Here are a couple of Facebook posts I put up about the final pitch of the 2012 World Series:
I just watched our local Giants win the World Series on TV. Romo likes to throw sliders at same-handed batters. And he did. But the last pitch, that turned out to be a called strike looked like a slider that didn’t slide or just a fastball. From the TV angle, it looked like a fast ball right down the pipe, right in the middle of the strike zone. I would have thought that was a mistake pitch, a.k.a. being wild in the strike zone. If that’s true, the Giants won the World Series on a terrible pitch to the first Triple-Crown winner in 45 years and the only thing worse than the pitch was Cabrera looking at it instead of swinging. A walk-off look at a fastball right through the heart of the strike zone! Hell of a way to lose a series.
I will be curious to read what Romo, Posey, and Cabrera have to say about that pitch in tomorrow's papers.
I am not buying the Giants and media description of the game-ending pitch. Carl Steward of the Bay Area News Group said Romo threw slider after slider, “slyly setting up the final pitch…” That may be true, but Steward then admits, “Then Romo tossed it, a beauty, right down the middle but such an absolute shock to the best pure hitter in the game that he, too, was left frozen in time…” It was a “beauty” all right, for the hitter.
Manager Bochy said, “He just knew that Cabrera was looking for a slider, and he commands the fast ball so well, he just located it.”
In the middle of the freaking strike zone!?
If he thought Cabrera was looking for a slider, which is apparently correct, he should have LOCATED it in the low outside corner of the strike zone so Cabrera would mistake it for a slider that was going to be a ball and take it. (A slider to a same-handed batter as the pitcher looks like a fastball strike, then, at the last fraction of a second, swerves out and down usually ending up as a ball low and outside, except that the batter often chases it for a strike.)
One key skill of great hitters is to almost always make a pitcher pay for a mistake pitch.
I have no complaint with the set up or the use of a fastball instead of a slider, but don’t insult my intelligence by trying to tell me anyone on the Giants wanted that final pitch to be a fastball in the middle of the strike zone.
The Giants and media want the story to be of Romo the great hero. He did great otherwise, but that particular pitch may have been the worst of his career and, on that pitch’s location, Romo was not the great hero, he was the goat who got miraculously saved by the greater goat: Cabrera.
Don't Hollywood it up. The Giants did great overall, but the true story of that particular pitch happens to be the story of a great batter doing lousy, not a great pitcher doing great.
My youngest son watches ESPN SportCenter all day as he works. I told him I thought the final pitch of the game was aimed in the low outside corner of the strike zone and that catcher Buster Posey set up there before the pitch as a target then had to move inside and raise the glove to catch the actual pitch. Hours later, my son came down the hall to tell me he finally saw the replay and Posey did exactly what I expected. The pitch was supposed to be a fastball in the low outside corner of the strike zone, NOT right down the middle of the strike zone. Q.E.D.
This incident exhibits one of the things that sets me apart from a lot of other writers. I am like the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes story. I see what I see and say what I see regardless of how many people claim they see otherwise and regardless of the stature of the other people. Big time sports writers say Romo threw a great pitch. I don’t care how many people refute me or how long their resumes. I call ’em like I see ’em.
That same son jokingly characterizes my doing this as “taking the fun out of everything.”
Romo threw the worst pitch of his career in terms of the game situation and the location of the pitch. But Cabrera had the offsetting worst pitch ever of his career as a batter.
There are many situations in life where two men compete and one wins. Contrary to the Hollywood script, in many of those cases, the winner does not win; rather, the loser loses. This World Series is a classic example of that. It ended not with a Hollywood bang by the pitcher but by a whimper by the batter.
Mighty Casey has struck out—looking.
If you have a comment you would like to add to this Web page, please click here to send it to me. Please give me your comment, permission to use it, and at least your name, city, and state.