A 2008 Error Helped the 2011 Cardinals Win the World Series

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the best kinds of butterfly effects are the ones where seemingly little events eventually lead to something big something as small as a fielding error can have huge consequences somewhere down the line in the mid 2000s one of the best pitchers in the american league was chin ming wang and a fielding error in a random 2008 game and not only altered wong’s career but the careers of many others as well before i continue remember to hit the like button if you enjoyed the video and subscribe to starcraving sports to stick around for future content also if you have your own butterfly effect you want me to cover leave it down in the comments signing with the yankees as an amateur free agent in 2000 wong made his debut in 2005 as one of the first players of taiwanese descent to play an mlb what made wong different from his peers was his ability to induce contact for outs his best season came in 2006 where he finished second in sai young voting behind johann santana these two pitchers couldn’t have been more different the stat that sticks out the most is strikeouts as santana led the league with 245 strikeouts and had the second highest case per 9 among starters wong had the lowest case per 9 and tied for the second least amount of strikeouts but like santana wong did this while pitching over 200 innings since the start of the divisional era in 1969 only six pitchers have completed a season with less than 80 strikeouts and an era plus of at least 125 in over 200 innings pitched after 1983 wong is the only pitcher to accomplish this so how did he do it his sinker this is a pitch yankee’s pitcher andy pedic called the best sinker he’s ever seen blue jay’s outfielder vernon wells said the difference between wong and other sinker ballers is that wong sinker moves so late he throws the pitch so hard that a batter doesn’t have time to react by the time you swing the ball is almost in the dirt after a successful first three seasons in mlb 27 year old wong was looking like a staple in the yankees rotation for many years to come however in mid 2008 all it took was one inning to change wong’s career forever june 15th 2008 an inter-league matchup between the yankees and astros at mid-maid park yes an inner league matchup the astros were still in the national league at this point so the pitchers had to hit after five innings of work wong had allowed six hits but no runs and the yankees were up by three runs heading into the sixth inning after singles by jorge pasada and robinson canoe and a fly out by milky cabrera wong was up to bat with one out prior to this game wong had only eight career played appearances in his first three seasons what were the results six strikeouts and no successful sacrifice hits now wong was in a position to bunt over both runners to scoring position he ended up misplacing the bunt and posada was out at third but kano moved over to second and wang was on base for only the second time in his career then with two outs the next batter johnny damon grounded the ball to shortstop miguel tejada however tahara committed a throwing error and if i’m reading the box score correctly he threw the ball to second base but it was off target in some way this error kept the ending going and now the bases were loaded for derek jeter jeter hit a single to right field which scored both cano from third and wong from second unfortunately wang was limping by the time he scored and had to be taken out of the game wang had suffered a significant foot injury and it was enough for him to be out until at least september but wang did not appear in another game until the start of the following season in 2009 yankees owner hank steinbrenner wasn’t happy saying the national league needed to join the 21st century and add the dh pitcher mike mussina said american league pitchers don’t hit or run the bases and when they do reach base you never know what’s going to happen wong came back for the start of the 2009 season but he just wasn’t the same it was clear that he wasn’t fully healthy something wong sent himself in spring training jorge posadas said the ball wasn’t moving as much and the sinker velocity was two to three miles per hour slower in his first three starts this is what wong had accomplished yeah a week after his third start wong was placed on the injured list for injuries in both hips he came back in late may as a reliever but started games again in june after six more starts wong wasn’t much better and on july 4th he left his start early with an injured right shoulder a few weeks later it was announced wong needed shoulder surgery and was out for the rest of the 2009 season after the season the yankees chose not to resign wong and he became a free agent wong went from the number one spot in the yankees rotation to not being offered a contract during arbitration in the span of two seasons because of a freak base running injury prior to the 2010 season wong signed an incentive based contract with the nationals hoping he’d be back on the mound by mid-may however after a few more updates throughout the season wang didn’t pitch at all in 2010. he ended up re-signing with the nationals for the 2011 season and after a few more months of rehab wong returned to big league action on july 29th 2011. over two years after his final start with the yankees it wasn’t a great return but it was a long awaited return nonetheless for the rest of the season wong was pitching close to his old self and he was able to end the season on a high note with his start on september 24th against the braves the only run he allowed was a freddie freeman home run but after a sixth ending start wong ended his fourth straight start without allowing a walk everything seemed to be falling into place for wong but this is where the story takes a turn prior to this game the braves month of september wasn’t looking too great they were 9 and 13 for the month with 5 games left to go and they were losing ground in the wild card race at the beginning of september the braves were eight and a half games ahead of the next best team the st louis cardinals even after winning the first game of the national series the braves were only three games ahead of the cardinals with five games left to go with wong pitching one of his best games of the season and the cardinals winning their game the braves were now only two games ahead with four games left to play while the braves had been dropping games throughout september the cardinals were experiencing their best run of the season with the braves facing the near 100 win phillies to end the season the cardinals were facing the cubs and the astros the two worst teams in the nl central the braves needed to win this series against the nationals well wang altered the braves plans in game 2 and the braves lost game 3 as well while the cardinals won with three games left to go the cardinals were only one game behind the braves the cardinals won 2 out of 3 against the astros while the braves were swept by the phillies including a brutal 13-inning loss in game 162 with this loss the cardinals qualified for the playoffs before their game even ended the cardinals stayed hot for the rest of the postseason and in one of the greatest world series matchups in modern history the cardinals came out on top now look i’m not trying to say the 2011 cardinals owe all of their success to chinming wong however the fact huang was in this position to make this start was remarkable just three years prior wang was a staple in the yankees rotation with his whole future ahead of him but a freak based running injury that only happened because of a throwing error eventually led to wong’s career completely derailing from its destined path if that injury doesn’t happen wong is either still a yankee or he’s pitching for a playoff contender which the nationals were not but because of the injury wang was wearing a nationals uniform on september 24th 2011. speaking of the yankees ahead of the 2009 season the yankees signed cece sabathia and aj burnett to long-term deals if wong stayed healthy for the entire 2008 season do the yankees still sign both sabathia and burnett and more importantly do the yankees still win the 2009 world series if wang is fully healthy all valid questions but the injury eventually led to the yankees going on a different path and long joining the nationals and starting that game against the braves the first loss in a five-game losing streak to end the brave season the cardinals still needed to continue their momentum through the end of the regular season and postseason to win the world series but wong’s performance allowed the cardinals to gain a game on the braves in the wild card standings all because of a throwing error back in 2008 with all of this said i don’t want to see wong’s legacy be tainted by this injury while his days as a big league starting pitcher were over after poor 2012 and 2013 campaigns he made a comeback in 2016 as a reliever for the royals in what was the final season of his career this was the culmination of all the hard work wong put in to make it back to mlb after being released in 2013 which can be seen in its entirety in a 2018 netflix documentary called late life wong is currently a pitching coach for a team in the chinese professional baseball league but during the height of his playing days wong was a national hero in taiwan baseball is the most beloved sport in taiwan and wang was said to be the baseball star the people had been waiting to pour their hearts for on days where wong pitched the major newspapers charged a higher advertising rate speaking of advertisements wong had a lot of them mcdonald’s ford esun bank and acer were just some of them acer even claimed that wong’s name alone increased product sales by ten percent and lowered the average consumer age by almost four years in the us wong is regarded as a once great pitcher whose career is plagued by what ifs and today we found out that he played a small part in the 2011 cardinals road to a championship in taiwan he is a cultural icon one of their baseball greats it just goes to show that everyone has a unique story i hope you guys enjoyed the video leave a like if you did subscribe to start craving sports and check out my channel sportstorm and of course leave your butterfly effects scenario in the comments thanks for watching …. …. do …. you

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