April 04, 2011
We all got a good chuckle when ESPN showed the clip of Pat Burrell(notes) (left) drawing a chalk outline around Dan Runzler(notes) (ground) in Dodger Stadium's right field before Sunday night's game. Pat the Bat's impromptu Banksy moment was designed to poke fun at the pair of exhausting diving catches that Aubrey Huff(notes) (inset) made during the San Francisco Giants' 10-0 win on Saturday.
Make no mistake: It was all in good fun. And in a vacuum, it was one of the funnier stunts we've seen in awhile. Huff was the Giants' first baseman until Cody Ross'(notes) injury pushed him out into the right-field pasture. A chalk outline perfectly portrayed the way he was splayed on the ground after the catches.
But as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News wrote a few hours later, the pregame prank became a lot less amusing after Sunday's game, a 7-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers that dropped the defending world champs to 1-3 on the season.
Huff misplayed two balls during the only two innings during which the Dodgers scored. He couldn't grab Marcus Thames'(notes) tiebreaking triple in the four-run seventh (video) nor could he keep Jamey Carroll's(notes) low liner in front of him (video) during the three-run first inning.
"It was slicing, it was over my head, and I didn't know what the hell was happening after that," Huff said about Thames' triple. "I'm comfortable out there, OK? I'm going to make a routine catch."
That may be. But the unpredictable route he takes to get there will cause all Giants fans to hold their breath. They could also cause Brandon Belt's(notes) spot on the roster to be a little less secure once Cody Ross returns and hiding Huff's defensive shortcomings at first base again becomes a better option.
Also, as our pal Rob Iracane points out, Burrell's field graffiti was a little awkward for reasons other than the realities of Huff's defense. With a 42-year-old Giants fan remaining in a coma after being assaulted from behind by two Dodgers fans on opening night, the sight of Burrell's chalk outline — unintended as it might have been — was still a bit sobering.
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