By Fred Wallace
Yankee Catcher Lags 1974 Bantam
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
I played Bantam Baseball in 1974 for Manager Arnold Burgher and our top player was a guy named Todd Lalonde.
Todd was a good athlete, good enough in baseball to be our best pitcher, and when he wasn't pitching, he was the catcher.
Behind the plate, I remember Todd used to do the neatest thing; when the opposition hit a ground ball, he would do his best to outrun the hitter down the first base line....just in case there was a wild throw to first.
I got thinking about those days last week when I saw the highlights of the Yankees & Rays from Tampa Bay.
It was a tough night both ways for New York catcher Gary Sanchez.
First, with Tampa Bay's Jake Bauer on 2nd base, there was a pitch from Luis Severino that fooled Sanchez, hit him in the foot and bounced to the third base side.
In fairness, Sanchez didn't immediately know where the loose ball was, but when he did locate it, in the famous words of Larry Hockett from " Bull Durham ", he lollygagged after it, which allowed Bauer to score.
That was bad....but it got worse for Sanchez.
In the top of the 9th inning, Sanchez came to the plate with 2 out, the Yankees down by a run and the bases loaded.
Sanchez hit a feeble roller to the Rays shortstop who went for the forceout at 2nd to end the game......but Aaron Hicks hustled beat the force at 2nd......HOWEVER, Sanchez lollygagged out of the batters box towards 1st base and the Rays were able to get the final out at 1st base well before Sanchez realized what was unfolding.
The two plays gave Tampa Bay 1 run and cost the Yankees another in a game they lost 7-6.
As you can imagine, there was an explosion of outrage around baseball over Sanchez not hustling and of all the remarks that were delivered, the best came from a Little League coach, a guy like Arnold Burgher who had the 1974 Midland Bantams, who simply related to Sanchez, " Thanks for making my job easier. "
I'm Fred Wallace