In case you missed it last night, the D-Rays decided to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton with two outs and the bases loaded. The D-Rays were up 7-3 at the time ad by walking Hamilton, they put the winning run at the plate (with the score now 7-4) with the much less intimidating Marlon Byrd coming up to the plate. I'm sure some of you are saying, "what the hell are the Rays thinking?" Well, it simply comes down to which hitter is a bigger threat to beat you? Managers have to give their teams the best chance to win, which is exactly what Maddon did.
Who you would you rather have up:
Hamilton: He has light tower power (home run derby!) and has 110+ RBI already. Could be the second coming of the natural.
Marlon Byrd: Perennial stiff who has no business batting behind Hamilton (side note: the only reason Byrd is batting 5th is because he bats from the right side).
Hmmm, I think I'll take my chances with Marlon Byrd. Sure, he's hit walk offs before (against the Yankees), but he'll never be half the player that Hamilton is and with a righty on the mound, facing Byrd makes sense.
Kudos to you, Joe Maddon, for thinking outside the box and for making all of America fall in love with the IBB all over again.