tonight, on April 2, 2014, during the night game of a doubleheader against the Athletics, Michael Brantley started the game as the left fielder. as we got to the 6th inning, Tito decided to pinch hit for center fielder Nyjer Morgan, making Ryan Raburn the batter. once we got to the bottom of the 6th inning, a defensive switch was made: Raburn went to left and Michael slid over to center. i did not like that at all because i selfishly knew this substitution was going to make my April blog breakdown more complicated lol
after 1 out in the bottom of the 7th, Josh Donaldson hits a routine fly ball to left-center field. somehow, communication failed to occur between Michael and Raburn. they both held their gloves up to catch the ball, their gloves smacked into each other and the ball dropped. Michael was then charged with the error. Hammy said the error could have been charged to either guy, but i assume it went to Michael because he's the CF, otherwise known as the "captain" of the outfield. and because the center fielder is the captain, in that particular situation, any other outfielder is supposed to give way to the CF to catch the ball, whether there's communication or not. i am not being a Brantley homer here, 3 other Tribe writers have tweeted the same thing tonight.
this photo shows Michael actually had the ball in his glove, and Raburn caused Michael to drop it when his glove smacked into Michael's:
|photo courtesy of Indians.com|
i could blame this on a lot of things. i could blame it on the stupid rainout in Oakland on April 1, causing this day-night doubleheader to occur in the first place. i could blame it on Tito, who so early in the season felt like fumbling with the batters and using pinch hitters in the 6th inning of a game. i could blame it on Raburn, for trying to show off out there in left. i could blame it on the scorekeeper, for picking the wrong guy to give the error to. hell, i could even blame this on Bourn because he's out hurt again. all i know is, right now my heart is so sad for Michael. he had a full errorless season last year, along with 11 OF assists, and wasn't even considered in the discussion for a Gold Glove. he probably won't be considered this year now, so soon after things just got started.
adding insult to injury, Donaldson ended up scoring the go-ahead run for the Athletics at that time. i am sure Michael feels terrible, as do i. i don't know how long he will dwell on it, but i won't sleep easy tonight. being the #1 Brantley fan that i am, i'm taking it as though I made the error =(
so the new Cleveland Indians franchise record for most errorless games played stands at 247 consecutive games. Michael accomplished this feat from June 5, 2012-April 2, 2014. that's still one hell of a record. and it's still going to be a very tough record for any future Indian to break. but if not for this cruel twist of fate, a rare day-night doubleheader in the city of Oakland, Michael could have made this record even longer.
making it worse for me is the fact that i don't even have time to deal with this. i am writing this blog while the game is still going on and as soon as it's done i have to go to bed so i can get up early and head up to Cleveland. i won't sleep well tonight, and there will be tears. i still love ya Brant, but this is gonna hurt for a while.
postgame edit: on a happier note, Michael's clutchness continued tonight. he didn't let that error affect him mentally at the plate because in the top of the 9th, he hit a 2-run single, giving the Indians the lead that they would not relinquish. still doesn't erase the error though lol =(
and new light has been shed on the situation. in a postgame article that i read, it was stated that Michael DID in fact call for the ball. so now the blame is fully on Raburn, and i'm even more pissed that my boy was charged with the error.
but while i was sick and in tears over the whole thing, Michael took a more mature approach.
After the game, Brantley dismissed the end of his errorless streak to reporters by saying, "That's an individual goal. We don't teach individual goals around here. It's all about team effort."
Then he credited his teammates for getting on base, so he had a chance to win the game.
credit to Terry Pluto for his nice article on Brantley.
i know Michael is not putting on here, but still, when you go THAT LONG without an error, and are in the middle of re-setting a historic record, it has to hurt just a little bit. and if it truly does not bum him out just a teeny, tiny bit, then maybe it's cause he doesn't understand the record's significance. look, i'm glad Michael's a team player, but this was something that hadn't been done since the days of Rocky Colavito. it was kind of a big deal. it shouldn't necessarily just be brushed off the shoulder. it is okay to be sad that the new streak is over. at least that's what i keep telling myself lol
so what's done is done. i am very thankful that Michael broke Rocky's record and tacked on 35 consecutive games to the new franchise record. and who knows, maybe Michael will get to 247 errorless games again someday, and break his own record. if anyone can do it, he can ;D