David Ortiz was halfway to first base before Tim Timmons called strike one on what was as clear a ball four as an umpire can observe. He tossed his bat back to the dugout and everything. In calling the 3-0 pitch a strike, Timmons set in motion a series of events ending with David Ortiz taking his bat to the dugout phone and Dustin Pedroia diving out of the way.
The called strike was obviously a poor call. Like, obviously.
As insane as Ortiz looked during the game, he was totally calm and actually made a good deal of sense after the game.
“It was a ball that if the catcher let it go, it would have hit (Timmons) in the face," Ortiz said of pitch No. 4. "The funny thing is he wanted to act like it was the right call. No, I don’t play that. I don’t pitch, I don’t play defense, I hit. You’re not going to take my at-bat away from me. Period."
Hyperbole? Not really, watch the video again. It may have actually hit Timmons in the face if the catcher let it go. And he's got a point about the DH. That's all he has. A walk is a successful at bat. A strikeout is a failure. Tim Timmons turned David Ortiz's successful at bat into a failure and it's the only thing he gets to do in the game. There's no redemption elsewhere, just at-bats at the mercy of another man's interpretation of the murky idea of the strike zone. It gets frustrating.
People always focus on when we snap. We’re not snapping everyday out there, there’s a reason why we snap. You always look like the bad guy – I’m not a bad guy, I’m trying to do my job. You don’t take my at-bat away from me like that.’’
So, after another questionable strike call to make the count 3-2, Ortiz struck out swinging at a pitch that was also clearly ball four. But the count dictates so much in an at-bat that at that moment David Ortiz felt compelled to swing at that pitch. He was probably already on fire about the 3-0 call and if you want to say he's a professional and should have kept his composure, fine. But that phone casing is still intact and Dustin Pedroia doesn't have whiplash this morning if Timmons gets that call right.
Photo credit: Getty