Friday, July 22, 2011

"You gotta get that mike in close." -- It's Rich Kincaide's Birthday !

I have never met Rich Kincaide. We have not even spoken on the phone. Thanks to the wonders of the internets, I have "known" him for a few baseball seasons, and then some.

Everybody Wants To Read My Blog

was one of the first blogs to link to this one.

His posts about his family are unfailingly poignant. Who says Hockey Players Have No Feelings?

His baseball blogging is splendid in every sense; he knows that there is no Met infielder named Robinson Tejada.

Here is an excerpt from Rich's blogging of a Mets/Tigers game. Or if you prefer, Tigers/Mets game. June 16, 2011.

7:58 I think we are in for it tonight. I think Jim Leyland is going to be mad as Hell and won’t be taking it anymore after this one. It has already been a very, very interesting week in terms of the media–of whom I am one–and relations with the Detroit manager. On Monday after he got thrown out of the game, when we showed up at his office door he was sitting at his desk in street clothes and he screamed at us, “Don’t come in here! Don’t you come in here! Go talk to (Tigers Hitting Coach Lloyd) McClendon!” So, we went to talk to McClendon only to find out he had made the smartest move of the night. He was taking a shower. A nice, long shower. So, we all retraced our steps and went into the main locker room to interview players. All the time I was keeping watch on the door to Leyland’s office out of the corner of my eye. Sure enough, after ten minutes or so, the Tigers PR guy said he’d talk to us. Because I’d been watching just in case Leyland relented, I was first man in so my microphone placement was perfect. That’s half the battle in the post-game game. You gotta get that mike in close. The first thing Leyland says is, and actually he more yelled it than said it, is, “Don’t ask me about that (expletive deleted) play!” So, we don’t and I manage to get some halfway decent material about how it had been a “character win” for the Tigers what with them rallying in the 8th and whatnot. Reporters began heading for the door. I dawdled, a bit. Jason Beck of, who as an aside does a great job covering the Tigers, told Leyland he a question about the rules and after some hemming and hawing, Leyland says to the three of us left in his office, “Okay, I’ll talk to you about it. But, (expletive deleted) it’s off the record.” He proceeds to give us his entire version of events. We can’t use it, but the big thing to me was that he trusted me enough to let me in on the story. And the next day he talked about it on the record. But me and those other two reporters, we had it first.

In case you missed the play in question, here’s what I wrote on the blog as it happened here a couple of nights ago:

8:15 Let me see if I can explain what just happened. Andy Dirks bunted and was called safe at first. The umpire asked the home plate umpire for his thoughts on the play, and the home plate ump said Dirks was out. Which he was. The first base umpire kicked the call. But once a man is declared safe, he’s safe. That’s how this game works! But they changed the call, Dirks was declared out and let’s just say Tigers manager Jim Leyland got his money’s worth arguing the reversal. He was, of course, run (baseballese for when one is excused by the officiating staff from further participation in a game). The only good news is that Raburn’s at second with one out. It should be men on first and second with none out. What a show. b-7: Detroit 2, Toronto 2.

The paragraph above describes as stunning a thing has I have ever seen in a big league game, and as it says on the masthead, I’ve been going to big league games for 47 years–48 next month. And what Leyland said–off the record the night of the game and on the record the following afternoon was, “In my 48 years in baseball, I’ve never seen that. Once you make the call, you live with it. He was telling me he’d missed the call. I was telling him, ‘You should be saying that to the Toronto manager!’”

The thing I couldn't stop thinking about was poor Armando Galarraga losing his perfect game a year ago this month with two out in the ninth on the exact same thing: a blown call at first base. My most vivid memory of that night, of that moment, is the feeling of utter helplessness that washed over me when first base umpire Jim Joyce spread his arms palms down, calling Cleveland’s Jason Donald “safe”. I knew the perfect game was over. I knew there was no appeal. That’s how baseball works. Once the call is made, it doesn’t matter if you have Edward Bennett Williams defending you, that call stands. And now, on a play of relatively little importance when compared to that one, the umpire who kicked the call is asking another umpire for help, and for the first time I’ve ever seen, for the first time I’ve ever even heard of, they change the call. As Leyland said, “In a thousand years of baseball, they’ve never done that.” (He may have been exaggerating the “1,000 years part, I don’t know.)

Rich, I will think of you tonight when I am at Fenway.

Thank you, for being a Blog Brother, and a Kind Funny Person, and I sure hope that I meet you and your wife and daughter some day !

Have a Wonderful Day and Many, many more!

1 comment:

democommie said...

Happy B'day to Rich! Happy Beantown to Nomi!