We’ll spend all winter bemoaning the Rangers’ fielding Armageddon in the 7th inning of Game 5 of the ALDS. We will not, however, be alone.
Because the simple art of fielding – i.e., errors – also played a huge role in determining baseball’s World Series champion. The Rangers didn’t beat the Blue Jays in the ALDS because they ultimately couldn’t field, throw or catch. But the Mets just booted away a championship for the same reasons.
Defense wins championships. And also loses them.
The knee-jerk narrative amongst national baseball media is that the scrappy Royals just never say die. They fight hard until the final out and that’s why they beat New York. Yeah, kinda. But while hitting slow grounders to second may seem like “fighting” to some, I more blame the Mets for booting routine plays than I credit Kansas City’s guts.
In Game 4 the Mets held a 3-2 lead in the 8th inning when playoff hitting hero Daniel Murphy continued to be the World Series goat, failing to glove an easy grounder for an error that sparked Kansas City’s three-run, game-winning rally.
And, of course, in Game 5 New York blew a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning, allowing the tying to score on an infield grounder when 1st baseman Lucas Duda made a wide, short-hop throw to home that would’ve made Mitch Moreland’s 7th-inning bouncer in Toronto proud. In the 12th inning, Murphy booted another routine grounder that led to the Royals’ title-clinching five-run 12th inning.
In the four losses the Mets committed six errors.
The Rangers’ fielding woes are causing off-season misery. But, alas, we are not alone.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.