This pisses me off. Yesterday the Marlins and the Nationals were deadlocked at 6 in the bottom of the ninth, at Washington. The home team Nationals load up the bases with 1 out, and Dmitri Young steps to the plate. He hits a long fly ball to left field, near the foul line, where outfielder Josh Willingham was waiting for it. Willingham just stands there and watches the ball as it bounces a foot or so fair, thus winning the game for the Nationals.
Now some of the national sports media would have you believe that Willingham screwed up, that he should have made a play for the ball, that he assumed the ball was foul and hence made an ass out of "u" and "med." My first thought when I saw what happened was that Willingham had absolutely no chance to gun the runner out at home, so he decided to let it bounce and just prayed it would bounce foul.
Pretty damn smart play, in my mind.
In that situation, what other option did he have? He catches it, Nationals win 7-6, because he didn't have a chance at throwing the runner out. If it bounces fair, Marlins win 7-6 anyway. But if he let's it bounce, and it bounces foul, then the pitcher Julio gets another attempt to get out of the inning. And it was close enough that there was a chance, in his mind, that it would drop foul.
Let's hear from Willingham:
"I knew it was going to be close," Willingham said. "[letting it drop foul] was the only play I had."
His manager, Fredi Gonzalez, agreed.
"He ain't going to throw him out at the plate there," Gonzalez said. "I thought it was a head's-up play."
Hey national broadcaster people - how about looking at the situation before you start judging how smart or not smart a play was? I mean heck I am not the most knowledgeable baseball guy, but I at least have some modicum of common sense!
National Broadcaster People: 0