Hate to double-up on the CC posts today but he is, after all, our best player. (Longoria fans may send hate mail to YourTimeisComingSoChillOut@gmail.com).
Crawford’s infield hit (yes, it was definitely a hit, official scorer is a tough gig so I am going to refrain from any further editorializing) didn’t just extend an inning and set up Carlos Pena’s dagger of a home run. It also reminded every infielder in the league (particularly those in New York, Texas, and Minnesota) that the Rays do not hit into routine outs.
Here are two great quotes from the St. Pete Times’ notebook story:
LHP Brett Cecil said “it’s not an error in my book,” adding, “You can’t fault a guy for trying to make a great play.” While Hill declined to comment, 1B Adam Lind said, “I’m sure Hilly was thinking the same (thing as me), I’ve got to get rid of it.”
Said manager Joe Maddon: “That’s the beauty of speed. But it’s also the beauty of playing the game hard and playing the game right all the time. That moment was caused by our reputation and Carl’s reputation of running to first base.”
To summarize, Aaron Hill, who is a highly-regarded defensive second basemen, wasn’t rushing because he saw CC hustling down the line. He was rushing because he knew without looking that CC would be running it out.
If that’s the kind of pressure that the Rays’ speed and aggressiveness can put on good players in meaningless regular season games, what happens when the stadium is packed, the air is cold, the inning is late, and Tim McCarver is rambling about the 1964 Cardinals from the press box?