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Was it a hit?
September 1, 2008 - John Mehno
By now you know what happened in Sunday's Milwaukee Brewers-Pirates game. Andy LaRoche hit a dribbler out in front of the plate, CC Sabathia couldn't handle the ball and it was ruled a hit. It was the only hit the Pirates got in the game.
Afterwards, Milwaukee manager Ned Yost was predictably livid, complaining that his pitcher had been cheated out of a no-hitter. The Brewers protested the call to MLB headquarters.
When the play unfolded, I said, "Error, pitcher" to the guy seated near me. But I wasn't surprised when official scorer Bob Webb called it a hit, nor did I necessarily disagree with his call. If that sounds strange, it shouldn't. It was close enough that it could have gone either way. Webb had a logical explanation for his call.
Of the four people who score the games at PNC Park, Webb is the best, followed by Bob Hertzel. Webb made a decisive call and made it quickly. He didn't wait for a replay, and I know him enough to know he's completely confident in the call he made. He's a good scorer who takes his work seriously.
Therefore, even though I called it an error, I'm fine with his call. I sat in the scorer's seat for two games in 1980, which is still one of the most miserable experiences I've ever had in 34 years at the ballpark. I got talked into the job because I was young and dumb then. (I'm no longer young). I got out of it as quickly as I could, having determined that I had no real aptitude for the job nor did I have any particular interest in it. There are some scorers who love being part of the game's history. That didn't make me tingle, so I abdicated quickly.
The funny thing about this is people were actually talking about the possibility of a no-hitter earlier in the weekend. The reason was Sabathia vs. the Pirates looked like the total mismatch it turned out to be. Give us credit for getting that one right.
It would have been nice if it had been a no-hitter. That would have been a payoff for sitting through some dreadful games this month. But it wasn't to be, according to Bob Webb. That's OK with me. He knows more about the job of official scorer than I do. That's one call I'm positive about.