Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And you thought you had a bad day?

So they played the All-Star Game last night, a gala event that plays second fiddle only to basically every other show on network TV, at least according to the ratings. On the bright side, the game was an absolutely barn-burner (barn-burner? Holy shit, how old am I?), a back-and-forth affair that featured multiple great comebacks, amazing pitching (including 34 strikeouts), and extra innings that brought both teams dangerously close to having to pitch position players. All in all, it was likely the best ASG since Ray Fosse got fucked up like Debo in Friday.

J.D. Drew (whose real name is David Jonathan, of course) won the MVP in Yankee Stadium, which is fucking awesome - if you recall my stalwart defense of the man, you'll realize how exciting this is for me. Then again, expecting a guy to improve on his worst season ever isn't exactly Nostradamus material, but whatever.

None of this is important, and in fact Josh Hamilton made all of this irrelevant two nights ago anyway. Still, the most important storyline of the game came to us in the form of a second baseman who looked like he wanted to puke for three straight hours - ladies and gentlemen, Dan Uggla!

Uggla, never known as a staunch defender, showed exactly why when he committed errors on two straight plays to load the bases in the bottom of the 10th. The first error looked like a simple rough hop that caught him on the heel - in short, the sort of thing that happens to a dude who has hands made of stone but hits too many homers to worry about it. The second, however, basically looked like this:Basically, Uggla got Charlie Brown'ed on the second one, so badly that he actually caught a spike and fell over. Well, it wasn't so much a "fall" as a slow-motion crumpling action - when the pitching coach came out to explain just how in the shit they planned to get out of a bases-loaded, none-out situation (run expectancy: about 2.15), Uggla stumbled in with his eyes wide like Kubrick and looking like he wanted to absolutely die. His teammates did the right thing, and completely ignored him while cutting him out of the discussion circle around the mound. Perfect.

While the NL would get out of the jam, Uggla would continue by making yet ANOTHER error (for a record total in the ASG) later in the game. Now, surely this story has a happy ending, right? Surely, the guy who makes the big errors will come up in a big situation and redeem himself, right? This IS a Disney movie, isn't it?


Instead, Uggla struck out with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 12th, and also left the go-ahead run in scoring position later in the game. On the whole, he was 0 for 4 with 3Ks and 6 left on base. His WPA, a measurement of the change in his team's probability to win during his at-bats, was an absolutely dismal -.634, good for worst in the game by about .300. Put another way (that isn't technically correct, but makes for good shorthand), Uggla's at-bats cumulatively made the NL about 63% more likely to lose the game. That doesn't even include his errors. Just an unreal bad performance for a guy whose father grew up in the asshole of upstate NY and wanted nothing more than to see his little boy Danny play in Yankee Stadium.

Here's to you, Dan Uggla - unless I'm beheaded in Tehran and my mom watches the video, it's safe to say I'll never have a worse day than you had yesterday. I hope you got drunker than balls and nailed any hooker that crossed your path at Bemelman's - you earned it (and home-field advantage for the AL).

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