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What Would Bob Feller Do?
by Robb Hoff
June 19, 2012
No one will mistake Sean Marshall for Bob Feller for a variety of reasons, but with Indians journeyman Aaron Cunningham facing the Reds lefty set-up man in the bottom of the 9th of a deadlocked 1-1 game with a full count, the question still beckons:
What would Bob Feller do?
Page 30 of Feller's tutorial tome: "How To Pitch" from The Barnes Sports Library states:
"As a general rule, the fastball is more effective when it is high. This is the natural place for it and the ball is more likely to "take off", meaning to rise"
But if Feller had the dying quail of a curveball that Marshall can uncork, I suspect he'd nod in approval from Baseball Heaven of the nasty one that Marshall spun to strike out a frozen Cunningham looking.
After a lead-off double by Reds pinch-hitter Willie Harris in the top of the 10th put the Tribe on their heels, a terrible bunt by Reds SS Zack Cozart and an even-worse, absolutely unnecessary hook slide by Harris into third base evokes a textbook rendition of a textbook play, once again pulled from Feller's tome for hurlers young and older alike:
"If the ball is bunted deep into the diamond toward the box, it may be fielded and thrown with a half twist from left to right."
Joe Smith put Feller's testament into motion and threw out Harris at third, but unfortunately for the Tribe and their fans in search for some measure of self-respect in the quest that is the Battle For Ohio, Indians manager Manny Acta decided to pull Smith in favor of lefty Nick Hagadone and his unFeller-like 4.98 ERA to face Reds one-man demolition crew Joey Votto.
The abridged version (of this article, not Feller's book) reads like this:
"The Reds score the go-ahead run in the 10th on a Hagadone wild pitch".
The bottom of the 10th, you may ask?
Well, let us return to the passage cited from Feller's classic (the one about the heat rising, not how to field a bunt).
Aroldis Chapman -- verily proclaimed The Cuban Missile -- brought his heat of the hovering 100 mile per hour variety.
After a lazy fly ball, a sharp single by Indians venerable right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, and then a 3-1 count to Tribe shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, the ghost of Bob Feller may have been lurking in Cleveland on this Tuesday night:
"Early in my career I adopted an attitude toward winning or losing which I still maintain.
"I can throw as hard as he can hit and I can get him out oftener than he hits me."
But for The Cuban Missile on this night, Cabrera made him eat Bob Feller's words with one crack of the bat to the opposite field and the Indians prevailed 3-2.