Printer Friendly

HOW 'BOUT THAT AT-BAT? CORA'S 18-PITCH BATTLE GROWS BIGGER A DAY LATER.

Byline: Tony Jackson Staff Writer

With each ball that Alex Cora fouled off in his epic, 18-pitch at-bat against Chicago's Matt Clement on Wednesday night, the hyperbole grew.

By Thursday morning, it had reached a crescendo, lending a mythical quality to a plate appearance that finally ended when the Dodgers second baseman got a hanging slider from Clement and deposited it into the bullpen in right field.

``It was the best I have ever seen, at-bat-wise,'' said Dodgers hitting coach Tim Wallach, who made his major-league debut as a player in 1980. ``I can't remember anything close to that.''

``It was as fine an at-bat as I have ever seen,'' said Dodgers manager Jim Tracy, who has been around professional baseball since 1977.

Whether or not it was the longest at-bat in major-league history, the major league's official keeper of records, the Elias Sports Bureau, doesn't know because it says it doesn't keep such records.

Some long-time baseball observers claim that Nellie Fox might have once had a 25-pitch at-bat, or that Richie Asburn or Rico Carty could have had one as long in the '50s or '60s. Dodgers coach Manny Mota told MLB.com he once fouled off 13 pitches against St. Louis reliever Al Hrabosky with a 3-2 count before drawing a walk.

The situation again: Jason Grabowski, who had just drawn the only walk Clement would issue all night to open the seventh inning, was on first base. Cora remembered most of the details of the at-bat, which lasted 13 minutes, 56 seconds.

``The first pitch was a fastball for a ball,'' he said. ``Then a slider for a strike, then another fastball for a ball to make it 2-1. I remember that one because I was looking to hit-and-run on that pitch.

``After that, I fouled off a slider. And then another foul, and then another foul. I remember a two-seamer that I fouled off the other way and a slider outside that I almost hit over the bag.''

In all, Cora fouled off 14 consecutive pitches, 13 of them with two strikes, before finally ending the suspense with his second home run of the season. The two-run blast stretched the Dodgers' lead to 4-0 in a game they eventually would win by that score.

Perhaps the most amazing part is that Grabowski hadn't dug a trench in the dirt around first base by constantly moving between the bag and the spot where he took his lead.

``Grabowski was very pleased that wasn't a 3-2 count (with two outs),'' said Tracy, referring to the fact that all runners who potentially can be forced at the next base always break in that situation.

The fact there never was a 3-2 pitch was a credit to Clement. The entire at-bat was a credit to Clement, almost as much as it was a credit to Cora. The 18 pitches to Cora accounted for 17.3 percent of Clement's six-plus inning total of 104. After Cora's home run, Cubs manager Dusty Baker immediately came to remove Clement.

``The amazing thing was, he just kept making good pitches,'' Wallach said. ``That's not to say a couple of those pitches weren't balls, but they were good enough pitches that they were tough pitches to lay off. It would have been great to see a couple of at-bats like that early in the game to get his pitch count up.''

Rick Monday, who played 19 major-league seasons and is in his 11th season as a Dodgers broadcaster, was in awe of how Cora's at-bat took on a life of its own in Dodger Stadium.

``I thought it was hysterical,'' Monday said.

``If you go back and reflect on what was reflected in the stadium, it was like, 'OK, it's another at-bat. It's Alex Cora.' Another foul ball. Another foul ball.

``At about six or seven, people are saying, 'another foul ball.' Then nine and 10. Now everybody is watching every foul ball. Now everybody is breathing in unison. As soon as the ball was hit foul, you could hear the entire stadium react.

``I was amazed. A couple of them were outstanding pitches. It was truly an amazing at-bat. Then you top if off with a home run. How can you top it off with a home run?''

Staff Writer Jill Painter contributed to this report.

Tony Jackson,(818)713-3675

tony.jackson(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

6 photos, box

Photo:

(1 -- 6 -- color) 18 PITCHES - 13 MINUTES, 56 SECONDS - 14 CONSECUTIVE FOULS - ONE HOME RUN

Box:

DODGERS vs. CINCINNATI

- Jill Painter
COPYRIGHT 2004 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 14, 2004
Words:759
Previous Article:FISH AND SWISH FINAL IMPROBABLE BASKET PUTS LAKERS UP 3-2.
Next Article:GLAUS MAY BE OUT FOR A WHILE.


Related Articles
DODGERS NOTEBOOK: DODGERS PLEASED WITH CORA'S PLAY.
DODGERS NOTEBOOK: WHITE'S STATUS UNSURE.
DODGERS NOTEBOOK: WHATEVER IT TAKES, SAYS GRUDZIELANEK.
FOR DODGERS, IT'S NOT USUAL SUSPECTS DODGERS 7, PHILADELPHIA 6.
LO DUCA HAS A BLAST DAAL PITCHES CLUTCH GAME DODGERS 1, SAN DIEGO 0.
CORABORATING EVIDENCE BIG 2002 VERIFIES HIS VALUE TO DODGERS.
IZTURIS IS NO LIABILITY AS LEFTY SHORTSTOP DELIVERS CLUTCH HIT IN VICTORY DODGERS 3, PITTSBURGH 2.
CORA FOULS OFF THEN TEES OFF HOMER LIFTS ALVAREZ, DODGERS DODGERS 4, CHICAGO 0.
NCAA SOFTBALL: UCLA WALKS OFF WITH WIN THREE-RUN HOMER BY LEGASPI IN SEVENTH CAPS BRUINS' RALLY UCLA 5, ALABAMA 2.
DODGERS NOTEBOOK: CORA PROVES HE CAN HIT A BIT.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters