Connoisseurs are selective, discriminating. They distinguish between the good and bad, the worthy and the base, and select only the finest. What is common and bountiful is vulgar. Only the perfect sample will do.
There are plenty of pitches. Pitches are common. The selective hitter, especially when in a hitters' count, discriminates between the pitch of his liking, and everything else. He knows what is worthy of his swing.
In two crucial at bats in the 6th inning, J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez opened the wine list, couldn't read French, and pointed randomly.
Two runners on, Sox down 2-1, top of the 6th. Drew up with a 3-1 count. He hacks at a fastball on the inside corner- a pitchers' pitch- shatters the bat, and pops out. Manny, up next with a 2-1 count, chases a high fastball out of the zone, fouls out to first.
Foul indeed. Gauche, even.
The 3 and 4 hitters, on a championship team, down by a run, late in the game to the division leaders, have to show poise and selection. They have to be connoisseurs. When the pitcher is ahead in the count, they take what they can get. But this wasn't one of those times.
The Rays come away with the victory. They came through in the clutch. They chose the right pitches, they attacked the strike zone with fastballs, forcing the Sox to take what they were given.
This is going to be a race.