Good for Jim Leyland and his guys for discounting the effect of the layoff between their sweep of the Yankees and their being steamrolled by a team with less star power but that executed in a way that would have delighted John McGraw, Branch Rickey, Gene Mauch, George Kissell and all the other fundamentalists. Leyland graciously acknowledged which team deserved to win.
It wasn’t only that the Giants did so little wrong—they committed one error, as did the Tigers—they did so many things well. What impressed me to no end was Brandon Crawford’s first-pitch sacrifice bunt in the 10th inning Sunday night. It was as critical a play as any in the 37-inning engagement, and it was flawlessly executed. Left-handed hitter vs. left-handed pitcher. Footage of it ought to be saved, duplicated and shown to every player in every Spring Training camp next year and forever more. Perhaps the stars who routinely dismiss their bunting responsibilities in daily batting practice will gain a better sense of what is occasionally essential.
Crawford’s bunt had as much to do with the Giants winning Sunday as Ryan Theriot’s 60-yard sprint and energized slide or Marco Scutaro’s final stroke of heroism. Traditional National League baseball can be as handsome as a Steve Nash assist or any catch made on any given Sunday. Sadly, Crawford’s contribution is likely to fade from baseball’s consciousness, ever to be obscured by Pablo Sandoval’s swings, all the zeros Ryan Vogelsong accumulated, Tim Lincecum’s selflessness, Zito’s renaissance and Scutaro’s two-way brilliance. It will remain with Bruce Bochy, Brian Sabean, et al, though.
Posted: October 31, 2012 at 07:37 AM | 6 comment(s)
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