Hand pass goal game by Bob Ryan

All StL fans seem to be wrapped up in the Blues post-season. The devastating 3rd game loss to the Sharks on a goal with a hand pass, a shot, and a goal… stings.  Some ways to look at this….

These types of official errors have always taken place….1985 World Series, umpire Don Denkinger’s incorrect call @ 1B, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 helped the Royals rally to a 2-1 victory, forcing a seventh game against the Cards. Seemingly the Cards were heart broken as the Royals crushed the Cards and won game 7 in an 11-0 laugher. Years later Denkinger wants to see a replay. “I . . . wish they had the replay rule that night, so we could have gotten it right,” Denkinger said from his Phoenix-area home. 34 years later we don’t need a replay….handle it in a different way.

….first of all, I really believe that the officiating in all professional sports is ABOVE the level of play of that sport. Players make mistakes continually….for example….Pietrangelo’s decision to attempt to “bank in” two shots in the last 2 minutes of the game….missing…and then icing the puck was invoked against the Blues…. actually cost them the game (at least it seems that way to me).

….secondly….somehow, fans expect a perfectly officiated game—perfect calls on hockey penalties, perfect strikes, out/safe calls in baseball, football fans incredibly believe that the football officials can see all the penalties that may occur between 22 players who are all moving simultaneously in different parts of the field. This notion Is utterly ridiculous….yet fans (most who whom have NEVER officiated) hold onto the belief that each and every call should be perfect. What’s perfect in life?

…thirdly….in an attempt to attain this “perfectly called” game (point 2)….we now experience multiple appeals that really bring the game to a standstill….a boring standstill. It seems that ice melts faster than these continual appeals.

All that being said…..we’ve seen recently (Super Bowl & now conference finals in Hockey) grossly egregious calls late in the game , that clearly impacted the winner of the game. My solution for playoff games, post-season games, bowl games, NCAA b-bball tourney games….….once the game reaches the  last quarter, last period, last 3 innings, whatever the “late part of a game” time frame…some designated time frame…these oganizations should have an assigned official, either on site or a different site, with video replay access from many different angles. If that video official spots a mistake by the officials…without an appeal….notify the officials to change it.. right then and there…no appeal necessary. Don’t put the burden on the team that just got screwed to appeal. IF the organizations REALLY want the get as many calls correct as possible late in the game  have that off-the-field official , if it is very clear to him, change the call to attempt to make it as correct as possible…it still won’t every be perfect every time…see point 2 above…but it combines using technology with officiating without appeals.

Btw….why don’t players ever complain to the base umpires on half-swing calls….I don’t recall any arguments with those umpires on half-swing calls….yet some look “sketch” to me.

…..Keeping the puck moving without hand passes….Game 3 thoughts….the Sharks REALLY ARE a good team. The Blues & Sharks exchange taking control of the matches. That’s the way it’s going to be….each team has strong team. I tend to think that the Sharks may have more punch and explosiveness on their front line and the Blues seem to have a slight edge on the defense. It seems to me that the San Jose front liners don’t go back as far defensively. That means 2 things….1) more open shots for Blues in offensive end 2) quicker transition for the Sharks. The maligned Keeper of the Sharks has played well….sometimes, very well except for a 5 minute stretch in game 3. At this point, not sure if Vince Dunn will return. He’s become a vital cog on the back line and WILL be missed.

….4th game reactions “passing thoughts”…..the 1st period was totally Blues. There was great forechecking, movement w/o puck, good scoring opportunities. As the game wore on….it seemed that we wore down. The Sharks again stymied our power play by standing all 4 defenders right on the Blue line forcing us to dump & chase…which we had a difficult time doing effectively. It was good to see that in the waning seconds that the Blues cleared the puck without icing…lesson learned from game 3

….5th game ramblings….WOW! Blues came out checking and frustrating the Sharks. San Jose resorted to desperation, dirty, cheap hitting plays throughout much of the match. It was ironical to me that many of the Sharks players got injured…. when it was San Jose taking many cheap shots during play and after the whistle…throughout most of  the game.

….not called for a hand pass but getting “passed over”..at least at times… is Paul DeJong. As I write this on Friday, May 17, Cody Bellinger is #1 in WAR in the NL with a 3.8 mark. #2 is Christian Yelich with 3.1 and sitting in the #3 spot with a 2.9 WAR mark is Paul Dejong. The next 3 leaders in WAR are George Springer, Mike Trout and Javier Baez. That’s some heavy company for a SS that wasn’t a high draft choice but plays every day.  What is this WAR stuff anyway?….well…here’s the explanation–

What is this WAR stuff?   Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is a statistic that attempts to measure the “total value” of a player over a given season. WAR calculates the total number of wins that any player adds to his team over the course of a season by comparing the player’s performance with that of a fictitious replacement. The “replacement player” is assumed to be an average Triple-A callup who might appear in the majors only as replacement for an injured player, and whose hitting/fielding or pitching skills are far below league average. According to Baseball Prospectus, a team consisting entirely of replacement-level players would likely be historically bad, winning only 20-25 games over a full 162-game season.

…for pure power-hitters…nothing passed over here… one needs to consult the IPO (isolated power index) to find the leaders. Currently it is Christian Yelich on May 17. The highest Card in this category is Marcell Ozuna @ #15. Marcell HAS been swinging  the bat aggressively for several weeks now and really has been a dominant hitter after his first 2 weeks …those 2 weeks looked more to me like he was in spring training play more than actual season play.

….there were plenty of good passes @ Busch last week as the USA Women’s Soccer team crushed New Zealand 5-0. Too much depth for the USA …as the game progressed, N Zealand couldn’t keep up with the more talented USA squad. Upwards of 30,000 energetic fans made it a tremendous atmosphere for both teams. The “friendly” (European term for non-conference) game brought out the best in the Lou.

….not passing up many good AB’s are the Houston Astros…with the addition of Michael Brantley(leading league in hitting currently), there is actually talk of the best offense of all-time…..I’m not ready to quite make that leap….but….the Astros are 29-15 (they’ve won 204 games in the last 2 years)…their pitching staff is 2nd in the AL in team ERA with a  3.52 mark (led by Justin Verlander&Gerrit Cole)…the batting of this club is really unbelievable.. 5.6 run/gm; 83 HR, .282 team batting average, .354 OB% and .512 slugging% or OPS of .866! Brantley just supplements the already strong lineup

….same ol’, same ol’….fans passed on this one….the two teams with the lowest MLB attendance are the Marlins & the Rays…when they played last week, a “crowd” of 6,300+ was announced. When one actually sees a pic of the crowd during mid-game, it appears that they were exaggerating by about 5,000! They may have seen more ushers than fans J

Cards passing notes…..

…..a week of baseball that we wished had “passed us by” for the Cards…StL hasn’t won a series since the National series Apr 29-May 2. Generally…it seems…we need to score 6+ runs to win a game. In fact, we’ve only won 3 games when we scored less than 5 runs all season. We really DON’T have an ace. Flaherty seems like he has talent…and he DOES have the lowest ERA of the starting staff @ 4.19 but…is that the type of numbers you expect of your ACE…..maybe….with time for him. Without the 2 Johns in the bullpen..what a luxury J…. (Brebbia & Gant), it’d be hard to find bright spots. Defensively…24 errors in 47 games…..ugh!!!

…..not waiting any longer as he was passed over in StL….C Carson Kelly has played in 26 of the D-backs 44 games…he’s hitting  .247 (18 of 73), 3 HR, 11 RBI’s, OBP .313, SLUG .479, OPS .792.

….sent back to the minors a few weeks ago, Tyler O’Neill is again sending bombs into the stands at Memphis on a regular basis. His return presents some other choices…. send Bader back to Memphis to “find his stroke”…trade Martinez while his stock is high…or trade… O’Neill himself. Many clubs would be happy with this type of “Popeye” hitter….great, big bulging arms, speed and plenty of HR & K’s.

….Add Luke Gregerson to the growing list of veteran relief hurlers that the Cards have “passed on their evaluations” … sometimes for substantial amounts of money…..and gained little then “kleenexed’ them quickly….Greg Holland, Brett Cecil, Zach Duke are examples.

…at this moment, the Cards have allowed 210 runs to score against them with their 23-22 record. The best teams in the “run prevention” category are—Tampa Bay 127, Houston Astros 159, Cubs 161, NYY 171, Twins/Dodgers 177….all but Tampa are in 1st place (behind the Yankees)…Cards don’t need more hitting….the difference between the “good” and “average” teams is  on the mound.

… on the High School Baseball level, District tournaments just concluded last week and not letting the   season “pass by them”, the Hillsboro Hawks, the #4 seed won the Class 5 District 1 tournament.  In the vast majority of cases in MO High School baseball, the #1 seed wins their district. #2 seed wins it on occasion. But having the #4 seed, who almost always must beat the #1 seed in the semis, rarely wins.  The Hawks, began the Class 4, District 1 tournament with a 11-6 record. Edging #5 seed, Cape Central (7-12) 4-2 in the opening round didn’t make it look like the season would extend much longer.  The next day, the Hawks stunned the #1 seed, the Jackson Indians(20-8), 8-6 in the semifinals….yes sir… a #4 beating a #1, you just don’t see that often in ANY sport in a district tournament. The Championship game between Hillsboro & Seckman was an outstanding game. The Hawks jumped ahead 2-0 then fell behind 4-2 until the 6th when Hillsboro tied it 4-4. The Hawks scored 4 runs in the top of the 7th only to see Seckman score twice to bring plenty of excitement to the last at bat of this District Title game. Hillsboro draws defending State Champion, Vianney, to open the STATE tournament this week.

Well…I’m going to pass it along now…..I’m asking you, with this new delivery system,  to help me keep a record of readers.  Yes…..it may sound weird….but I’m getting close to 70,000 readers in my “blog history”

As you noticed, this blog was delivered in a different manner. Due to some uncontrollable circumstances,  I sent it directly. I’m asking you…if you read the blog, to do me a favor, and just return my email to you…with a YES at the top of the email or on the subject line.   Yes….I am a numbers guy..I do record the amount of my readers every week ….I’m closing in on 70,000..so THANKS for your response.

Now….pass it on….without a hand pass J

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