An 8th inning throwing error by SS Rafael Furcal that would’ve otherwise tied last night’s Braves/Mets game at 7 (eventually won by Atlanta, 8-6) was waved off, as Mets 3B David Wright was charged with interference while trying to break up a potential double play. From the New York Times’ Lee Jenkins.
“You try to play the game the right way,” Wright said. “I was just trying to break up a double play. I felt it was a good play. Ninety-nine times out of 100, they don’t make that call.”
Afterward, the Mets huddled around a television monitor to review the play and evaluate whether Wright could have reached out and touched the bag, the determining factor on whether he was out of the base line. Randolph, who comes across just as mild-mannered as Wright, was angrier than he has ever been as the Mets’ manager.
“I don’t understand it,” Randolph said. “Obviously, I thought it was an unnecessary call. It was good hardball. I don’t understand the game, I guess. We’re not playing footsie-ball.”
In the Atlanta clubhouse, Furcal told reporters: “I don’t think I could have made the throw to the base with the way he was sliding.” In the umpires’ room, Jeff Nelson said: “Wright intentionally interfered with the second baseman. It’s automatic.”
While Randolph and Wright blamed Nelson, Doug Mientkiewicz blamed himself for grounding into the double play in the first place. Batting .197, Mientkiewicz beckoned a group of reporters to his locker and pleaded with them to blast him in print. “Lay it on me,” Mientkiewicz said. “Call me out. Put me on the front page.”
He added: “It’s tough to look at my teammates anymore. I’m embarrassing everybody. I apologize to every Met fan in America. There’s no excuse for this.”
Mientkiewicz said that he had not slept in a week, had not eaten in two days, and he offered to refund the price of admission to one fan who had jeered him during the game. When he finished lambasting himself, he said, “This was therapeutic.”
Much as I love to see the Mets continue to try and take out the opposition’s middle infielders (Mike Cameron successfully broke up a DP earlier in the game), the replay doesn’t lie. Wright went far out of his way to interfere with Furcal. He’s correct in saying that inteference is rarely called in such instances, but it is equally rare that a baserunner is closer to the warning track than 2nd base.
Mientkiewicz’ apology is accepted by this Mets fan, though I’d like to know when he’s gonna take responsibility for Kaz Ishii’s control problems.