WWYD = What Would You Do?

Steve Nesius / AP

For some reason I kept waking up last night because of a weird and unsual dream. I was standing in rightfield yesterday during the beginning of the eighth inning and I heard the smack of Royals catcher John Buck’s dying quail hit to right. I sat there a second and then went in full speed to scoop the ball backhanded and give the Royals their first out of the inning.

The play was met with a huge round of applause and I could see  B J Upton out of the corner of my eye coming over to cover behind me in case the ball dipped past me towards the wall. How do I know this was a dream? Because on that play in real life that afternoon, Upton was still situated in centerfield watching it unfold instead of moving towards Gabe Gross to back him up.

Which made me wonder WWJD or What Would Jonny (Gomes) Do? You know with the no-hitter on the line a player like Gomes, or Gabe Kapler or even Jose Guillen would have done whatever they could to try and keep history going for James Shields on Sunday. But would it have been the right move? Would it have been baseball savvy to put it all on the line just then without regard to the conscequences, or wold that have been baseball foolish?

You know a majority of the Tampa Bay area is thinking just this same scenario right now. Do you make the big play and maybe surrender a run if you miss the ball, or do you play it safe and secure at least a chance to get out of the inning with no runs. There are several schools of thought here, and there might be a few more expressed by the end of today on this blog.

But the first point of this all has to be if your centerefielder was coming over to protect you if the ball did squirt out and away from you. In that case, the answer is simple. Upton basically was a bystander on the play and did not even make a motion towards rightfield before, during or after the play. The second point might be if Gross could have effectively gotten to the ball in stride before it hit the turf.

Jim Prisching / AP

On this point I am  sure he could have gotten to the ball, but it is more comfortable for a player to go back on a ball instead of come towards the infield. Just because the ball is in front of you doesn’t mean it will an easier catch for you to make. Some guys play with reckless abandon in the outfield, just like that group mentioned above. Gomes, Kapler and even Bubba Trammel would have tried to secure the brief bit of history for Shields.

Which brings me to my second point.  Did Gross just do the fundemental defensive moves and not cause more damage in the inning? First off, let’s remember that Gross is one of the better rightfielder in the American League. His arm is on par with some of the best, and his accuracy can not be taken for granted. With that in mind, the aspect of throwing action to the wind is not in his DNA.

As an ex-quarterback you know he has be drilled with the fact of ball control since a young age. Even in the game of baseball ball control, or making the right play can be viewed in many different ways. But the reality is that he did what might be considered “vanilla” or boring by some people, but it kept the runner off of second base. For that it was the right play at the right moment.

The debate will rage for a few days, or the next Rays win until it will finally begin to disappear from the Rays fan’s minds.  In my dreams last night I did not miss the ball, but if I did, would it have caused more damage than good?  Or would it have been the same result. We do not know what would have happened now, but the fact remains that with either action, the result might have just delayed the result a bit.

Everyone has been taught differently in Little League as to what to do in that situation. I was lucky enough to have good fundemental coaches’ who would of had me do the same hing as Gross did yesterday. But then I did have a Pony League coach who loved the dramatic and would have yelled because I did not leave my feet on the play.

Gail Burton / AP

Both sides will be aired on blogs and in articles in the next few days. But what you have to ask yourself is if the play was done right, or if it was a calculated move to assure the end result. So WWYD, or What Would You Do?


Rays – I think the right play was whatever would have made sense for the whole team – the team’s record – and not just the individual player. Yes – no hitters are wonderful to watch but a win would have been better.


I wish they would have gotten Sheilds some run support! It would have made the almost more memorable.


K Mcleod,
I agree totally with you.
It is so frustrating to see him have to throw almost a shutout every night to win.
His record is not a reflection of the way he has pitched this season.
Hopefully the Rays offense will get their act together before they end up without games to win for him this year.

Rays Renegade


And in the end, I think that is why Gross did not throw himself towards the ball.
Some plays just after that caused the loss, but it was the first bad moment of the day for Shields.
Gross did the right thing, but the win did not come to be.
Such is life.

Rays Renegade


I would probably grab a beer in between innings and hope for the best. LOL. A no-hitter really is the perfect storm… can’t think about it too much while it’s happening. What gets me is how often a no-hitter is broken up and then the hits/runs/walks start to pour in. You can definitely tell that some pitchers really let it get to them and once the concentration is gone, so is the game….

I’d go with the dramatic and try to make a do-or-die play on that ball – not just to save the no-hitter but to try to make the catch! But my favorite part of this post is the fact that you dreamed about it, Renegade. I dream about baseball all the time and think I’m the only one. Guess not!


There is a theory out there that the defense does deflate for a short time and odd things do happen, like bloop singles and wild errors.
Might just be the internal frustrations of seeing something like that begin to climax then come crashing down.
I know I got a sense of disappointment and lack a bit of concentration for a few minutes right after John Buck’s hit.

Rays Renegade


I keep teasing with the Rays that they should let one fan come on the field once a home stand to take BP with the team.
Not so much hitting as fielding so they can see what the lights do to a fly ball or how fast a grounder eally gets to you from the infield.
I know there are risk management issues and liabilities, but I know I would sign away to get a chance like that some time.

Rays Renegade


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