Feeling Dan Uggla’s pain

Watching Florida Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla commit three errors during extra innings at Tuesday night’s All-Star Game brought back vivid memories of two games from years ago.

The first was at the scene of the All-Star Game, Yankee Stadium, on May 3, 1990 (a huge thank you to The New York Times for filling in some of the details that have become hazy in 18 years). It was an afternoon day game and, since I was in my senior year at NYU, I blew off whatever classes I might have had and took the 4 train up to the Bronx.

The Yankees had a 5-1 lead against the Cleveland Indians in the seventh inning when rookie third baseman Mike Blowers absolutely forgot how to play baseball. He made four errors in the last three innings, leading to several unearned runs and a 10-5 Cleveland victory.

So, Dan Uggla, take comfort: Your three errors — the last one, by the way, was the result of highly questionable official scoring — didn’t cost your National League team the game. The N.L. lost, but not due to Uggla.

The second game Uggla’s fielding woes brought to mind was more personal: It was a game I actually played in.

I played coed softball for many years with a company team from Scholastic, home of Clifford the Big Red Dog. At the time — probably around 1992 or 1993 — we played in a publishers’ league that played in between fields on the Great Lawn in Central Park, before that area was completely redone.

Our big rival at the time was another publishing company, Putnam. And I single-handedly cost our team the game. I played third base, made four errors that led to a bushel of unearned runs, and went 0-4 at the plate, stranding an army of base runners. A cardboard cutout would have contributed more to Scholastic’s effort that day than I did.

So again, Dan Uggla, take comfort: While a makeshift field on the Great Lawn in Central Park in front of 30 or so people (including participants) is nowhere near the stage of Yankee Stadium in front of 56,000 and millions more on TV, again, at least you didn’t cost your team the game.

Plus, you get paid a hell of a lot more than I do!

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