I don't know what the heck a rulebook expert like Bobby Valentine would have made out of what just happened in Atlanta. I don't know what the rulebook even says regarding a mess like that. But sometimes the best thing to do is put the rulebook aside and work it out like 12-year-olds would have — eventually — on the sandlot.
Which is what — eventually — happened.
1. OK, the ball was trapped. Bad call by Bruce Dreckman.
2. OK, Angel Pagan clearly passed Ryan Church on his way to a cancelled rendezvous between his foot and home plate.
3. OK, but Church had to stop and tag up once Dreckman's fist went up. He can't first assess whether random baserunners are speeding past his position.
And so … you could … but then again … and how about … You know what? Atlanta, get back on the field. Met runners, come here. Not you, Church — you go home. Pagan, you go stand on third. And we're not gonna talk about it anymore. Play ball already. I SAID WE'RE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT IT ANYMORE!
You know what? Fair enough.
I'm only left with one question: Why do you never see both managers talking something over with the umpires? Would Cox and Randolph automatically start spitting on each other or come to blows? Aren't the arguments they'll make the same whether or not the other guy's in attendance? And isn't the explanation the same for both of them?
Ah, the mysteries of baseball.
Update: Tomorrow's Santana-Smoltz, shades of Pedro-Smoltz three years ago. All I'd like to commit to memory about today's crapfest is the promise of the game coming tomorrow, which I suppose kind of says it all.