THE NEWBERG REPORT — JUNE 3, 2007
We hosted a birthday party this afternoon at one of those kids’ gymnasiums where you can sit back and watch the kids run and bounce and swing and basically engage in an exercise of absolute abandon with very little chance of hurting themselves, or anyone else. It’s controlled recklessness, genius in a way.
Then we came back home in time for me to flip on the bottom of the fourth.
I know this isn’t something that Elias can quantify, but good grief: it’s simply not possible that any team in any year has given up so many runs that were not earned.
I’m not talking about unearned runs (though there have been plenty of those). I mean the runs that aren’t unearned but that nonetheless are not earned by the other team’s offense. Runs that scored because of throws to the wrong bases. Hit batsmen. Forgetting the number of outs. Bad routes or late jumps in the outfield. Booted grounders that get scored as hits because they weren’t necessarily routine.
I’ve never seen anything like this. It directly affects runs allowed, but that’s not it. It has to affect our pitchers mentally, who probably end up trying to be too fine instead of trusting their stuff. It probably affects our hitters, who end up pressing to scratch back after gifting the other team a few runs. And surely it affects the fielders themselves, who start to defend more tentatively and, though we hope not, might even take a scarred confidence with them to the plate.
Bad defense is tough to take, no matter if you’re one of the guys in uniform or, like me, a diehard fan slothfully sprawled out on his couch, having returned home from an hour and a half of watching kids running around wildly.