ARTICLE OF THE DAY
by Josh Spence
Remember those old "You Make The
Call" football commercials? They would re-live a scenario in a
past football game where a referee had to make a judgment call, give
you some choices and you would pick which was the right call.
Well, a situation in Saturday night's ECU-Charlotte baseball game
reminded me of one of those commercials when it presented a nearly
East Carolina was carrying a 6-0 lead into the top half of the ninth
inning and Ricky Brooks had been on the mound for the Pirates for the
entire game. Not only was he working on a complete game shutout
of the 49ers, Ricky had yet to allow a hit. Brooks retires the
first two in the ninth. Then, with two outs Adam Willard swings
and hits the ball on the ground to the right of shortstop Dale
Mollenhauer. Dale turns and goes after the ball with everything
he's got and as he tries to backhand it, the ball squirts off the side
of his glove and rolls into left field. Hit or error, you make the call.
The decision actually fell into the hands of East Carolina Director of
Media Relations Tom McClellan. First of all, I am not agreeing,
nor disagreeing with the call, what do I know? I am merely
acknowledging the guts and integrity it took to make what Tom felt was
the right call. "It wasn't a routine play, the ball was sharply
hit," Tom said. With an entire press box full of media in
agreement, that "H" showed up on the scoreboard.
Either way you look at it, someone would disagree. If it was a
hit obviously the Pirate fans, Ricky Brooks and Coach Mazey would be a
little upset that the no-hitter was done. But what if they called
it an error? Sure some would agree and think nothing of it, but
there would be those who disagreed. The possibility of Charlotte
coaches, fans and media talking about the home cooking at ECU could
question the credibility of the official scorer. That's a lot of
weight to put on one person's shoulders when having to make a quick
decision on the spot.
More than that, McClellan had plenty of reason to want the
no-hitter. "Who wouldn't want it from our standpoint," said
McClellan. As director of Media Relations, part of Tom's job is
to glorify ECU sports in the eyes of the nation. "Think of the
recognition in Baseball America and other college baseball publications
around the country. The easy thing would have been to be a
'homer' and let it go," McClellan said. "But that is unethical,
and it's not how we do things at ECU."
Brooks struck out the final batter to emphatically finish his complete
game, one-hit shutout. For his efforts, Ricky Brooks was named
Conference USA pitcher of the week.
No-hitter or not, Pirate fans in attendance saw one of the best
pitching performances in recent memory, and here's hoping we see many
more like it!