Extreme sarcasm warning, and shame on you if you didn’t read past the title.
Imagine the scene…bottom of the sixth inning, two outs, two men on for Alfonso Soriano. Soriano needs to put the ball in play or at least get on base by walk or whatever to extend the inning. Soriano ropes a hot shot at Will Middlebrooks that goes right into the glove. Inning over, right?
Not so easy. Middlebrooks did get it in the glove but it was hit SO hard that it pops out. Soriano stopped, assuming the out. But Middlebrooks bobbles it a couple times before it hits the dirt, then fires to David Ortiz at first base to get an easy out because by the time Soriano realized it was in play, it was too late to accelerate and get to first safely.
Should he have run? Of course! But the ball was literally in Middlebrooks’ glove less than a second after Soriano swung the bat, which is unfortunately not enough time for a right-handed hitter to start towards the box. When he saw Middlebrooks fumble the ball he probably should have started running in earnest, but check the time of the play. There’s a timer on the bottom. I’ll wait.
That’s right…the time it took for Middlebrooks to gather the ball and throw to first was slightly less than four seconds. Even if Soriano had run hard out of the box, he’d be out by at least a few steps considering his bum leg. But let’s go back to the line drive.
Think of what YOU do when you are playing beer league softball and you see a ball go right at a fielder’s glove. Even if you aren’t throwing your bat down and screaming “FUCK” you probably don’t run as hard as you can because of what your brain is telling you: “YOU ARE OUT”.
The amount of venom being spewed at Soriano right now on our page and elsewhere is rather annoying to me. And I am glad to see that Dale Sveum and the other Cubs players are standing by Soriano. The 100% thing is a bit extreme, but when a fielder snags a lineout, it is extremely deflating to the offensive player, who hit the ball about as hard as you can hit it without plowing right through the defender and has nothing to show for it.
I ask you to consider a couple things here:
- Soriano is not going to be benched. There’s still time between now and the August 31 waiver trade deadline to dump him off to another team. Until then he needs to play.
- Soriano is one of the few power threats on this team, especially with Bryan LaHair slumping and Ian Stewart hurt.
- Soriano had literally no shot of being safe on that play, whether the ball was initially caught or not.