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THIS is baseball reporting

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dave Kindred, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    (What follows is from the heart of the Gordon Edes game story on Game 2, the anatomy of a critical play in the 8th inning.)

    The Sox won their sixth straight Series game and fifth straight of this postseason with one never-before-seen wrinkle. Papelbon, who had not picked off a runner since he broke into the big leagues in 2006, nabbed Matt Holliday straying off first base to close out the eighth inning. Holliday had nearly taken out both Papelbon and second baseman Dustin Pedroia with a line single up the middle, his fourth hit of the night. The ball appeared to glance off Papelbon's leg and caused Pedroia, who gloved the ball with a sprawling spot, to writhe in pain after he landed heavily on the left shoulder he'd dislocated already once this postseason.

    At the plate was Todd Helton, the signature player in Rockies history. But he never saw a pitch in the eighth, as Papelbon whirled and picked off Holliday.

    "Probably will go down as one of the biggest outs of my career," Papelbon said.

    It was not happenstance. Holliday was intending to steal - he confirmed so after the game - and the Sox had a strong suspicion he was going.

    They knew that the Rockies were scouting them in the Division Series against the Angels, when Howie Kendrick stole second and third unchallenged against Papelbon in the eighth inning of a tie game.

    "If you were advancing us, you would have said the same thing, that Pap is 1.8 [seconds] to the plate, and he doesn't pick," (Sox bench coach Brad) Mills said. "But it was a different situation in the game against the Angels. We didn't care if he stole, because we had confidence in Paps getting the hitter and we didn't want to take anything away from him to try to get the runner on that situation.Continued...

    "We know they're advancing us, they're watching it. That night I was talking to Pap in the shower about that exact thing, and about what was to come. [Bullpen coach] Gary Tuck was talking to him about it, [pitching coach] John Farrell talked to him about it, about different things we were going to do."

    When manager Terry Francona went out with trainer Paul Lessard to check on Pedroia, Mills noticed that Glenallen Hill, the Rockies' first base coach, never stopped talking to Holliday. Mills also had a color-coded chart he keeps on every player, that showed that Holliday likes to steal on the first pitch with two outs. "It was right there in my pocket," Mills said.

    Indeed, it was right there on the chart, multiple steal attempts Holliday had made on the first pitch with two outs.

    "You put all those things together, and it comes up, 'Hey, we're going to pick once to see where he's at, and then we're going to slide-step.'

    "And, we were watching. I got a big lump in my throat because he kept inching, inching, inching off, and Pap did a great job of holding the ball, letting him get off there. And then I'm sitting there, with a lump in my throat, hoping he doesn't throw [it] away."

    Papelbon made the play, Mills said. "He made the great pick."

    But while it was nowhere as dramatic as Kirk Gibson knowing that Dennis Eckersley was going to throw a backdoor slider on a full count before Gibson hit one of the greatest home runs in Series history, it was a stunning example of how inside knowledge and paying extraordinary attention to detail can turn a Series.

    "There are a lot of times we don't want him to throw over," Mills said. "But in this situation with Helton and [Garrett] Atkins coming up, we couldn't afford it, and it just happened to work out."
  2. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    That's outstanding.

    Thanks Dave.
  3. silentbob

    silentbob Member


    I kept reading and thinking, 'What a great detail.' And it just kept on coming.

    Impressive indeed. Especially in a deadline situation.

    Doesn't get much better than that.

    Very well done.
  4. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Dave. This is great stuff. The details are incredible. It's why I am so angry every time an editor tells me "400 words" or "500 words" because anyone can write 400 or 500 words on a game.

    I, for one, love the details.

    For example, the local college QB fumble once and three an interception on the weekend. Both came while using the odd ball of three rotated into and out of the game.

    That detail was cut from the story, even though the trainer gave me the head's up about the one different football, the QB talked about it in an interview with me and I held all three balls for myself.

    Of three guys there, I was the only one who had all this info and it was all left out.

    I'm not sure if every reporter knew (and if they did, not everyone wrote about it) that "Mills also had a color-coded chart he keeps on every player, that showed that Holliday likes to steal on the first pitch with two outs."

    You have to, HAVE TO, go beyond what everyone in the stands and at home sees.
  5. Jones

    Jones Active Member

    That's great stuff to get, especially out of a World Series clusterhump.

    And that, dear sports editors, ain't ever coming over the wire.
  6. hockeybeat

    hockeybeat Guest

    The following is the greatest World Series game story I've ever read:

  7. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Damn right.
  8. earlyentry

    earlyentry Member

    I have no idea who Mills is in last night's game story. Who is he? The online version doesn't say "Sox bench coach"...just, "said Mills."
  9. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    The Red Sox's bench coach.
  10. Jake_Taylor

    Jake_Taylor Well-Known Member

    Fixed that for you.
  11. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Pete said:

    I'm not sure if every reporter knew (and if they did, not everyone wrote about it) that "Mills also had a color-coded chart he keeps on every player, that showed that Holliday likes to steal on the first pitch with two outs."

    How many reporters: A) knew who Mills was? B) Had the rapport with him to get that stuff?

    Yep, the Gammons piece still resonates perfectly after all these years. I would love to know how quickly after the game he filed *that* version (and remember, it was pre-Internet). It wasn't as though he had a chance to pre-write the lead. And like the example today, look at the detail -- "Hallelujah Chorus," for example.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    "That night I was talking to Pap in the shower..."

    How well do you have to know a source to get that?! Not exactly something a coach says into a wall of microphones. Of course, the bench coach never faces a wall of microphones, which is the point. Great job by Edes.
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