The Blame Game – Building Narratives
It’s been five days since the Torment of Toronto. Five days since Elvis Andrus was a little league shortstop. Five days since Sam Dyson was the Miami Marlins version of Sam Dyson again. Five days since Jose Bautista became Rangers Enemy #2 (no one will ever replace David Freese as #1).
It’s been five days since we last cared that baseball was still happening.
I don’t know about you, but I had to take a hiatus. I’ve watched all of about four innings since last Wednesday and not because I’ve been crazy busy, but because I just didn’t want to. I stayed away from social media, and I’ve tried to avoid any baseball talk with my coworkers, family and friends – for good reason.
The 7th inning took 53 minutes according to Matt Hicks and Eric Nadel on the radio broadcast. Nadel described the inning this way:
Regarding the first Elvis error on the ball hit up the middle:
That’s a play Elvis makes in his sleep!
Regarding the Mitch Moreland low throw to Elvis on the next play:
Moreland makes that play better than anyone in our league!
Regarding the Elvis dropped ball at 3rd on the bunt – the next play:
AND ELVIS DROPS THE BALL! He simply dropped the baseball!
Then Rougned Odor misplayed a popup and soon after that, Jose Bautista happened to Sam Dyson.
Dyson had been unhittable since his first outing in Texas. His appearances were book ended by home runs however and the latter one being the most costly.
The biggest takeaway from that inning is that nearly everyone, not EVERYONE, but nearly everyone immediately started blaming Elvis Andrus for the loss, and the season being over.
I admit, I was angry with Elvis. We all were and that is justifiable. But let’s get one thing straight right now, Andrus was not the SOLE reason the Rangers lost that series or that game. It’s easy to blame Andrus, I get it but if you know anything about team sports, you know that is not true.
Yes, Elvis himself came out and took blame for it. What else do you realistically expect him to say? It wasn’t his fault? You expect him to say “Mitch’s throw was too low for me to handle, not my fault” or ” Hamels distracted me on the ball up the middle, he should’ve just fell down and got out of the way”.
No. He’s not throwing anyone under the bus. He’s going to take his lumps.
For those of you who still want to blame Elvis, remember the Rangers had a 2-0 series lead heading back to Arlington. Jeff Banister chose to start two average left handers against a team that demolished lefties during the regular season. Martin Perez and Derek Holland are not on the same level as Cole Hamels. You don’t feel the same confidence about them when you trot them out there as you do a guy like Hamels.
Had Colby Lewis started Game 4, we might be prepping for Game 3 of the ALCS right now. Had Chi Chi Gonzalez buried the two out two strike pitch to Troy Tulowitzki instead of leaving up in the zone, we might have been celebrating that night in Arlington.
Had Prince Fielder decided to show up for the ALDS, had Mitch Moreland remembered to bring his lumber to the games, or had Derek Holland realized that batting practice was over, we might be writing ALCS articles instead of evaluating our offseason plans.
Did Elvis Andrus contribute to the Game 5 loss? Absolutely, without question. Did he lose the entire game on his own?
Not a chance in hell.
People choose to build their narratives around the timing of the circumstances. Had this inning happened in Game 3 or even Game 4, we may not even have this conversation. Or we would be, this time with people building their narrative around the “we should have never been to Game 5 had Elvis made those plays in Game 4!”.
People will build whatever narrative they want when they want. It’s the easy way out. It’s the blame game. Take a look at the series as a whole. There is a lot of folks to blame. Elvis Andrus isn’t the only man on the 25 man roster and he damn sure wasn’t the only man on the field that day.
Now, it’s back to the drawing board and there is a very good chance that drawing board includes Elvis Andrus next year.