I’m convinced that the winner of this World Series is going to be the team that hustles the most and Friday night’s game solidified that notion for me, specifically in the bottom of the 7th inning. That’s when Jorge Soler‘s lackadaisical jaunt to first base, after he sliced a ball into the right field corner, made me lose faith in Generation M. I believe, and I am not alone, that his slow motion exit from the batter’s box toward first kept the Chicago Cubs from tying the game at one in the bottom of the 7th.
This may be the only time Joe Buck and I could agree on something. I texted my faithful baseball compadre, my mother, in anger, “That should have been an inside-the-park home run. He didn’t hustle down the line. He watched the ball. Terrible!” He got to third, and the at bat was officially scored a triple. But he was stranded, just like all of the other Cubs that evening. If he had hustled, we may have had a different outcome.
Fearless Cubs Manager Joe Maddon doesn’t agree with me or other members of the media and I am shocked. In his press conference, Maddon said this about the incident as reported by NBC Chicago. “What happens sometimes, you’ll see a guy hit a ball and their head is down they don’t even know where it is,” he said. “When he saw it, from our perspective, it was in the stands and it kind of blew back. I’m not making excuses for him but the best he could do was get to third base, anyway.”
Really, Joe? I was taught, by another guy ironically named Joe (my father) that you don’t watch the ball after you make contact. You take off as soon as you hit the ball and ask your coach where you hit it later on.
According to NBC Chicago, “Soler, thinking the ball was going to be foul, got a slow break out of the batter’s box, but by the time he realized the ball was going to be fair, he started sprinting and ended up on third base on the play.” And to my point, had he taken off from the start, I believe he would have tied the game with one swing of the bat. He knows Wrigley Field has very little foul territory. He’s a Cub and this is his home field. No excuse!
With every play under scrutiny between instant replay and errors and low scores, the team that hustles the most will win. You have to be gritty, you have to persevere and you have to take every advantage that comes your way, in baseball and in life. Since when is it OK not to hustle?
–Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist