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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ejections, Sacrifices, and the XBox360

Worked the Rockies game today which ended on a single by Miguel Ojeda in the bottom of the 10th that scored Eli Marrero from first with the game winner; 3-2 Rockies.

This game was filled with story lines as it included four hit batsmen and ejections of Giants Pitching Coach Dave Righetti, Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle, Giants pitcher Matt Morris, Rockies pitcher Ray King, and Giants Manager Felipe Alou. Alou, Righetti, and Morris were thrown out in the first after Morris hit Brad Hawpe after being warned subsequent to hitting Matt Holliday. From my vantage point it appeared Holliday may have been hit intentionally (Jose Mesa hit Omar Vizquel yesterday in the continuation of Mesa's grudge againt Vizquel for comments he made in a book relating to 1997) but the pitch that hit Hawpe simply got away.

Later in the game Jeff Francis hit Steve Finley but was not ejected much to the consternation of what was left of the Giants staff. Ray King then plunked Vizquel in the 8th and was ejected along with Hurdle.


But of course the silliness of it all is that the umpires feel they have to give these warnings to both teams and then paint themselves into a bit of a corner when someone gets hit. Although they have discretion according to the rules it's human nature that they feel pressure to eject whoever it was regardless of the situation. It makes me wonder how many hit batsmen could be considered retaliatory and how many are simply pitcher errors? My guess is 20-30% in the modern era anyway.

A second story line was Barry Bonds of course. He didn't start but did pinch hit in the 9th with a runner on first and two outs. Mesa struck him out on a foul tip much to the delight of the 30,310 booing fans.

Finally, Clint Hurdles, on his quest to break the National League record for sacrifice hits had his boys lay down two more today. He went for a third but Jamey Carroll bunted it right to Lance Niekro who was (surprise!) playing about 40 feet from the plate in the 9th inning. The sacrifice in the first especially made no sense and was nullified when Holliday was hit and Carroll scored on a throwing error by Vizquel. However, the sacrifice in the bottom of the 10th worked and Ojeda came through with the big hit. That makes 13 sacrifices in 18 games, on a pace for 117. Not exactly a record but pretty high none the less.

On another note I picked up MLB 2K6 for XBox360 the other day and like it thus far. The Inside Edge scouting information is interesting and when playing in Franchise mode you can purchase the scouting reports of opposing teams in order to increase your performance in simulation mode. In Franchise mode you also set your lineups against both hands with and without DH and even setup playing time by percentage with a nice depth chart feature. Your manager and coaches have tendencies you can control as well and you can even fire coaches and pick up replacements. It also gives you a budget you can use to re-sign players and a small selection of minor leaguers to move up and down (AA and AAA). In addition team morale is a factor which you can affect with calling team meetings.

The Inside Edge data also is utilized in the interactive play and allows you to get a heads up on where pitchers like to throw and gives you advice on pitching to hitters. The graphics are great and the swing stick system to control the hitting works pretty well. The only glitch I've seen thus far is that Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes name is pronounced Barmes instead of Bar-mess by the PA announcer as well as Joe Morgan and John Miller. Of course you do have to listen to Joe Morgan alot so that could be considered a glitch as well. Wonder how I can turn that off?

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