Those of you who are casual fans of the game probably spend most of your time watching a ballgame thinking about the obvious parts of the sport. You know, things such as balls, strikes, hits, runs. Some of the most savvy fans go even further, worrying about stats such as earned run average, on base percentage, perhaps even the walks hits per innings pitched. While those things are important, I'd like to focus on something even more subtle about the game, 3rd base coaching errors.
I'm being completely honest here when I think we (baseball society in general) should start keeping track of bonehead decisions of base coaches. No doubt, the Nationals would be near the league lead in that category. Case in point has been the current series with the Astros. Both nights, Tim Tolman has shown a complete lack of faith in the team and sent runners home on shallow singles with 2 outs, only to have both runners thrown out by a country mile. Last night's was particularly disheartening as Cristian Guzman would have been up to the plate, arguably our best and most clutch hitter at the moment. But nope, Tolman evidently thought Wily Mo Pena grew some wheels over the winter...he didn't. The only coherent thought that could have been going through Tolman's head at that point was that he knew the throw was going to beat WMP to the plate, but WMP is what you might call a "hoss" and if he blows up the catcher at the plate, there's a good chance he ends up safe. Well Brad Ausmus sniffed out Tolman's devious plans and sidestepped the oncoming Pena and tagged him on the leg...feet from the plate.
Another inning ending out at home, another loss for the Nats, another reason I should be coaching 3rd base!