Roll up, roll up, come one and all! Feast your eyes on the amazing, the incredible, no-strike, strike-out looking that ended the final game of the Boston v Tampa series today at Fenway!
Boston went into Patriots Day with plenty of issues hanging in the air. However, nobody will be bothered talking about Bobby Valentine and Kevin Youkilis after this one. Let's set the scene. Fantastic pitchers duel between Daniel Bard and James Shields. Tampa eek out one single run and go into the ninth clinging to a 1-0 lead. With two away, runners on and Cody Ross at the plate, Tampa's closer Fernando Rodney labored to get the ball across home plate, or, did he? To the fans at the park and those watching on TV, Rodney wasn't even close. To home plate umpire Larry Vanover, he was right down the pipe.
Have a look yourself. Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, who usually says it like it is, murmured post game ''I don't think one of those pitches were a strike'' and Remy was very much more accurate than the blue on the day, Vanover. Check the below out, and bear in mind, Ross did not offer at any one of these pitches, which are all clearly off the plate.
In case you think this is Boston-bias, the Rays broadcast team, looking at their own pitch tracker, laughed and called it "close enough." That's right Vanover, you reduced an otherwise epic pitching duel to a laughing matter. Who knows if Boston might have turned the obvious walk into the required run, but thanks to Vanover, we will never get a fair chance to know. Vanover took the bat out of Ross's hands, he took the life out of the game, and he screwed the 37,000 paid entrants, and the millions watching on TV or online. The fans, the players, the game of baseball all deserve an apology from Vanover.
You know what, what is the point in playing the nine preceding innings if you aren't going to get a fair chance when the game is on the line? Absolutely disgraceful showing from Vanover, who should donate his game check to charity or something.
He sure as hell doesn't deserve it.