BY GORDON WITTENMYER
Hard to believe we had to go out of the country to find him, but with still half a season of road games left, we feel confident in honoring Toronto’s Doug Hobbs as the 2008 Sun-Times Cubs Blog Worst Official Scorer in Baseball.
Or at least the most egregious home-team butt-kisser we’ve seen.
In one inning Saturday, Hobbs blew two calls that had larger ramifications on the game – then later backtracked on both, fixing one and screwing up the other.
The one he eventually got right came in the bottom of the second when Rod Barajas drove a two-out pitch deep to center field, with Jim Edmonds arriving in plenty of time but doing his patented, nonchalant basket-catch thing – and dropping the ball.
First it was ruled a double but changed, correctly, to an error an inning later. At the time it looked big because Jason Marquis carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
The other call was an error on Jays shortstop David Eckstein that robbed Ronny Cedeno of an RBI single. It was a lunging, sprawling play to Eckstein’s left that the shortstop probably made look more difficult than it was.
It’s at least debatable whether it was an error or a hit, but the worst part about it was how the scorer handled it. Having initially ruled the two-out play a hit, Hobbs waited until Reed Johnson followed with a three-run homer, and the Jays PR staff got in his ear, to overturn his initial ruling – the effect of which was to turn what would have been four earned runs against Toronto ace Roy Halladay into all unearned runs.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella, usually not one to comment about such things, brought up the Cedeno play without being asked. ``That’s a base hit,’’ he said. ``I know scorekeepers try to be influential with the home players, but that’s got to be a base hit. The guy is fully extended. I thought he made a nice play just getting to it.’’
The Cubs might even look into whether it can be appealed.
Anyway, here’s to Doug Hobbs, winner of the 2008 STCBWOSB Award.