Early in the 7th inning, Brewers catcher hit a short in-field grounder to Pedro Alvarez at third base. As he fielded the ball, Pedro looked for a moment at the ball, and then threw it at full speed towards the first baseman. Rather than zip across the diamond, the ball sputtered, fluttered, bounced and ultimately rolled to Gaby Sanchez allowing Martin Maldonado an easy hit. The crowd, including me, was very confused at how Pedro could have made such a terrible throw on a routine fielding play. After the play, the umpire held up the ball and revealed the problem: despite only hitting an in-field single, Maldonado had actually hit the cover off the ball on one quarter making it impossible to field and throw properly. The ball now had a tail which fluttered in the wind and made it falter instantly. While I'm sure this as happened in baseball history before, it's usually only on home runs or fly-outs. The announcers said this was one of the first times they'd ever seen anything quite like it.
This morning, the sports radio stations were all abuzz about what should have happened. Many were angry that Maldonado was credited with a hit, and felt there should have been a rule in these situations. After all, there was really nothing any of the Pirate infielders could have done differently. A ball with a ripped cover simply can't be thrown across the field at an appropriate speed to make the play. Many of the radio hosts mentioned that often it takes an incident, such as this, for changes to be made to the system. Rules are fluid and bend in order to meet exceptions. While there hasn't been an official word yet, it will be interesting to see if last night was a game-changer.
If there's one thing humans love to do, it's try to predict the future. Sadly, they're often completely shocked when something unexpected happens simply because it's never happened before. If a stock has performed well for years, it's "impossible" for it to be a bad bet. If you've never had a heart attack in your life, it means you can eat whatever you want because nothing will happen. If you've never gotten a ticket for parking illegally in the past, it's "impossible" that it will happen today. And yet, while the past can offer a valid frame of reference, the past actually has no effect on the future. What happened before, no matter how many times cannot effect what will happen tomorrow. Some view this as scary, and to a degree it is. It means no matter what we've done to this point, the future is still completely unknown. Others see this as opportunity, tomorrow is a chance to do something new. It's easy to allow ourselves to inhabit a world that's been previously constructed. It takes a game-changer to realize that this "constructed" world was actually built by people who were not contented with the world constructed for them. They built their own world. Will you?