Webster's Dictionary defines The Infield Fly Rule as "a term used by people who think they are comedians to make unfunny jokes about the sport of baseball."
But seriously, folks, the Major League Baseball rulebook states clearly,
An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare "Infield Fly" for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the base- lines, the umpire shall declare "Infield Fly, if Fair."
Highlighted that part about the declaration, because while I saw Fieldin Culbreth's clenched fist, I never saw a camera angle that showed he made any sort of vocal declaration. Maybe he said something, somehow I don't think Buster Posey heard him (and neither did Gregor Blanco, for that matter, since he was running too) but Brandon Phillips did. Maybe Culbreth had one of those moments where *he* thought he said it loud enough, but no one else around him heard it. Maybe Brandon Phillips has terrific hearing or maybe the runners' batting helmets and the sound of the crowd muffled the declaration.
Or maybe the Giants are just a bunch of brain-dead greyshirts stinkin' it up in Cincinnati.
Still, the Giants played a decent game. The pitching held on for as long as it could. While no one would mistake June and this bit of July's pitching for the 2011 San Francisco Giants, I think the 2011 and 2013 offenses might be in a
heated frigid race to see which team one is completely unwatchable. So, there really isn't an apt comparison here. The team has just been bad for most of the year, which usually means it is a bad team. Bad teams, I suppose, can still contend in a division, as we're seeing now.
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I define citing Webster's Dictionary in a piece of writing to be the ultimate sign of terrible writing reaching for profundity or to give the appearance of intelligence. Even the use of it ironically is hackneyed and, frankly, dumb. To make up for that terrible opening I will provide you with four memorable images from tonight's affair:
1. "No one expects the infield fly rule!"
2. "America will run you down and it will flatten you, even if you're retreating back to base."
3. "I got this."
4. "Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter, but baseball in the butt had a baseball in the butt."
As it turns out, not many of these plays really seemed to be a major factor in deciding this game. Both teams were hitless with runners in scoring position until Choo came through against Javier Lopez in the 11th. So, it's not like there is one moment we can point to or a series of incidents we can look back on and think, "Yeah, it all pointed to that ending", it's as simple as the Giants lost this one. Characterizing it as "they never had a chance" is just an emotional defense mechanism. The Giants are a bad team playing badly, but they were actually in this one and on most nights they have as good a chance of winning a baseball team as any other team in the league. Crazy to think that anymore, but it's true!
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I can't believe I had this thought multiple times throughout the night: "It'll be nice to have Santiago Casilla back in the bullpen." I know, I almost 51-50'd myself after that popped in there.
Here's my rationale: dude throws hard and dude throws curveballs. Aside from Jeremy Affeldt (who's been so erratic and, for some hitters, dangerous since returning from the DL), I don't think the Giants have a reliever who throws anything other than fastball, slider, changeup. I'm lumping Machi in with that group despite him throwing a split, because I'm choosing to lump splits in with the changeups. I don't think what the Giants' bullpen is missing is more curveball (it's just missing talent), but I do think having lots of different looks to throw at opposing lineups matters a lot, especially when a lot of these games can come down to one pitch.
Too, provided Casilla's cyst really was what sapped his fastball of its velocity earlier in the year, the Giants would finally have someone on the entire pitching staff who could break 94 mph. Movement and location can trump velocity, of course, but when management assembles a flyball staff, you have to think that the difference of 2-3 mph from an average fastball to a great one makes all the difference between a home run or a flyout.
So, yeah, hurry back Santiago Casilla.
Hey, folks, the Giants are six games under .500. Positive comments about Santiago Casilla are not the worst thing you'll read tonight.
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A walk-off loss the night after being no-hit. There's adversity, there's bad luck, there's "it's just not their year", and then there's that. I'm not going to research how many times a team has lost via a walk-off the night after being no-hit, because it only matters that it happened to my team during my lifetime. That's how this professional sports thing works, right? I root for them and they play for my entertainment alone. Bah.