The first day of the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament is in the books, and a few heavy hitters received some scares but prevailed in the end. Hosts LSU and Southern Miss both had to battle back from multiple-run deficits, but both did at last advance to their respective regionals’ winners brackets.
Avila’s dad was an assistant GM for the Tigers, and while there’s no indication that made a difference with the new rule, it certainly didn’t hurt to have someone in a front office realize just how silly and self-defeating the old ways were.
More important than the paternal connection, though, was the stage. It was the ALCS, with two teams trying to get to the World Series after roughly 200 games (exhibition included) of struggle. Both teams clawed, scraped, and shivved to get where they were. Both of them were so incredibly close.
And then one of those teams had to face the idea that they would be without their catcher, their field general, because of a silly, reckless, codified play that made no sense in the context of the sport. To traverse the slippery mountain pass of a baseball season, only to lose a player because someone pushed the football button in the middle of a freak play, was unconscionable.
It’s to suggest that baseball is caught between competing realities. Baseballs are flying out of the park. Baseballs are flying past the helpless bats of sluggers trying to do too much.
The Braves will put Colon on waivers and, assuming he clears, he will become a free agent. What kind of team would want Big Sexy? I regret to inform you that none of them make a lot of sense.