Saturday, April 23, 2011

Autocrats in Charge

Game 16: Durham Bulls 6; Charlotte Knights 5
Wrap, Box, Play-by-Play, Herald-Sun

I’m a retired soldier. I mention that only to establish my credibility as one who has had to deal with the consequences of stupid decisions by autocrats. It’s tough, but there’s very little that can be done except to hope that the autocrats in question perhaps learn from their errors.

In this case we have the umpiring crew of Conroy, Conrad, Gosney, and Estabrook. Slightly unusual in that it was a four-man crew and we typically have only three here in Triple-A. I think, but am not sure, that Estabrook was the chief.

The stupid decision: Playing the game at all.

What was gained by a game played to virtually no fans; in miserable, miserable conditions; on a travel day for both teams; and against a divisional opponent (against whom a rainout could be made up)?

The fans didn’t get anything out of it. There were hardly any there. (My hat’s off to those who lasted to the end.) If there were even a couple hundred at the end of the two hour delay, much less the near midnight end, I’d be surprised. I wasn’t among them. In fact, with the tarp on the field at 7:00 and it still raining, I was sure that the game would be called and didn’t go. I underestimated the capacity for autocrats to make stupid decisions.

I watched on MiLB.TV for a couple of innings. Not as good as the Time-Warner set-up, but that’s not in action yet. Obviously hazardous conditions in the outfield. Players slipping and sliding all over the place. The Bulls were charged with two errors that were clearly the result of the playing conditions. More examples of autocrats making bad decisions.

Stand-in starting pitcher Brian Baker seemed to be struggling and never really got on track, especially after the Gookie Dawkins' grand slam in the 2nd. He had a three-up, three-down 3rd, but in the fourth he gave up a triple (ball skidded through puddles) and a walk while constantly stretching and twisting between pitches. He called out the trainer and essentially took himself out of the game. The bullpen (Delaney and De La Rosa) pretty much put things on ice waiting for J.J. Furmaniak to hit the go-ahead homer in the 6th, then Brandon Gomes kept it that way.

Overall, a terrific home stand for the Bulls, 6-3. They leave town a half game behind Gwinnett in the South Division and head to Norfolk for three games. Norfolk has had a tough start to their season (3-12) and have lost the last four games all to the Gwinnett Braves.

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