September 29, 2009
The paths to the postseason are always paved with a few good breaks and no one knows that quite like the Rockies. Back in 2007, Colorado earned entry after Matt Holliday(notes) scored the winning run in a tiebreaker game against the Padres. Did he touch the plate? Did he miss it? We know which answer we'll get from Holliday, but it remains rather debatable.
Two seasons later, it appears the Rockies might have received another lucky bookend with the ruling on Clint Barmes' circus catch against the Cardinals on Sunday. Though the second baseman was able to turn the over-the-shoulder barrel-roll grab into a game-ending double play, a series of photos published by Rockies fan Craig Welling later that night contains one picture (upper right) where it appears the ball hits the ground. Watch the play here.
So Rockies and fellow fans, was it the greatest catch never made?
"Only me and Barmes know the truth. It's the same as (Matt) Holliday touching home plate," outfielder Ryan Spilborghs(notes) said Monday of the controversial slide that clinched the Rockies' 2007 playoff berth. "It's better that it's (mysterious)."
Barmes could not be reached Monday, but said after Sunday's game, "It all happened so fast. . . . I think as I was going down it hit my glove and then it went across my body or something. I don't know. I know I came up with it in my bare hand."
Think fans of the fast-charging Braves or the homefield-chasing Cardinals are interested in this evidence? If the ball is ruled a drop, Julio Lugo(notes) would have scored the tying run and the Cardinals would have had runners at the corners with one out. However, the Rockies would have had one more chance at the plate, so it's not as if we can definitively say that St. Louis would have won the game and Atlanta would have crept another game closer in the NL wild card standings.
This debate sort of has a Greg Brady football feel to it, but Sunday's game will stand for Colorado's benefit. Hey, it was a fast-moving play and not even the replay angles show the ball on the ground. Baseball's history is filled with crazy breaks and it may have just gained one more.
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