Friday, October 19, 2012

Nothing Like the Real Thing

Well, it's all over but the shouting for Yankee fans. On their way to being swept in the ALCS by the Tigers, the punchless New Yorkers managed just 2 runs in a 30-inning stretch. The most disappointing performance belonged to someone other than A-Rod for a change as Robinson Cano, arguably the club's best hitter when he's in a groove, managed just 1 hit in 18 at-bats against Detroit hurlers. While engaged in a lively water cooler discussion at work, a comrade of mine suggested that Yankee hitters may have been equally effective with Wiffle Ball bats in their hands. I assured him that this had indeed happened before.

In a 1982 exhibition game against the Padres, A's skipper Billy Martin sent pitcher Steve McCatty to the plate holding a 15-inch toy bat. Martin was unhappy with Major League Baseball's decision to ban designated hitters in NL parks during spring training that year and decided to lodge an unofficial protest. The toy was deemed inappropriate by plate umpire Jim Quick and McCatty struck out on three pitches.

Arguably, it was not the most unusual implement ever carried to the plate. Detroit infielder Norm Cash once stepped to the dish to face Nolan Ryan with a table leg he had acquired from the Tiger clubhouse. When umpire Ron Luciano told him to grab a more suitable piece of wood, Cash protested: "I can't hit him with a regular bat." He wasn't exaggerating as Ryan tossed a no-hitter that day.

...How's that for futility?

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