FanPost

The Catch - Worthy Play or Silly Risk?

Was it worth it?

Piggybacking off of The Game Saver article, let's examine whether or not the catch was worth it.

Following is a bit of email correspondence among The Good Phight participants.

"Great catch, but how people are responding to it is ridiculous.  And all it will do is fuel the wrong type of attitude."

"If Rowand were to miss two months because of that catch, how many phans would say that it was worth it?"

Here was my first take:
     "I'm still torn though.  I understand the larger picture of not needlessly exposing one's self to bodily injury, and I agree with that, but if there was ever a situation that warranted doing this, last night was it, IMO.  

     Quite honestly, most phans aren't going to be able to separate out the context of the play from the risk involved, so I think trying to convince them otherwise is going to prove to be an unproductive endeavor.  
     If he's out for two months, I don't know how many people would agree with the play then.  But if it is just a week or less, with Victorino and Dellucci, I think the risk was well worth it.  Of course, how can you ever tell beforehand whether it will be a week or two months?  Should the risk of it possibly being a two-month injury be the sole determinant?"

The response:
"Ever a situation where it was warranted?  In the first inning of a game that could have easily been rained out in the beginning of May when they were already playing well?  This could have much more long term consequences with him out.  If this were in the playoffs or a game that could get us into the playoffs, then fine.  It wasn't a high leverage game at all."

My second take:
     "Although the team has been playing well, they got their hats handed to them the previous night, and if that hit falls in (knowing the rain was coming to make this a shortened game anyway), they lose the series.  With a road trip coming up (squeezing in the BoSox series in between), I think it was important for the team to win this series.  Granted, you're right in that it's early May, and it was nowhere near as important as a game during the playoff chase, but as we found out last year, every game counts.  I'm not as concerned with this part of it, because I'll most likely concede to you that it wasn't that important.
     But what I'm saying is, how is one to know beforehand whether the play is worth the risk or not?  You can't.  So from this viewpoint, should players never attempt to make these kinds of plays?  Look, I don't want Burrell and Abreu crashing into fences willy-nilly, all in the name of hustle and grit, but going all-out is Rowand's style of play.  He's aggressive, and you can't make him play a different way.  
     Also, outfield is the team's deepest position, and Rowand's absence isn't going to submarine the team's record.  This is what I mean about not removing context, both game/seasonwise and teamwise.  Positionally, I'm okay with the CF taking risks, since there's someone to back him up.  If this were Utley or Howard, or even Rollins, where there is no good backup/alternative on hand or waiting in the minors, my stance would be different.  But the dropoff from Rowand to Victorino is small, IMO, whereas the dropoff from Utley or Howard to the Nunez/Gonzalez platoon would be higher.  
     I still don't have a problem with the play.  If you want to take it into a pure theoretical situation, devoid of any and all context, then you're right in that the play wasn't worth the potential risk.  But that's not reality.  Context is always a part of the situation.  And to me, the context makes all the difference."

I'm curious as to what the rest of the phandom thinks.  Feel free to chime in below.