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Balking Bob Does It Again

Mike SteffanosThursday, May 31, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 5 - Giants 4 (12)
from Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Only Bob Davidson would have called that balk with Reyes at first base in the 12th inning of a tight extra inning contest. It takes a lot of arrogance for an umpire to impose himself on a game in that manner. I'm sure that there was something that Davidson spotted that led to the call, but you were hard-pressed to spot anything on the replay. I think most umpires would have required a really blatant faux pas to call a balk in that situation, but old friend Armando picked the wrong first base umpire to flinch, burp, hiccup or whatever the heck he did.

After inducing a 1-out grounder from Beltran with Reyes on third, it seemed like Benitez would escape this jam but, being Armando, he let Reyes take up too much of his attention with 2 outs and committed an indisputable balk to tie the game. Delgado's game-winning homer was the icing on the cake for Mets fans, but I couldn't help but feel for Giants fans just a little. I remember all too well what that felt like. Those great wins for one team's fans always suck for the other's.

After getting decisions in his first nine starts, Oliver Perez picked up his first no decision of the season. The three solo home runs -- 2 in the first inning -- point up the fact that Oliver still some work to do as a pitcher. The way he kept his head and the Mets in the game point up how far he has come. Moreover, for the fourth time in ten starts Perez didn't walk a batter. For all of the noise coming into the season regarding his control and the "sky is falling" coverage of his 7 walk game in his second start of the year, Perez is a strike-throwing machine. This may contribute somewhat to the 9 homers he has allowed in just over 63 innings pitched, but his 2.69 ERA and 1.02 WHIP indicate the quality of most of his strikes. For his amazing turnaround, Perez richly deserves all of the accolades that are starting to come his way -- as do Rick Peterson and Omar Minaya for believing in him.

Oliver Perez (6-3)
TOTAL (10 Games)63.2271947611892.691.027-3

Box Score

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (2)

That first balk call was hard to believe, wasn't it?

Leads me to wonder: what if you had a pitcher with some affliction -- I don't know, maybe Tourette's syndrome or something -- that caused him to jerk and twitch involuntarily? What if Jim Eisenreich had been a pitcher instead of an outfielder, for instance? Would that pitcher always be called for balking, or would the rules be changed for that one individual? Neither answer would be desirable for the game.

Frankly, the balk call as it is now defined is plain silly, and needs a drastic overhaul.

I agree. I'd like to see them crack down on left-handers with illegal moves to first and get away from calling balks on small flinches.

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