Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Going the distance

KODAK, May 29 -- Here's a nickel's worth of free advice: Get rid of the pitch limit in baseball.

OK, OK. Baseball people know much more than I do. They get paid to do this. I'm just a fan.

But when a guy throws a one-hitter and is yanked right at 100 pitches, and the relievers blow your nearly perfect night, it raises an eyebrow. That's what happened tonight at Smokies Park, as Smokies relievers Matt Wilkinson ad Chris Kinsey squandered a three run 9th-inning lead to give the Carolina Mudcats a 6-4 victory.

Tennessee starter Garrett Mock did his part. No-hitter through six. Then he reached 100 pitches. Smokies manager Bill Plummer didn't waste any time.

The theory is you save the arm. Get the most for your money. Don't risk a blowout.

But it hasn't been that long ago when Nolan Ryan would pitch complete games every other start, it seemed. And he had, what, seven no-hitters? And pitched into his 40s?

Think about pudgy Mickey Lolich. The most unlikely pitcher you've ever seen. Lolich was nevertheless the most popular Detroit Tigers pitcher of his era. He had a "I'm just punching a time clock" mentality that the blue-collar Tigers fans loved.

And, yep, he was his own closer. Mick would always go the full nine.

Those days are gone. They ain't coming back. I don't know why I'm wasting my breath.

Guess it's cause one slipped away tonight, on a perfect Memorial Day evening, when both the starting pitcher and the fans deserved better.

Just makes you wonder what might have happened had Plummer let Mock finish what he started.


Blogger thinkingasiwrite said...

Doesn't it though?!

10:04 PM  

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