From McCoy’s game story:
Clayton was a bit defensive, especially after he was booed heavily by the smallish crowd of 25,127.
“I was far away from the bag, behind the bag, and I had to get to the bag (for the force), then throw a perfect throw,” he said. “I’m not perfect.”
This is just preposterous (except for the “not perfect” part). One, Clayton was exactly three steps from the bag once he picked up that ball. I just went and re-watched it on Tivo to make sure. If he hadn’t paused for 5 minutes to stare at Phillips, he’d have had the time to make a crappy throw and let Hatteberg come down with it. Second, it was Russ Martin, the catcher, running to first – and Martin almost fell down coming out of the batter’s box. Clayton most certainly did not need to make a “perfect” throw.
Anyone who watched this game knows that Clayton’s excuses are as silly and pathetic as his performance has been lately (0 for 4, with 4 groundouts to short, tonight, including a game-ending GIDP, not to mention the bubble-blowing incident from Sunday).
When the trade went down, we all read this:
Reds manager Jerry Narron was particularly excited about picking up Clayton, a solid defensive shortstop and noted clubhouse leader whom Narron worked with in Texas.
“He’s a veteran guy [who] knows how to play the game correctly,” Narron said of Clayton. “One thing we’ve got to do to win here is to make the routine play [and] play solid defense consistently, and Royce has proven that he can do that.”
I think I’ll take Jerry Narron’s next scouting report with a grain of salt.
Note: Fay’s game story only mentions the ump’s bad call, not Clayton’s goof, the booing, or the snarly excuse. AP (via ESPN.com) has a version of the quote. The official site has a third version of the quote, and their headline writer doesn’t like Freel. On Dodgers official site, Grady Little gives Furcal (the baserunner forced at second) credit for everything.