Results tagged ‘ Mookie Betts ’
As I said yesterday, Baltimore Orioles’ fans should be thrilled that the likes of Mookie Betts and David Price are out of the AL East. However up I-95 in Boston, the reaction has been significantly different. And that’s to be expected.
I’m a little intrigued to see that a lot of Boston fans are shocked and appalled at the fact that Betts was traded. The guy’s in the final year of his contract, and they had obviously reached an impasse on a new deal. So they wanted to get something for him, and get under the luxury tax at the same time. Not to mention the potential loss of draft picks that are coming. This gives them some young talent.
But the reaction from Boston fans has been very negative. And that surprises me in a sense. This is a franchise that for years has bought other teams’ talent in the same manner that they just sold off Mookie Betts. People have no problem pointing out that it’s a business decision when it’s Miami, Milwaukee, or even the Orioles selling off their assets. But when the shoe’s on the other foot…things appear a bit different.
Again, from the Orioles perspective this is a good thing. Boston’s still a good team, but Betts himself carried them over the Orioles over a long period of time. It leaves a hole in their lineup, that will have reverberations up and down. Does this mean the Orioles are headed to the post season this year because of this? Let’s not get crazy. But maybe they’re good for one or two more wins over a division rival this season.
Mookie Betts hit .297 against the Baltimore Orioles (for Boston) last year. Now the Birds won’t have to worry about him again for the most part. Betts and starting pitcher David Price were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers late last night. It was a three-way trade, also involving Minnesota – who sent a top pitching prospect to Boston.
There’s irony in the fact that Boston appears to be unloading salary. This trade gets them under the luxury tax. For years they’ve feasted off of teams who couldn’t afford to keep their talent. Now things are different.
Having said that, I suspect this has more to do with the potential punishments the franchise might face due to the cheating scandal. They probably recognize this, and are proactively re-stocking their farm system. Which to be frank is probably a smart thing.
However having these two players out of the AL East will benefit everyone – including the Orioles. Betts has traditionally played some of his best games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. And Price has been an ace. Nobody mourns their loss across the division.
Baltimore Orioles’ fans get asked often if they’re ever going to get over the 1996 ALCS game in which a young fan named Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence and in essence created a home run. And the answer is probably never. The Orioles had by far the best team in baseball that year. And that one moment changed the course of history.
I won’t go into details because odds are most people saw the play and are familiar with it – but a similar situation occurred in last night’s ALCS when the umpiring crew ruled that fans (again in right field) in Houston interfered with Boston’s Mookie Betts as he tried to catch the ball. Was the fan’s glove over the wall? If it was, it certainly wasn’t as well-defined as over the wall as Maier’s was.
There’s no question that Betts’ progress in catching the ball was impeded by a fan. You can see a fan literally close Betts’ glove. The question is whether or not the fan’s arm was ever over the wall and in the field of play. I’ll let folks make that determination on their own.
Having said that, the big difference between the Maier case and this one is the fact that we now have instant replay. So one way or the other the umpire (Joe West in this case) had the ability to see the play again in slow motion. Rich Garcia never had that ability. And for the record while I’m on the topic, Garcia admitted later that he botched the call. It should have been fan interference. I always gave him a lot of credit for that. Fans should understand that bad calls are going to happen, and as quickly as things can unfold one can understand how something could get overlooked. But an umpire admitting that he botched a call like that is rare. To his credit, Garcia did just that.
But needless to say, if the Mookie Betts play was ruled fan interference, then the Jeffrey Maier play certainly had to be fan interference. So…the league’s all but indirectly admitting that the Orioles rightfully won the 1996 ALCS! (I recognize that’s not the case folks…but work with me!)