Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pic of the Week

Torii Hunter tumbles over the right field wall in
Fenway Park in vain pursuit of David Ortiz's
grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Pic of the Week? Pic of the Year, really, at least as far as baseball is concerned. Hunter's legs, the cop's arms...

What struck me, really, about the play was that it was very much the kind of play that made Hunter famous more than a decade ago — charging the wall to take a home run away. But this one he overran — as we all saw on the replays, he was going to his right to intercept the ball, then had to reach to his left at the wall.

He just missed it. Excruciatingly close. And, of course, had he caught that ball, the Tigers probably — almost certainly — win that game. And they would have taken a 2-0 lead in the series, and who knows what might have followed that. Instead, the Sox evened the series, and today they are champions of the American League and headed to the World Series.

Hunter's been a right fielder for a few years because first the Angels and now the Tigers have younger legs for center field. The advanced defensive metrics aren't very kind to him at this point in his career; Baseball Info Systems estimates that he cost the Tigers 10 runs (approximately one win) with his defense this season.

Maybe the young Hunter would have made that catch. But then, the young Hunter would have been playing center field, not right.

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