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Top o' the World (Sort of)
2003-05-28 09:06
by Jon Weisman

During my five-day vacation to the Bay Area (two days of which, admittedly, were mainly spent on the I-5), the Dodgers moved from relative anonymity to leading the baseball highlights on ESPN. It feels good.

Seriously, even though the Dodgers fell out of first place Tuesday, I'm still chipper today - in part because the Dodger story, relegated to the inside pages of the Times sports section earlier this month, had become important enough to follow the NBA conference finals and the Stanley Cup on SportsCenter.

External validation matters way too much to me.

Of course, another loss today, combined with a Giants win, and ESPN will probably drop the Dodger highlights behind the Arena Football League. And then there's that matter of trying to get back into the playoffs.

No reason to turn all pessimistic yet, though. I guess I'm also in a good mood because the lost first inning in Denver on Tuesday had a fluky quality to it.

As Kazuhisa Ishii prepared to pitch to Chris Stynes with two runners on and two out, already trailing 3-0, I did notice a sudden glare lighting up Ishii from the third-base side.

Here's my question:

If a player can't find a fly ball in the sun and it drops untouched, the play is ruled a hit. Why shouldn't the same ruling come when an infielder loses a throw from third in the sun?

There was no humanly way for Fred McGriff to catch that throw from Adrian Beltre on Stynes' grounder. It was a fluke, but it was a hit all the way.

The highlights on ESPN didn't capture this, but watching the game live certainly did.

By the way, a recap on ESPN of the Giants 4-3, 13-inning victory over Arizona followed the Dodgers-Rockies game. If you still can, you have to catch the replay of Ruben Rivera's Etch-a-Sketch pinch-running experience in the ninth inning.

In a 2-2 game, with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Rivera was on first when Marquis Grissom hit a fly ball deep to right field. Rivera:

--ran to second and headed for third, thinking the ball would drop
--turned back, retouched second and headed for first when he then got the signal that the ball would be caught
--ran through the infield toward third when David Dellucci dropped the ball - but didn't touch second again
--ran back to retouch second, then again headed for third
--would have been out by a mile as he slid into third, but the relay throw skipped past the third baseman
--headed for home, where he was thrown out.

How the Giants won that game after a play like that, I can't really explain.

For its part, Arizona missed a chance to move within 6 1/2 games of the National League West lead and make some noise of its own.

At any rate, it's fun right now, isn't it?

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