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Garrett Wittels doesn’t need your free base; has history to chase [well, not anymore]

Feb 19, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

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Well, certainly ending any mention of college baseball in the news for awhile, Florida International infielder Garrett Wittels had his hitting streak snapped at 56 games, two short of the collegiate record held by Robin Ventura (who also happens to hold the record for worst ass-kicking at the hands of Nolan Ryan).

Perhaps most interestingly (although perhaps not to the Associated press, who more-or-less buried the tidbit in their account of the streak’s end) is that in the 6th inning, with Wittels still alive and chasing down Ventura, he was hit by a pitch– but not wanting to lose an opportunity for a hit, convinced the umpire otherwise and finished the at-bat.

Wittels reached on a fielder’s choice in the first, fouled out near the right-field bullpen in the third and grounded out to third in the sixth inning — one pitch after successfully lobbying plate umpire Michael Baker that a ball which appeared to hit his hand actually hit the knob of his bat instead.

Afterward, Wittels acknowledged that he was hit by the pitch.

“Worst moment in baseball I’ve ever been a part of in my life,” Wittels said. “I got hit by a pitch and I was selfish and didn’t take my base. Honestly, I’m more (upset) about that than not continuing into history. … I don’t really know what was going through my head at the time.”

This of course brings to mind what happened last season with Derek Jeter essentially pulling the opposite move– acting his way into a pass to first after a ball nearly hit him, although he didn’t have any records to pursue. At least that move was for the better of his team though, whereas Wittels admitted he acted selfishly and put the pursuit of the record before the game at hand. However, considering the streak is the only reason anybody knows the kid’s name anyways (okay, maybe not the only reason), or the only reason anyone really knows about FIU baseball for that matter, it’s hard to blame him too much for wanting to take his hacks in his at-bat and keep his mojo (and shot at the history books) going.

Wittels looks to start a new hitting streak of one today against Southeastern Lousiana.


Wittels’ streak ends, 2 games shy of tying Ventura [Associated Press]