Wednesday, June 8, 2016


My number one rule is “There’s absolutely no walking on the baseball field.” The kids I coach know that rule. They don’t always abide by it, probably to torment me, but they know it. To piggyback on that rule, there is absolutely no excuse not to hustle. That is something that Aroldis Chapman learned this passed weekend in Baltimore and it still bothers me, which is why this feature is coming out today...

With a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning and the bases loaded, Chapman gave up a ground ball single to Matt Wieters. Jacoby Ellsbury came up throwing and the ball took a big hop that scooted over Brain McCann’s head at the plate. Aroldis Chapman neglected to back up home allowing Francisco Pena to come around from first to score giving the Orioles a 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Chapman was quoted as saying; “I felt there was no chance of getting the guy out. That’s why I didn’t rush.” 

If you watch the replay, perhaps he was referring to getting Pena out since he made little-to-no effort to get to the plate while McCann chased down the ball. Nonetheless, Chapman, and all pitchers, especially big leaguers, need to have the instinct and effort to get themselves behind the plate on that play. There’s no excuse!

My high school coach and I correspond frequently and talk baseball. He’s an umpire as well and always gives me pointers on things he sees. He made a smart ass comment about how pitchers should just bring a cot out to the mound with them since they think they are there to relax during balls put in play. It is just baffling to me that players, especially big leaguers, make these kinds of mental midget mistakes and make excuses.

That play did not cause the Yankees to lose the game. Scoring one single solitary run sure helped. But making mistakes like this cost teams runs and in turn, cost teams wins over the course of a long season.

Mistakes do happen, we are human beings. What Chapman could have said was simply, “I screwed up.” He knows he did, the team knows he did and most baseball fans at this point know he did. We then would have gotten over it easier.

The Yankees are not a good ball club this year. They are old, over the hill and under-performing. Add a lack of hustle or a lack of ‘give a damn’ and they may as well start the fire sale now and let guys like Rob Refsnyder and others get some more experience.

Could they start playing better, win some ball games and make the summer a little more fun? Sure they could. It can’t get too much worse, so sure they could. They need to start hitting the ball, play good defense and get good pitching performances. Baseball is a game of catch in its simplest form.

But if you don’t put forth effort and don’t hustle, it’s a complete lost cause. There’s no excuse to not hustle. 

Off a 2 game winning streak... maybe they are starting to hustle! We shall see.

 --Dan Lucia
BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @DManLucia

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