” one of the guys said. I asked if Ortiz complained more than most. “He bitches more than anyone in the league. He also gets more crappy calls than anyone in the league.” (This wasn’t conjecture; it was actually something the Sox had looked into.) And so it goes, goes round again: Ortiz complains, umps get pissed (consciously or subconsciously), he gets squeezed, and he complains some more. The good news: it doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting his hitting much.

In other news, the Sox took three out of four from the Yankees, and there was plenty to be happy about over the weekend: the continuation of gutsy pitching performances from unlikely starters; the joy of watching Dustin Pedroia and David Murphy get their sea legs; a ray of hope that perhaps Coco Crisp will actually be a decent center fielder (as impressive as his well-timed leap to rob Posada of a home run was, I was just as happy with the good jump Crisp got on the ball); and Mike Timlin learning how to close. (Again.) Don’t tune out yet, folks: the Sox won’t be playing in October, but that doesn’t mean baseball isn’t the best game out there.

Post Categories: David Ortiz & Oblique references to Joe Jackson songs