There seems to be much talk in Yankeeland today about Alex Rodriguez taking a walk in the bottom of the 9th inning last night – with one out and the tying run on third base. Some feel that A-Rod should have made contact, somewhere in his At Bat, and driven home the tying run. And, others feel that A-Rod did the correct thing by not expanding his strike zone, etc., and taking the free pass.
It’s funny, it spots like this, I always think back to a Yankees game from the 1980′s. It’s when Don Mattingly was in his prime and Bill White and the Scooter were doing the Yankees broadcasts. In this game, the Yankees were losing, and it was late, and Donnie Baseball came through with a huge hit – on a pitch that was up around his eyes. When it happened, Bill White went nuts. In praise of Mattingly, White went on and on about how Mattingly was a winning player, a team player, and a leader, etc., – because he knew that he was never going to get a good pitch to hit in that At Bat (as the other team didn’t want ‘the big man’ to beat them) and he took it upon himself to make something happen despite of those plans by the opposing team (and pitcher).
I’m not 100% sure – but, I want to say it was the Yankees game of May 13, 1985. I do recall that it was a home game, at night, and it was when Mattingly was among the best in the game. And, I know that White stopped doing Yankees games after 1988. Looking at Mattingly’s homerun log, it appears that May 13, 1985 could have been that game.
In any event, that’s today’s wild thought. In a big spot, should ‘the man’ on your team be happy to take a walk, if the other team is not willing to let him beat them? Or, are you like Bill White and feel that a winning and team player, a leader, should make it happen based on what he has to work with?
Me? I see both sides of the debate. I understand, as a batter, how you shouldn’t chase pitches. But, then again, if something is close enough to make it happen…as a fan, I love it when our ‘man’ comes through with a hit in a spot like that, taking it on his own shoulders, rather than leaving it up to the next guy.
It’s a tough call. But, a fun wild thought.