Friday, October 09, 2009

Enough With The Towel Excuse

Okay, there is a lot of talk about Adam Wainwrong's post-game comment that the white towels may have distracted Roy Holliday, causing him to botch what would have been the game-ending, win-clinching catch of a James Loney fly ball. Here's Wainwright's quote:

"He lost the ball in the 50,000 white towels shaking in front of his face," starting pitcher and would-be hero Adam Wainwright said. "It doesn't seem really fair that an opposing team should be allowed to shake white towels when there's a white baseball flying through the air. Dodger blue towels — how about that?"

Let's dispel this argument, once and for all.

  • 1. As Jon "Zapruder" Weisman pointed out over on Dodger Thoughts, towels were not being waved during the play, but rather, started waving after Holliday's groin shot gave us new life. I mean, let's get serious, what rational Dodger fan would be waving a towel during what would appear to be the last play of the game (besides the insane wannabe Dodger fans who insist upon standing up and doing the wave during a rally, of course)? Everyone was either watching the play unfold, or hanging their heads in sorrow, or praying for a miracle. But waving a towel? We're simple, superficial people out here in Los Angeles. We can't multitask. We weren't waving our towels.
  • 2. Homer Hankies have been part of the baseball giveaway tradition at least since the Twins won the World Series in 1987, if not earlier. And this excuse only comes up now, rather than any other time in the two decades since? Impossible.
  • 3. If the towel thing was such a good idea, Dodger fans would have been doing card stunts all year long. Instead, we're too busy hoping we get on the Kiss Cam and preparing to sing along with Don't Stop Believing. Not to mention that holding a card or waving a towel above our heads would prevent us from blackberrying our agent at the same time.

Holliday, to his credit, has not tried to put up the waving towels as an excuse. Holliday said he lost it in the lights, and he obviously feels terrible. And any rational Cardinals fan can't really come down too hard on Holliday, whose addition to the team late in the year basically propelled St. Louis to the divisional title, not to mention that his home run earlier in NLDS Game 2 put the Cardinals on the board in the first place. He botched a play, but closer Ryan Franklin let four more batters come to the plate, adding a passed ball to boot. Let's not try and defend Holliday with a bathroom fixture, and forget the real reason why the Cardinals' ship sank in Game 2.

The Cardinals won't be waving (or throwing in) the towels for Game 3, either literally or figuratively. So let's just hang up these implausible towel excuses once and for all.


rbnlaw said...

Whatever you do, do not mispronounce "card stunts" ala, "cunning runts," or "cunning stunts."

You have been warned.

Josh S. said...

I don't want to hear any more about towels until the Cards have thrown theirs in.

Josh S. said...

"Shadows, Towels, and Nuts: The Story of Game 2 of the 2009 National League Division Series"

Pre-order on Amazon now!

koufax said...

wainwright was just bitter and was searching for an excuse. i would have been pretty bitter as well he pitched a marvelous game. however, as it turns out, i am quite the opposite of bitter today.

Kyle Baker said...

So here I am on my way up to SF for the weekend. (Mrs. Dusty-in-law is driving the Ravinemobile, I'm shotgun, and Mrs. Dusty is reading scripts in the back). Thanks to Verizon mobile broadband for internet access on the 5! ANyway, I have MLB XM radio Home Plate tuned in, and have been just about to start meltin' caps with all these people calling in and whining about the towels. Finally, in a fit of desperation, I jumped on the internets and headed over to SoSG right away. Lo and behold, the first post is a towel post dispelling the notion of towels being a factor! Excellent post, Saxy. I think you should have been the one to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

One thing I'd add is that last night I watched the post-mortem on the game and one of the shows had a slo-mo version of the Holliday non-catch. One can easily see that Holliday actually DID see the ball; you can see that his eyes were focusing directly onto something coming into the picture (one would assume the ball, and not a meteorite or seagull). One can see his eyes watching the ball into the glove, only not the last part. If he would have lost it in the lights, his eyes would have been darting to and fro.

To Holliday's credit, he hasn't done the whining. Whineright has. He needs to shut his punk ass up already.

Alex Cora coming up on MLB Homeplate, so I'mma catch that.

Dusty, out...

rbnlaw said...

Where are you staying in SF? I suggest checking out Harry Harrington's in the Tenderloin. As divey as a dive bar can be with lots of Irish all around.

Kyle Baker said...

RB- Staying in Hotel Triton. Not convinced I can drag the missus to a dive bar, hard as I might bed and plead.

rbnlaw said...

Where's the Triton? Market Square?
(that's where I litterally almost ran into JP).

Good drinking establishments in the Upper Richmond.

Kyle Baker said...

Near Union Square and Chinatown.

Steve Sax said...

rbnlaw: an in-depth analysis of the Hotel Triton can be found in this thread (check around 6pm).

Kyle Baker said...

Maybe I'll run into Miguel Cabrera!

Kyle Baker said...


THX! I was *this close* to emailing you to help remind me what thread that was located in. I made a mental note at the time, but clearly that brain cell is long gone now. I was going to have to go back thread by thread to find it! (the info not the brain cell)

koufax said...

this quote from matt kemps blog probably doesnt help dispell the towel excuse:

"Ninth inning, we thought we had a chance. We got to their bullpen and got it done. I gotta say, the ball off Loney's bat, I thought it was over. But you never know, with all the towels waving. It was tough to see off the bat out there".

Maybe he was just being nice, although he misjudged a ball in game 1 as well.

Steve Sax said...

@koufax, can you source the quote please (i.e., the article in which it ran)?

LLCoolL said...

It's here:

koufax said...

sure thing, its kemps playoff blog on

the "nothing we do surprises me" entry.

rbnlaw said...

I remember that thread, but never checked back. I always stay at the Phoenix in the Tenderloin (aka: the rock and roll hotel). Most touring acts stay there asit is also close to Moscone Center. At Harry Harrington's, one of the Irish bartenders told us the story of the night Shane McGowan and the rest of the Pogues came in.

The may have stayed open a little later than legal that night.

rbnlaw said...

A run down of bars that I like in SF (based on the music they play and atmosphere.
Lucky 13 (with Sax on that)
Tommy's Joynt (really sort of a cafeteria, but Metallica used to eat there everyday)
C.Bobby's Owl Tree (recently re-opened)
The Fireside
And a bunch in upper Richmond that I was too drunk to remember the names of.
I've also heard good things about the Financial District.

Steve Sax said...

I've never done Tommy's Joynt, though it's hard to miss. I'll have to try it now; thanks rbnlaw.

Kyle Baker said...

"And a bunch in upper Richmond that I was too drunk to remember the names of."

Those sound like they were the best ones!

Kyle Baker said...

I'm picturing Metallica sitting around eating in a cafeteria with a bunch of blue-haired ladies, elbowing them aside for the last plate of Jello.

Nostradamus said...

@rbnlaw from 11.20a


rbnlaw said...

@Mr. C,
You are a cunning linguist.

Once you visit Tommy's that image will be dispelled forever. Good brisket sandwiches, ice cold beer.

As much as I hate their team, I do love time in the Bay Area.

rbnlaw said...

Almost forgot my all-time favorite SF bar, The Toronado on Upper Haight.
Tiny bar next to a place that serves great sausages.
Something like 200 beers and some barley wine on tap.

Kyle Baker said...

Saxy! I rolled right up in the hoopty to the parking garage you recommended - you nailed it! With the $12 I saved I'll have to snag a beer for you at the next game (and kick in another $1 to make it a nice tall boy of premium).

Thx for the advice. Now to rest then go catch some playoff baseball. Appreciate all the bar advice - I'll run it all through my liver-decider and see where it all lands.

Kyle Baker said...

RB said:

"As much as I hate their team, I do love time in the Bay Area."

So one might say, soccer/football chant style:

"Love your city, hate your team!"

RobCF said...

Anyone notice the Cards handed out white towels at their first home game? I have to assume they didn't order 50,000 towels up on 24 hour notice. Get over it. He just missed the catch.