Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Barney sets NL mark after a change of heart
By Doug Padilla
CHICAGO -- While all else has been lost for the Chicago Cubs, at least The Streak is still alive.
For a brief moment Wednesday night Darwin Barney's amazing run of errorless games for a second baseman appeared to end at 113, which would have left him tied with David Eckstein for the single-season National League record.
A throw to third was in question that could have given Barney his first error since April 17.
Darwin Barney broke the record for the most consecutive errorless games in a single season by a NL second baseman.
But the streak was saved and the NL record was set with a scoring change. It meant the last shred of tension-filled drama in a dreadful Cubs season was allowed to live another day.
To his credit, Barney wasn’t relishing in the NL record 114 consecutive errorless games in a single season following the Cubs’ 3-1 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers.
“It kind of sets in on a day like today but unfortunately we couldn’t win,” Barney said. “It was one of those things that when something like this happens it’s a lot easier to celebrate with a victory. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. I think I’m proud of the work that we have been able to do here and accomplish here with (infield coach) Pat (Listach) and (manager) Dale (Sveum) and those guys. Hats off to them for sure.”
Barney already has the Cubs record for consecutive errorless games in a season, passing the former record of 90 set by Ryne Sandberg to close out the 1989 season. Sandberg went on in the 1990 season to set the overall club record for a second baseman at 123 games.
Had Barney's streak ended without a reversal on the call, it would have only been fitting as the Cubs kicked the ball around so much that Jean Segura was able to score from first base on what had originally been a stolen-base attempt.
Cubs catcher Welington Castillo tried to get Segura on the steal attempt, but his throw to shortstop Starlin Castro, covering at the bag, was wide. Segura headed to third as Barney tracked down the ball.
Barney’s throw to Luis Valbuena at third base was low, but was ahead of Segura and in perfect position for Valbuena to catch it and apply the tag. The only problem was that the ball glanced off Valbuena’s glove and rolled into foul territory. Segura got up and scored on the second error of the play.
Making matters worse was that the game was slipping away despite a solid start from Jeff Samardzija, who ended up with 10 strikeouts.
Barney was originally given an error for his throw but after checking multiple replays veteran scorekeeper Bob Rosenberg changed the call to an error on Valbuena.
“I was aware (of the scoring decision) and I figured the error was mine,” Barney said. “But it’s one of those things where at that time, your thoughts are on Samardzija and doing whatever you can to help win a ballgame so when I made that throw, you walk away thinking those are the types of errors you’re willing to make at this point. I wasn’t too upset.
“It was just one of those things where they changed it. It’s not fortunate because the guy scored. You can’t be happy they changed it.”
Adding to the accomplishment is that the playing surface at Wrigley Field isn’t considered the best in the game. Barney defended the grounds crew, though.
“Let’s make that clear, they work really hard on this field,” Barney said. “Fortunately for us this is Wrigley Field so they have the opportunity to bring a lot of people here and have a lot of events. It’s hard on them to get this field ready to play every day and they work hard to do that. But the truth is, it is that field that people say that about. But it’s your baby, you say it’s the best field you’ve ever been on and just go from there. You can’t be thinking about that.”
Now if Barney can add more offense to his game -- like his eighth-inning single through the hole between third base and shortstop.
“Yeah, that probably felt better than the error getting changed to be honest,” Barney said about the hit. “I was trying to get on base and when you hit a ball like that, the way things have been going I could have sworn (Brewers third baseman) Aramis (Ramirez) was standing right there. That’s just how it’s been feeling. It was good to get a hit, a clean one that wasn’t a blooper that somebody could have caught. I just have to keep working on that and being as valuable as I can for this organization.”