Designated HitterOctober 15, 2005
What Was Josh Paul To Do?
By Bert Blyleven

After watching the instant replay, in game two of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night of A.J. Pierzynski striking out, I thought, as I'm sure a lot of viewers did, that it was the third out of the inning and the Angels and the White Sox were headed into extra innings.

Then one of the strangest things happened that I have ever seen. Home plate umpire, Doug Eddings, who made the out call by raising his right hand and making the fist sign, allowed Pierzynski to be safe at first. As long as I pitched in the Major Leagues, I too would have thought that when Eddings raised his right hand that that meant that it was a strikeout and my catcher caught the ball in the air without having to touch the batter to guarantee the final out of the inning. But I guess not?

Give Pierzynski a lot of credit though because, as he said, he thought the ball hit the dirt. He crossed home plate heading back to the dugout and then spun around and ran to first base as the Angels catcher, Josh Paul, rolled the ball toward the mound. By the time the Angels players could react to the NOW live ball Pierzynski was safe at first. And wouldn't you know it, Pablo Ozuna, pinch running for Pierzynski, stole second and scored the winning run on Joe Crede's single off the left field fence. Wow, what a finish!

This was a play that would probably go unnoticed during the regular season BUT this is for the American League Championship! I feel that Eddings blew the call which allowed the White Sox to win. But it was a must win for the White Sox because now the series is tied at one apiece as the two teams head to Anaheim or Los Angeles, or wherever the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim call home.

The same can be said about the Houston Astros beating the St. Louis Cardinals last night in the must win. Now their series is tied at one apiece and they continue the National League Championship Series in Houston. Great pitching performance by Houston's Roy Oswalt helped the Astros win game two.

I had the opportunity to pitch in three League Championship series and it's where every player who ever wore a Major League uniform wants to be in October.

My prediction is that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will be facing the Houston Astros to determine the 2005 World Series Championship and the Houston Astros will win their first ever pennant. They will win because of their outstanding pitching staff and timely hitting.

Let's see how smart I am. Whatever happens, let's just all enjoy the games and remember how many strange things have to happen to allow a team to be World Champions.


Burt has a beard

Bert, I would love to see you diagram the Josh Paul play on your teleprompter.

this is were instant replay should be used..maybe not every play but the ones that are questionable..and that one was..and the umpire knew he missed it..he should of asked for help.. didn't think that the ball hit the ground right after he swung! What he says now is simply a recreation in his current mind what he thinks that he thought at the time. BUT, at the point that he swing and missed, he shook and lowered his head, probably dropped a few choice words, and began to step toward his dugout. In this process, he turned to see Paul's glove near the ground and, for whatever reason, decided to run to 1B. has every right to run to 1B, even after Eddings made the fist/out sign. Nonetheless, he was out. I'm not an Angels fan and (as a Giants fan) I can't stand as a player (yes, and I think that he's a jerk personally, that's true). However, the real problem here, as many have noted, was Eddings.

Lots of close calls and bad breaks for the Angels in this series, but Chicago still outplayed them over the 5 games.

PS - You belong in the HOF Bert.
PS#2 - I still have your autograph from autograph day at Met stadium, under the left field stands, in 1974.

All I have to say is............ 60 shutouts!!