Clayton Kershaw’s near-perfect play represents the classic fan conflict of interest
When Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Clayton Kershaw seven innings into a perfect game, it sparked all-too-familiar debates surrounding baseball. In reality, the argument isn’t that complicated — it’s just one thing fans don’t want to hear.
Two innings were between Kershaw and a lifetime of memories. His Hall of Famer resume lacks the perfect game division, though he came close in 2014 by throwing a no-hitter minus an error from then-infielder Hanley Ramirez.
On Wednesday, the veteran left-hander was pulled from a perfect game after throwing just 80 pitches. It sparked the classic argument – analytics vs. entertainment. Team success vs. individual history. Overmanagement vs. the human element. The list goes on.
Nolan Ryan once threw 235 pitches against the Red Sox. Three days later he served and won his start. Ray Caldwell was struck by lightning on a start in 1919 and still finished. Just 17 days later, he hit a no-hitter in New York. These stories live on in baseball lore.
Dodgers: Dave Roberts robbed Clayton Kershaw, fans of MLB history
Kershaw’s will not. Roberts has made this a habit, previously at Rich Hill. If it hurts the Dodgers’ chances of winning a World Series — or even poses a slight threat — Roberts isn’t about it. In theory it makes sense. The end goal is to win the Commissioners’ Trophy, right?
But baseball is unique in that sense. In 20 years, we won’t remember who won the World Series in, say, 2010. But we will remember Armando Galaragga’s perfect 28-a-side game, stolen from him by first-base umpire Jim Joyce.
Sandy Koufax is still considered the only Dodgers pitcher to ever throw a perfect game. The Dodgers legend’s individual accomplishments live on almost 60 years later, not because he won the World Series in 1955, 1959, 1963 and 1965, but because he is a former NL MVP, seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young winner is . Kershaw will similarly be remembered far more for his individual achievements than for his team’s success.
Dave Roberts’ decision to pull Clayton Kershaw off has its merits
Dodgers and baseball fans were robbed of history by Roberts. But this is where the conflict comes in. It’s literally in Roberts’ job description to think in the present tense.
If Kershaw’s throw over his pitch count increases his risk of injury, it’s Roberts’ job to account for that.
If Kershaw suffered an elbow injury late last season, it’s Robert’s job to take that into account.
If the MLB lockout pitchers screw up from their usual prep time before the start of the regular season, it’s Roberts’ job to account for that.
If no MLB pitcher has thrown more than 96 pitches this season for any reason, it’s Roberts’ job to account for that. Do you sense a theme here?
Even Dodgers fans know Dave Roberts made the right choice
Jason Reed, FanSided Dodgers fan and LA Sports Hub site expert, was kind enough to offer a measured fan opinion on Robert’s controversial decision. With a day to think, he understands:
“The immediate reaction as a fan was disappointment, not only at being robbed as a fan of the story, but also at Kershaw being robbed. If anyone deserves the right to be selfish and play a perfect game despite a pitch count, it’s Clayton Kershaw. That being said, Kershaw himself supported the post-game decision, with Dave Roberts also saying that Kershaw himself said he wanted to finish with 80-85 pitches. Kershaw struggled with an arm problem last season and didn’t return to bowling until January. After a day of reflection, I think there is more disappointment that this amazing game came in a short spring in its first launch of the year, as opposed to a June launch where it could have gone the distance.
Managers are not fans. You are forced to stay within limits and think with reason, not emotions. For lack of better terminology, it’s a shame Roberts doesn’t have the crystal ball needed to ensure some 20 extra pitches don’t put Kershaw at further risk of injury. But that’s why he’s a World Series Champion and also why the Dodgers have yet to leave him.
He doesn’t care what the fans think. The individual history does not interest him. He takes care of the men in his clubhouse and whatever it takes to be the last team in October.
If the Dodgers achieve that goal, then he’s been right all along.
https://fansided.com/2022/04/14/clayton-kershaw-perfect-game-conflict-dodgers/ Clayton Kershaw’s near-perfect play represents the classic fan conflict of interest