NLDS Game 2. 9th Inning. 4-3, Braves. Craig Kimbrel had just made it interesting by walking A.J. Ellis with one out. Dee Gordon was dispatched to first base to run for him whilst Andre Eithier was called upon to do his best Willis Reed/Kirk Gibson imitation, hitting for The Beard.
Of course Gordon tried to steal.
But then there was Gerald Laird. In his 11 season major league career, runners have stolen 357 bases off of him. Then again, he’s stopped 196 others, a 35.4% out rate.
Last night, the throw had to be perfect. It was better than that. It was so shockingly good, that Dee Gordon‘s reaction will live in Internet Infamy for years. But even at that, the Dodger faithful – judging from my own twitter feed – didn’t wanna buy the verdict delivered by umpire Bill Miller.
From mlb.com’s site, here’s the video of that critical event. What we don’t have are definitive angles from TBS. But there are some other sources we can turn to.
So let’s take a look: there’s two parts – the tag and and the reach.
1. Did Simmons Tag Gordon?
It’s fairly evident that everything came together virtually simultaneously: the ball, glove, and the tag all arrived at the same point in both time and space… if you believe there was a tag, that is. Andrelton Simmons is a master of this, but even though he did a ‘sell job’ after the catch, he truly didn’t need to. Here’s the evidence:
This is from TBS’s broadcast replay. Let’s zoom in a bit…
The arrow is inserted to point out the deflection of Simmons’ glove made from contact with Gordon. This isn’t just a brush against his uniform (which would still have counted, by the way) – it must be from actual contact. Note also that this frame is from virtually the same instant that the ball was caught by Simmons.
2. Did Gordon Reach 2nd Base at That Time?
This next photo does not advance the argument… but it’s the closest one I’m allowed to post on this site. Yes, that’s the baseball bouncing on the ground near Gordon’s knee (which makes Simmons scoop look even more amazing, btw). The best still photo available was captured by Scott Cunningham (Getty Images). That photo can be viewed here.
In that linked high-res image, you can see the edge of the ball captured in the glove… which veryclosely matches the other photo from the TBS captures above from the first base angle. The point of these two together is this: when the tag was applied, Gordon was nowhere near to tagging second base.
Yes, America, he was out.
For his part, Gordon – of course – isn’t buying it. Nor does he believe that the video shows otherwise. So of course, his reaction is priceless.
…and thus, Gordon is already being featured in maybe unique ways… not unlike what happened with Brian McCann earlier this week.
Yeah – the call coulda gone either way. And even if he’d been ruled safe, then we still had Kimbrel on the mound, throwing 100 mph flameballs with 85 mph sliders that had the Dodger hitters off stride.
But he was out. And that pretty much proves it. At least for me.
Back to Los Angeles for Game 3… and frankly, the Dodgers biggest concern could be whether Game 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is actually healthy. Stay tuned on that one… Ricky Nolasco could be moved up for Sunday if there’s a problem.
Hmmm…. maybe I need to update the damage numbers on that Kimbrel Pokemon card…