Sully Baseball Salutes Andrew Carignan

My fellow baseball fans and readers of the blog. Let us tip our cap to Oakland reliever Andrew Carignan. And I will explain why.

The Oakland A’s and the Kansas City Royals went into extra innings today. With a Kansas City runner on first and 2 outs in the top of the 12th, Oakland manager Bob Melvin brought in Andrew Carignan to relieve Jordan Norberto, who had gone 1 2/3 innings.

Royals slugger Billy Butler hit one into the left field corner and Eric Hosmer, taking advantage of Coco Crisp’s arm, raced all the way home from first. The Royals took a 4-3 lead.

But after a one out error in the bottom of the 12th, Royals reliever Jonathan Broxton totally lost his control. He walked two batters and hit two more. The last hit batsman was Johnny Gomes to bring home the winning run.

The winning pitcher? Andrew Carignan.

It was his first big league victory.
And that is an achievement.

The New London Connecticut native was a star pitcher for the North Carolina Tar Heels and drafted by Oakland in the 5th round of the 2007 draft. He was drafted ahead of Tampa’s Matt Moore and Arizona’s Josh Collmenter, who each won a game in the 2011 post season.

Carignan pitched well his first few years in the minors, but then injuries took their toll. At age 22, he pitched only 2 innings in the 2009 season. At age 23, he had a poor 2010 season at Single A Stockton and threw only 33 innings.

A lot of pitchers get derailed by injuries and ineffectiveness. A lot of pitchers never get past that Single A level. The leap from Single A to Double A must be astronomical. And the jump to Triple A and finally to the majors must have seemed unattainable when a pitcher him his mid 20s couldn’t stay healthy or get Single A batters out.

But in 2011, he jumped four levels, starting at Single A Stockton, then being promoted first to Double Midland and Triple A Sacramento before making his big league debut on September 2, 2011.

He made the big league squad out of spring training and lost the season opener in Tokyo out of the pen.

Today, he got his first win.

I wonder how many times when he was struggling at Single A ball he thought “It’s not going to happen.”

He must have had moments where he thought “I am not going to make it to the big leagues. I will never get to experience a victory in the majors. The injuries are too much. The competition is too strong. There are too many new young pitchers taking my place.”

And how many of us can’t even comprehend being a real Major Leaguer, let alone be in a position where you have one in the win column.

Congratulations Andrew Carignan.
Many other people would have folded up the tent.

You battled through.

I hope I have a little bit of Andrew Carignan in me as well.

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Instant Replay meets the Human Element in Kansas City

Last night in Kansas City we may have had the great compromise between people like me who are FOR Instant Replay (because we like to have calls be correct!) and the opponents of instant replay, who evidently think screwing up calls makes the game better and players shouldn’t be rewarded for what they actually DO!

Billy Butler of the Royals hit a ball off the top of the wall against Yankees starter Bartolo Colon.

That’s what he did.

We all saw it.

Now it may have looked like it went over the fence when it happened, but all the camera angles clearly showed it stayed in the park.

Even the Kansas City announcers were talking about how Butler should be on second base.

Joe Girardi asked the umpires to review it. They did. All the TV crews showed over and over again that it didn’t clear the fence while they reviewed it.

The umpires returned… and ruled it a home run.

Even the Royals were laughing knowing that they got away with one.

So there you have it! The great compromise! Instant Replay in use, and the human element screws it up!

By finding the mid ground, the umpires for a perfect compromise that EVERYONE can hate.

Instant Replay opponents can complain about the game being slowed down and the over reliance on technology.

Instant Replay supporters can complain that the call was wrong.

EVERYONE LOSES! Which means everyone wins when you think about it.

My previous position still stands!

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Opponents of Instant Replay must have HATED the end of the Royals and Angels game

Yesterday in the 9th inning of the Royals – Angels game, Billy Butler hit a fly ball and it wasn’t clear where it landed.

So the umps used the technology that was at their disposal and got the call RIGHT. It was a walk off homer.

And I assume instant replay opponents HATE that.
Where is “The Human Element”?
It’s better to get calls wrong than to use technology to get calls right, am I right?

Billy Butler’s home run being called right is the slippery slope to ROBOTS PLAYING BASEBALL, right?

I hope you can get over your grave disappointment in a call being made correctly and the right team winning a game.

Things like that could RUIN baseball.
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