“Odd Man Out”: Boxed In

Hector Astacio
Hector Astacio was the starting pitcher when Provo visited Ogden on June 22, 2002.

 

As The New York Times amply documented earlier this week, Matt McCarthy’s Odd Man Out is facing a serious credibility problem. The Times documented several inaccuracies, some of them simply mistakes about game events, others more significant because they claim certain individuals behaved in a certain way when the evidence shows they weren’t even present.

On Page 107 of the book, McCarthy details a late June game between the Provo Angels and the Ogden Raptors. Hector Astacio was the starting pitcher. McCarthy makes several claims about this game that have been questioned by the Times. Defending himself in recent days, McCarthy says the Times can’t possibly prove he was wrong about events because he didn’t give specific dates.

Well, neither we or the Times are stupid.

All one has to do is to get hold of Provo’s 2002 season schedule and do a little digging in statistical data to figure out the dates.

The game on Page 107 occurred on June 22, 2002. How do we know?

Simple. I looked up Astacio’s game-by-game record for that season. McCarthy writes they’d lost at Ogden the night before, 10-6. The box score for June 21, 2002 shows Provo lost that night 10-6 at Ogden. So June 22 is clearly the game described by McCarthy.

Here’s the box score for June 22:

                                 YTD                                   YTD
PROVO              AB  R  H BI   AVG  OGDEN              AB  R  H BI   AVG
E.Aybar SS          5  0  1  0  .407  N.Carter CF         5  1  1  1  .150
J.Sugden DH         5  1  1  0  .333  J.McClanahan LF     4  2  2  0  .444
D.Gates LF          4  0  1  0  .333  M.Mendez RF         3  4  2  1  .519
M.Perdomo RF        4  1  1  2  .444  C.Soriano RF        1  0  0  0  .333
J.Guzman CAT        4  0  0  0  .200  P.Fielder DH        3  0  1  0  .500
J.Gray 1B           4  0  1  0  .240  M.Serafini 1B       4  1  0  0  .235
J.Hancock 3B        2  0  0  0  .263  J.VandenBerg CAT    3  1  1  3  .364
W.Selmo 2B          4  0  0  0  .000  J.Eure CAT          0  0  0  0  .235
Q.Cosby CF          3  0  1  0  .350  K.Bohanan SS        4  0  0  0  .176
H.Astacio PIT       0  0  0  0  .000  P.Bell 3B           3  1  0  0  .182
K.Sisco PIT         0  0  0  0  .000  C.Crabbe 2B         3  1  2  0  .353
J.Torres PIT        0  0  0  0  .000  C.Carpenter PIT     0  0  0  0  .000
B.Barnett PIT       0  0  0  0  .000  C.Breslow PIT       0  0  0  0  .000
                                      G.Desalme PIT       0  0  0  0  .000
TOTALS             35  2  6  2        TOTALS             33 11  9  5

PROVO                0 0 0   2 0 0   0 0 0- 2
OGDEN                2 0 3   0 2 4   0 0 X-11
E--J.Hancock, H.Astacio 2, C.Crabbe, C.Carpenter. DP--PROVO 0,
OGDEN 0. LOB--PROVO 11, OGDEN 6. 2B--J.Gray (1), J.McClanahan (2).
HR--M.Perdomo (2), J.VandenBerg (1). SB--M.Mendez (3). HBP--P.Fielder.
SF--J.VandenBerg. SH--J.McClanahan.
                                                                YTD
                                 IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR     ERA
 PROVO
H.Astacio (L,0-1)               4.0   5   5   4   1   5   1    5.63
K.Sisco                         1.0   1   2   1   2   1   0   22.50
J.Torres                        2.0   3   4   3   2   1   0   12.00
B.Barnett                       1.0   0   0   0   0   1   0    0.00
 OGDEN
C.Carpenter (W,1-0)             5.0   4   2   2   2   6   1    3.38
C.Breslow                       3.0   2   0   0   1   3   0    0.00
G.Desalme                       1.0   0   0   0   2   1   0    4.91
HB--J.Torres. WP--H.Astacio 3, J.Torres, C.Breslow. PB--J.Guzman 2.
SO--J.Sugden, D.Gates 2, M.Perdomo, J.Guzman, J.Gray 3, J.Hancock,
W.Selmo, N.Carter 2, C.Soriano, M.Serafini 2, P.Bell 2, C.Crabbe.
BB--D.Gates, M.Perdomo, J.Hancock 2, Q.Cosby, M.Mendez, P.Fielder,
M.Serafini, P.Bell, C.Crabbe.
T--2:36.  A--4381

 

McCarthy tells us that Astacio gave up three runs in the first inning. As you can see, it was actually two.

No big deal, but it’s just the start of the inconsistencies.

McCarthy writes that Provo shortstop Erick Aybar made a hard tag on Ogden DH Prince Fielder to end the bottom of the second inning. “When Aybar led off,” McCarthy continues, “he was hit with a 90-mile-per-hour fastball between the shoulder blades. No one thought much of it as it was likely retaliation for a hard tag on their best player. But that all changed two innings later when Aybar was again hit with the first pitch he saw.”

Okay, time out.

Look at the box score.

Only one batter was hit by a pitch in that game, and it was Prince Fielder.

According to McCarthy, Aybar was hit the first time in the third inning, and the second time “two innings later,” which would have been the top of the fifth.

McCarthy claims that Provo manager Tom Kotchman told Astacio, “I want you to bean the leadoff hitter next inning. Do you hear me? Hit him in the ribs with the first pitch.”

Astacio took the field to begin pitching the bottom of the fifth. “We all looked on as Kennard Bibbs, an outfielder from Houston, Texas, stepped into the batter’s box,” McCarthy wrote.

Time out again.

The above box score shows that Kennard Bibbs wasn’t even in the lineup.

McCarthy wrote that Astacio defied Kotchman, threw a fastball down the middle for strike one, and was promptly lifted from the game. At least that part seems to reconcile, in that the box score shows Astacio pitched only four innings. If he came out for the bottom of the fifth and didn’t record an out, he’d be credited with only four innings.

Astacio “grabbed a bag of ice and headed for the showers,” McCarthy wrote. “When I walked into the clubhouse an inning later to use the restroom, I saw Astacio sitting alone at his locker with his head in his hands.”

Um, that would be a neat trick, because the clubhouse is nowhere near the visitors’ dugout or the visitors’ bullpen. For McCarthy to have visited Astacio in the clubhouse in the middle of the game, he would have had to run across the field to get to the entrance door which is in the left-center field fence. I would think that Kotchman and pitching coach Kernan Ronan would have questioned where he was going.

You can see this long walk for yourself. In 2005, I did a video documentary about the four-year history of the Provo Angels. Click Here to watch the video; you need Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch. At the nine-minute mark begins a segment on Ogden I shot in 2003, the year after McCarthy was in Provo. At the eleven-minute mark, you’ll see the Provo players walking after the game from the visitors’ dugout all the way out to the clubhouse in left-center field.

McCarthy writes on Page 110 that Kotchman brought in third-string catcher Brian Barnett to pitch the bottom of the eighth, with Provo down 11-2. That reconciles.

So what we have is McCarthy claiming an incident that simply didn’t happen, according to the official record.

1 Comment

I guess McCarthy is the Odd Man Out…

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

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