There’s an infamous baseball idiom that followed Manny Ramirez throughout his career: “That’s Manny being Manny.”
Dubious but logical.
In regards to Tuesday night’s extra-inning collapse by the Giants, it seems more appropriate to say: “That’s Andres being Manny.”
One important caveat to the latter – other than it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it – is that Andres Torres is in fact not Manny Ramirez.
While obvious, it seems necessary to make the point, as there were a couple of moments amid the Giants’ 6-4 loss to the Diamondbacks in 11 innings, that Torres seemed to believe himself to be a prima donna power hitter. And the problem was hardly his hitting into a double play in the 11th inning.
The obvious mistake came with the game tied in the top of the 11th when Torres fielded a hit off the bat of Didi Gregorius. With the Giants playing a deep outfield set, the D-Backs’ rookie shortstop hit a lazy fly ball to the left-center gap that fell in front of Torres. As Torres caught it flat-footed, he inexplicably hesitated in throwing the ball back to the infield. Gregorius exploited the window of opportunity by hustling into second base for a game-changing double. An infield error (on a would-be double-play grounder) and a wild pitch later, Gregorius scored the go-ahead run.
That crucial mental error is the play everyone is talking about. It certainly embodies the haphazard “Andres being Manny” adage. But it isn’t the play that inspired it.
That point came in the bottom of the ninth during a three-pitch strikeout, when Torres seemed convinced he was one of the premier power hitters in the game. On the heels of Brandon Belt’s dramatic pinch-hit, two-run blast to tie it, Torres followed by hacking at two high-and-away fastballs that floated way out of the zone.
Giants fans are well aware that Torres is an adrenaline player. And when he channels that adrenaline by staying within himself at the plate, giving himself a chance to ignite the team on the basepaths, the trait is an endearing one. But Torres’ adrenaline got the best of him in a paltry at bat. Torres got caught up in trying to be a hero. And in doing so, he ended up playing the goat.
In 700+ at bats over the past two seasons, Torres has hit seven home runs. Only one of those has come at spacious AT&T Park. So someone really ought remind Torres he is not a slugger, but a doubles machine, by virtue of which there is a lot to like about Andres being Andres. But that’s not what happened Tuesday night.